IS HE REAL OR PRETEND?
I think George Reeves was the first actor to be Superman on TV.
Back in the 50's, TV actors were not quite as "elite" as some seem to be now. They would throw out the first pitch at a Los Angeles little league game. They would fire the starting pistol for a soap box derby race in Oklahoma City. They would be at the dedication of a statue in a city park in Boise. People could meet them, shake their hand, and, of course, get an autograph.
George Reeves was popular for guest appearances, but his fame included risks. Kids might kick him in the shins or throw rocks to find out if he was the "real" Superman or a "pretend" Superman, the same way kids pull on Santa beards to find out if they are real. It seemed like every time he appeared in public as Superman, someone wanted to put him to the test.
In 1953, he may have faced real-life danger appearing at a department store opening. A young fan, who wanted to see bullets bounce off Superman’s chest, brought his dad’s Army Colt, his dad’s loaded... .45 caliber... Army Colt. Reeves talked him into putting it down. He told the boy that Superman could survive the shot without being hurt, but "when bullets bounce off my chest, they might hurt you and others around here."
He continued to make public appearances, but never again in the Superman costume.
I said, “he may have faced real-life danger.” I tried to find more details about the incident. I could not find a first hand account, a specific date, or a department store name. Apparently, neither can anyone else.
Some believe Reeves made up the story so he would not have to wear the costume when he appeared in public. It’s understandable. I would not want kids kicking me in the shins or throwing rocks every time I showed up. That story was the only way he could stop the agents and producers from scheduling Superman appearances.
When he appeared in public, children wanted to know. "Is he real or is he pretend?"
God doesn’t have to kick us in the shins or throw rocks at us to know if our devotion is real or pretend. When God sent Samuel to anoint the next king, he was impressed with some of Jesse’s sons, but God said, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." He still does.
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