Noteworthy Superman dates to remember...
April 1: Annette O'Toole, Lana Lang in Superman III and Martha Kent in Smallville, born in Houston, TX in 1954.
April 1: Sam Huntington, Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns, born in Peterborough, New Hampshire in 1982.
April 1: Traditionally recognized as the birthday of Mr. Mxyzptlk, the Imp from the 5th dimension.
April 2: Christopher Meloni, Colonel Nathan Hardy in the 2013 Man of Steel movie, born in Washington, District of Columbia in 1961.
April 3: Marlon Brando, Jor-El in Superman: The Movie, born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924.
April 5: Man of Steel premieres on HBO in the USA at 9.00pm ET/PT.
April 7: Russell Crowe, Jor-El in the 2013 Man of Steel movie, born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1964.
April 8: Jack O'Halloran, Non in Superman: The Movie and Superman II, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1943.
April 8: John Schneider, Jonathan Kent in Smallville, born in Mount Kisco, NY in 1960.
April 13: MTV Movie Awards will air on MTV in the USA, with Man of Steel star Henry Cavill nominated for Best Hero.
April 14: John Shea, Lex Luthor in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV series, born in 1949.
April 14: Mark Pillow, Nuclear Man in Superman IV, born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England in 1959.
April 16: Joan Alexander, best known as Lois Lane from the 1940s Superman Radio Series, born in Louise Abras in St. Paul, Minneapolis in 1915.
April 18: Action Comics #1, Superman's debut comic book, was released on this day in 1938 (although some argue it was actually May 3).
April 22: Cassidy Freeman, Tess Mercer in the Smallville TV series, born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1982.
April 23: Kal Penn, Stanford in Superman Returns, born in Montclair, New Jersey in 1977.
April 24: Stacy Haiduk, Lana Lang in the Superboy TV series, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968.
April 26: Tom Welling, Clark Kent in Smallville, born in New York, NY in 1977.
April 29: Sam Jones III, Pete Ross in Smallville, born in Boston, MA in 1983.
April 29: Lane Smith, Perry White in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV series, born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1936.
We're probably all familiar with the scene in "Superman: The Movie" where Lois asks Clark how he felt about his first day working at the Daily Planet.
Lois: "How'd you like your first day on the job?"
Clark: "Frankly the hours were sort of longer than I expected, but on the whole, I mean meeting you and Jimmy and Mr. White - Gosh on the whole I'd say it's been swell."
Lois: "Swell?" (pause) "You know, Clark, there are very few people left in the world who feel comfortable saying that word."
Clark: "What word?"
Clark: "Really? It always sounded kind of natural."
It was a scene intended to show Lois just how corny and mild mannered Clark was, because by the late 1970s the word "swell" was an outdated slang word that equates to "cool" or "great".
I did some research on the word, and discovered that "swell" was the happenin' slang term of the Roaring Twenties. Having lingered lazily in the English language for over a century, it suddenly burst on the scene around 1920 with attitude written all over it. It defined the rebellious youth culture of that era, a culture fueled by women's rights and anti-Victorian passions that had young people dancing exuberantly.
And "swell" had staying power. Like "cool", it hung on for decades as the number one slang term of approval. But in the mid 1960s "swell" was changed from the rebellious to the cornball. This was because the sixties, like the twenties, witnessed the rise of a rambunctious youth culture that broke with parental traditions bringing with it a new, all-purpose slang term: "cool".
While listening to episodes of the 1940s Superman radio series, I discovered an interesting conversation between Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen, in which Jimmy over uses the word "swell" and Clark Kent admonishes him for it.
The episode aired on March 10, 1941 and was part 3 of the story "Last of the Clipper Ships", an adventure which sees Clark and Jimmy aboard a ship that's supposedly haunted by a ghost known as "The Whistler". Making sure Jimmy is keeping up his school studies, Clark listens as Jimmy reads a character study he's written on the ship's first mate, a man by the name of Teak Barnaby. You can hear the excerpt from this episode below...