Noteworthy Superman dates to remember...
July 31: Dean Cain, star of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, born in Mt. Clemens, Michigan in 1966.
August 7: John Glover, Lionel Luthor in Smallville, born in Salisbury, Maryland in 1944.
August 7: Writer Paul Dini (Superman: The Animated Series) born in 1957.
August 7: Michael Shannon, Zod in the 2013 Man of Steel movie, born in Lexington, Kentucky in 1974.
August 7: Eric Johnson, Whitney Fordman in Smallville, born in Edmonton, AB in 1979.
August 9-10: Dean Cain appearing at Steel City Con at the Monroeville Convention Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
August 12: Young Justice: The Complete First Season released on Blu-ray.
August 14: Phyllis Thaxter, Martha Kent in Superman: The Movie, dies in 2012, aged 90.
August 15: Scott Cranford, the official town Superman of Metropolis Illinois from 2000-2007, born in 1967.
August 16: Superman Plaque dedication taking place at 5400 Wilbur Ave, Tarzana, California.
August 17: Traditionally recognized as the birthday of Lois Lane.
August 20: Amy Adams, Lois Lane in 2013 Man of Steel movie, born in Aviano, Italy in 1974.
August 24: In 1993, Superman returns from the dead in Superman #82.
August 28: Writer and artist Jack Kirby (Superman's Pal: Jimmy Olsen) born in 1917.
August 30: Glenn Ford, Jonathan Kent in Superman: The Movie, dies in 2006, aged 90.
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intended to show Lois just how corny and mild mannered Clark was, because by the late 1970s the word "swell" was an outdated slang word that equates to "cool" or "great".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...