This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Truth, Justice, and... Name That Tune?!?

I loved Wayne Boring's quirky way of illustrating the Man of Steel
in all those cool old stories reprinted in DC's Giant Superman comics!
However, I grew up with Curt Swan's version, so it's Curt Swan's Superman
(as shown above) that will forevermore be "my" Superman! Sorry, Mr. Boring!

(And before you begin reading this post: Here is the BEST actor who ever played Superman!)

Ever see a little kid pretending to be Superman? Chances are, he (It's almost always a "he"; a little girl would probably pretend to be Supergirl.) will be charging back and forth across a backyard, or a living room, or down a hallway, etc., with one fist in the air and a towel (or another, similar rectangular piece of fabric) attached at the neck, singing one word:

"Supe - er - maaannnnn!"

Okay, now. I just wrote that. I certainly didn't sing it for you, right? Right.

But I'll still bet that you "heard" the tune that kids always sing whenever they sing the word "Superman."

I've been reading comic books (and comic strips) since I was about three or four years old. That's almost half a century, folks. I've collected comics as well. I've bought them new, off the rack. I've bought countless back issues that were even older than I am. (They still are; funny how that works, innit?) I've bought and sold comics as a business (variously employed by others, or self-employed). I've done extensive reading -- one could really say research -- on the subject. I've met quite a few comic book writers and artists. I've even written quite a few comic book scripts myself, some of them eventually published.

In other words, while my knowledge of and familiarity with the subject is not comprehensive by any means, I can safely say that I know a hell of a lot more about comic books and their history than the average person would ever care to.

This includes my having sat through movies, tv shows, documentaries, a reality show -- thanks, Stan! -- and even one freakin' musical about the subject.

That musical, by the way, was about Superman. So were some of the aforementioned movies and tv shows, and more damned comic books than I could ever count.

And you wanna know something?

I have absolutely no freakin' idea where the hell that sung version of "Supe - er - maaannnn" comes from.

Do you?

If you do, please tell me. Just be damned sure of what you're talking about before you gushingly offer an answer, such as "Oh, it must be from the old George Reeves television series. That had a great theme song!"

Well, yeah, it certainly did. But that theme song was comprised of dramatic -- dare I say inspiring? -- music played in the background, sans lyrics, while announcer Bill Kennedy practically went nuts extolling the virtues of the man comic readers in that Mort Weisinger era were used to thinking of as "Clark (Superman) Kent." Nobody sang the word "Supe - er - maaannnnn."

I've given this a lot of thought, obviously. (Characteristically, maybe enough thought to make some of you worry.) And the closest answer I've been able to come up with isn't "Superman."

It's "Hercules."

As in "The Mighty Hercules," an animated cartoon series produced in 1962, and broadcast from 1963-1966. (And just for a reference point here, I turned six years old near the end of 1962, placing the airing of "The Mighty Hercules" right smack in the middle of my so-called formative years.)

Its dynamic theme song was sung by Johnny Nash -- not the same Johnny Nash who had several Top 40 hits in the 1970s, by the way.

And the way Nash opens the song is by singing "Hercules" in that
"Supe - er - maaannnnn" style.

Note for note.

So, is it possible? Did some nameless kid -- approximately my age -- appropriate the opening bars of the theme from "The Mighty Hercules" and apply it instead to DC Comics' Man of Steel as a soundtrack for his playtime? And did it somehow catch on and spread, to the point where it ultimately became universal?

I hope it's true. Stranger things have happened. There are a lot of people out there who, when receiving change from a cashier, say "Just like McDonald's," but these same people are far too young to have ever seen the commercial that inspired that line.

I've never actually asked anyone my age or younger if he or she knew where the "Supe - er - maaannnnn" thing originated. Nor, more importantly, have I ever asked anyone older than I if he knew. So I don't even know if it goes back to the 1940s or 1950s...

Which would kinda/sorta suck, in a way, because it'd blow the crap out of my own hypothesis if I were to discover that:

1) The "Supe - er - maaannnnn" musical sound bite did originate back in the 1940s or 1950s, and....

2) The producers of "The Mighty Hercules" ripped it off for their theme song!


Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ Oh, you recognized this one? Crap. Yup, I stole it from myself! Its original location was February 17th of last year (since deleted, for those of you who worry about such things). I'd just begun my blog on Blogger, y'see, and figured that almost nobody saw it the first time anyway, and... But you did, huh? And the very slight re-write, and my "padding" it with photos doesn't count? Oops. Oh, well, at least it gives me an excuse to add the following photo of Lucy Pinder...



9 comments:

Cake said...

Someone oughta buy chicky a shirt what fits properly, poor soul.

(For some bizarre reason, I now have the ole Spider-man theme song stuck in my head...I need more coffee!)

David'Z RantZ said...

More coffee? Are you sure you'll have room for it after -- BLOGGER CROSSOVER! -- all the cookies and infrastructure you've had?

David'Z RantZ said...

Also, I hear that the shirt "Chicky" is wearing fit her just fine when she was eleven years old...

Ishat's Fire and Ice said...

I was thinking the very same thing, Cake. The Girl's Navy must help these poor models. they haven't enough money to buy cloths past the age of 11.

I think I have some house coats they can wear.

Sparkle Plenty said...

Her-cu-les, he-ro of song and sto-ry...Her-cu-les...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQRasr-0hsM

THANKS a TON! I found that theme song for my friend awhile ago and I JUST got it out of my head. Or I had. Until now.

re: Chicky--GEEZ! Cake's right; the bottom of her boobs are gonna catch their deaths of cold! I'm gonna knit her a "boob scarf." (Although I like Ishat's "house coat" notion immensely.)

subtorp77 said...

Oh great! After reading the comments, now I'VE got the Spiderman theme song stuck in my head. Thanks Cake!

David, I'm emailing you an album jacket of the Herculoids. I think you'll remember it, as well as some other nuggets I've discovered.

David'Z RantZ said...

Yup, I recall the Herculoids. As well as the Impossibles, Moby Dick, Space Ghost... even the Mighty Heroes, which was not done by H-B.

[re-reading comments] So. Did anyone besides cutie-pie Sparkle actually read this post? Or did you all just check out Lucy Pinder's boobs?

Sparkle Plenty said...

Oh, I'm sure my reading comprehension would also have been poor if my heart didn't belong to SofiaSophia Vergararararararara.

(ararararararararara)

David'Z RantZ said...

By the way, SubTorp, I added that Mighty Hercules LP cover you sent me to this post. Thanks again!

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