Noteworthy Superman dates to remember...
September 1: Traditionally recognized as the birthday of Jonathan Kent, Clark Kent's adoptive father.
September 5: George Lazenby, Jor-El in the Superboy TV series, born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Australia in 1939.
September 6: Justin Whalin, Jimmy Olsen in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, born in 1974.
September 6: Man of Steel screening at dusk takes place at Forest Park, City of Noblesville Parks in Indiana.
September 8: The Super Friends cartoon show makes its debut on ABC-TV in 1973.
September 10: Filmation's The New Adventures of Superman animated series premieres on CBS in 1966.
September 12: Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman makes its debut on ABC-TV in 1993.
September 13: Artist Mike Grell (Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes) born in 1947.
September 15: Jackie Cooper, Perry White in the Superman films, born in 1922.
September 16: Tommy Bond, Jimmy Olsen in two serials, Superman and Atom Man vs Superman, born in Dallas, Texas in 1926.
September 16: Writer Kurt Busiek (Superman & Action Comics) born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1960.
September 16: Steve Younis, owner of the Superman Homepage, born in 1971. :)
September 17: Bryan Singer, director of Superman Returns, born in New York, NY, USA in 1965.
September 17: Writer Roger Stern (Action Comics) born in 1950.
September 18: James Marsden, Richard White in Superman Returns, born in Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1973.
September 20-21: Brandon Routh is a special guest at the Saskatoon Comic & Entertainment Expo.
September 22: Traditionally recognized as the birthday of Kara Zor-El, AKA Supergirl.
September 22: Laura Vandervoort, Kara Zor-El (aka Supergirl) in the TV series Smallville, born in Toronto, Canada in 1984.
September 23: Writer Peter David (Supergirl) born in 1956.
September 24: Tommy Bond, Jimmy Olsen in two serials, Superman and Atom Man vs Superman, dies in 2005, aged 79.
September 25: Christopher Reeve, star of the Superman films, born in New York, NY in 1952.
September 26: Writer Louise Simonson (Superman: The Man of Steel) born in 1946.
September 28: Traditionally recognized as the birthday of Lex Luthor.
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...