Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rant #981: Super Curse?

This has been something of a strange morning already.

Woke up, got ready for work, and found that the Internet was down and our phone didn't work.

But after a while, everything came back to normal.

It must be those rains I was talking about yesterday.

Anyway, have you ever heard of the Superman "curse?"

The "curse" that every actor who has played Superman has been cursed, died early, never progressed with his career?

It's sort of like the Little Rascals "curse"--so many young kids in that series died early, it belies the fact that several of the kids, including Jackie Cooper and Spanky McFarland, lived long, productive lives.

Yes, the Superman "curse" is a bit of balderdash, just like the Little Rascals "curse" is.

Let's see ...

Kirk Allyn, the original Superman in the movie serials, didn't have a long movie career, but he lived to a ripe old age.

The "curse," if there is one, actually was fermented with George Reeves. The actor, who as a young man was in "Gone With the Wind," was very typecast in the Superman role, couldn't get much of anything else to do, and killed himself in the process.

Of course, there is much, much more to that story than I can talk about here.

He had become a B actor way before Superman, he was a carouser, an adulterer, a heavy drinker, and fraternized with wives of mob members.

Did he kill himself or was he rubbed out? The question remains more than 50 years after his death.

I remember his death very well. It is one of the first memories I have as a human being. I could not understand, as a two year old, how Superman could be dead, but he was.

He remains as my favorite Superman, and the template from which all succeeding Superman actors were drawn from.

Now we move to the case of Christopher Reeve. He helped to create the Superman movie franchise, and he was probably the best actor ever to play the role. His series of movies was like printing money, and he was so talented that he didn't allow himself to be typecast, taking on a variety of roles during his brief career.

But he had a penchant for riding horses, which led to the "curse," if there is one, being extended.

He fell off a horse, became paralyzed, and later passed away. His wife passed away soon after.

Again, there is much more to the story than I am going to speak about here. But Reeve was one of the most courageous people around, and he is well remembered.

The movie franchise died itself until Brandon Rouse took over the role in "Superman Returns," and well, he returned all right, but Rouse's career never took off at all.

And there have been others in the interim, including Dean Cain, who played the character on television. His career never really took off, either, although his co-star, Teri Hatcher, became something of a TV phenomenon later on "Desperate Housewives."

Now we have the rebooted "Man of Steel," which in early previews, has gotten mixed reviews. This movie hopes to do with Superman what the recent reboots did with Batman: make him a more sincere, believable, and "human" character, even though this son of Krypton isn't really human at all.

Will there be any residual effect of this "curse?"

I doubt it, because you have to ask yourself if this "curse" actually exists.

I don't think it does. The previous actors were victims of various, unrelated circumstances, joined at the hip by them all being Superman sometime in their careers.

Henry Cavill, the new Superman, will do fine. Will he have a long career, will he by typecast, will his name be part of nothing more than a trivia question?

Who knows?

So, no matter how Superman does at the box office, there is no "curse," much like there is no Little Rascals "curse."

Maybe Alfalfa would disagree, but people make things of circumstances that they don't know anything about, and this "curse" thing, well, it does not exist.

Or at least I keep telling myself that it doesn't exist.

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