Criminal Minds: "Amplification"

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JD DeLuzio said:

I haven't read it, but isn't it related to (though not at all the same as) the '78 movie?

Yes, Last Son of Krypton was published about the time Superman the movie was released, and had a cover photo and several pages of stills from the movie. But the story inside was completely unrelated to the movie. Maggin said (here) it initially was a movie treatment he wrote, but Warner Bros. hired Mario Puzo for the movie, so somebody suggested he rework it into a novel.

JD DeLuzio said:

The film took its cue from most of Superman history up to that point, Silver Age but rooted in the Golden Age, when Kent took on a fictional persona, a Clark Kent he wasn't, a mild-mannered reporter bordering on cowardly, certainly dorky, awkward. To quote Jules Feiffer in The Great Comic Book Heroes:

Previous heroes-- the Shadow, the Green Hornet, the Lone Ranger-- were not only more vulnerable; they were fakes. I don't mean to criticize; it's just a statement of fact. The Shadow had to cloud men's minds to be in business. The Green Hornet had to go through the fetishist fol-de-rol of donning costume, floppy hat, black mask, gas gun, menacing automobile, and insect sound effects before he was even ready to go out in the street. The Lone Ranger needed an accoutremental white horse, an Indian, and an establishing cry of Hi-Yo Silver to separate him from all those other masked men running around the West in days of yesteryear.

But Superman had only to wake up in the morning to be Superman. In his case, Clark Kent was the put-on. The fellow with the eyeglasses and the acne and the walk girls laughed at wasn't real, didn't exist, was a sacrificial disguise, an act of discreet martyrdom. Had they but known!...

... Kent existed not for the purpose of the story but for the reader. He is Superman's opinion of the rest of us, a pointed caricature of what we, the noncriminal element, were really like. His fake identity was our real one. That's why we loved him so. For if that wasn't really, us, if there were no Clark Kents, only lots of glasses and cheap suits which, when removed, revealed all of us in our true identities-- what a hell of an improved world it would have been! (18- 19)

That's not how he has been presented in many of the more recent incarnations (since the 1980s, in particular, which took its cue from the 1950s TV series), but it is true of many versions of the character.

The 1980s and after was the post-Crisis incarnation, promoted by John Byrne.  Clark Kent grew up on Earth and thought of himself as an Earthman.

In Michael L. Fleischer's The Great Superman Book, there's a lengthy passage where he basically describes Superman as Jor-El's son: scion of a family of scientists, explorers, achievers, and Clark Kent as Jonathan Kent's son: offspring of a farmer and small-town merchant.

"Tim Considine first became well-known playing the character Spin on Spin and Marty, a recurring series set on a ranch. Marty was an orphan and newcomer to the ranch and Spin was the experienced horseman. It was a series within the first version of The Mickey Mouse Club. Fun fact: In the movie Patton, Considine played the nameless Soldier Who Gets Slapped."

That bit about "Spin and Marty" sounds familiar, as if I heard or read about it at some point, then forgot it. I did not know Considine was the soldier slapped in Patton. That's what I call "cocktail party knowledge" (and everyone who knows me calls "useless trivia").

I recently watched both seasons of the series Lennie James created for the British TV company Sky Atlantic (maybe this should also go in the Fear The Walking Dead thread): Save Me and Save Me Too. He stars in it and wrote most of the episodes. Very different from his Walking Dead role: he plays a down-and-out working class Londoner. When his estranged daughter mysteriously disappears he goes on a relentless mission to find her. It's pretty dark, but James is riveting to watch, as always. The first season is free on Peacock TV; you have to have a premium subscription for most of the second (which is why I dashed through it before my subscription lapsed).

LONE RANGER: Watching so many episodes back-to-back it occurs to me that, if you eliminated the ones in which the Lone Ranger and Tonto were within earshot of a gun being fired there would be far fewer episodes.

BONANZA: Notable guest-stars...

DeForest Kelley an an unscrupulous newspaper man in a two-parter about the Pony Express.

Ted Knight as the mayor of Virginia City.

I have also ascertained Bonanza does not take place in "real time." The first episode was set circa 1859 but, in the season seven episodes we are watching now, it has been mentioned that the South is considering secession. 

The Pony Express ran from April 1860 to October 1861, when it was put out of business by the telegraph lines reaching the Pacific.

Come to think of it, it was one of the Pony Express episodes which mentioned secession. I'll bet that topical reference was thrown in to avoid irate letters from history buffs, Instead, it probably drew letters from continuity buffs. I haven't seen any episodes from seasons three through six (not this go 'round, anyway), so I really can't say about the "real time" aspect beyond that. Come to think of it, M*A*S*H pulled that stunt toward the end of the series, placing an historical event from early in the war way late in the series. Drove me nuts. Of course, that series lasted, like, five times longer than the war itself, so I guess I shuldn't look to TV for historical accuracy. 

Without the Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game,* we found The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion to be the perfect way to end Thanksgiving night.

As noted elsewhere, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is something I watched more in reruns than when it was live. But it’s become a beloved show in the years since it went off the air. And this reunion show was far better than most of its type, because it spent less time with clips of the classic moments – although it did have enough of those**– and more time with the people sharing their memories and their bond with each other.

One obvious hole in everyone’s hearts is the loss of James Avery, who died in 2013 from complications of heart surgery. He was very much the heart and soul of the show, on screen and off, and the way everyone speaks of him is truly touching. Keep a box of tissues handy; you’ll need it.

And they address the elephant in the room: the bad blood between star Will Smith and Janet Hubert, the first Aunt Viv, who left under a cloud at the end of the third season and was replaced by Daphne Maxwell-Reid. In the years since, Hubert has said any number of foul things about Smith and those she perceived to be his enablers, and Smith and Hubert have a one-on-one conversation to bury the hatchet. Neither admits to any specific acts or statements, but Smith humbly (?) accepts Hubert’s assertions that he wielded his power as the star of the show in ways that hurt her, professionally and personally. It’s a deep conversation that made me wonder how much more of it landed on the cutting room floor, what with 27 years of bile needing to be cleared away. Cleared away it is, however; this is very much a happy reunion, and one I heartily recommend. Find The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion on HBO Max.

* postponed to Sunday and then to Tuesday because of a COVID-19 outbreak; a dozen Ravens players, plus several more team personnel tested positive.


** They explain the running gag of Will’s buddy Jazz getting thrown out of the house. In the first season or two, they shot it multiple times in multiple ways. Along the way, they decided to just repurpose footage of the first time it happened, so then, all Jeff Townes had to do was match the clothing. But that became fun for the studio audience; when he walked on set wearing that shirt, they knew what was coming.

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