Growing Up With Superheroes
I’ve wanted to be a superhero forever. The battle of good vs evil always appealed to me. I could picture myself saving a cat from a tree and getting a kiss on the cheek by a beautiful, grateful girl. “Aw shucks Ma’am”, I’d say. “It’s all in day’s work”. I knew right would always win and I was determined to be a part of that effort.
I often liked to pretend to be one from time to time. On one occasion, I even had my Aunt sew me up some red “Spiderman” gloves. I was determined to actually become Spiderman. When she asked me what they were for, I told her they were needed for a school project. After all, I had to keep my alter-ego a secret. The idea of me being Spidey for real kind of fizzled out though when I stood at the bottom of a tall building and thought about climbing it. Suddenly, the ice cream cone stand down the street looked a bit more enticing.
I can’t actually recall a time growing up where I wasn’t surrounded by my peers (other superheroes that is). Growing up, these guys (and gals) were all over the TV. And since I love jogging the old memory and seeing where it goes, let’s take a trip and I’ll tell you about all the cool superhero shows that influenced me growing up.
Ultraman : Without question, this is my all time favorite superhero show. I mean, what’s not to love about an average man who on a whim could raise the Beta Capsule, turn into Ultraman and then proceed to open a can of whoop-ass on a giant monster? Believe me when I tell you that this show CONSUMED me growing up.
Ultraman wasn’t the only show that had my attention though. Who could forget these wonderful shows?:
Shazam and Isis: I recall many a Saturday morning spent watching the adventures of Billy Batson and his old buddy driving around in some beat up old RV. When trouble was around all Billy had to do was go find a clearing and yell “SHAZAM” to turn into Captain Marvel and save the day.
Chosen from among all others by the Immortal Elders — Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury — Billy Batson and his mentor travel the highways and byways of the land on a never-ending mission: to right wrongs, to develop understanding, and to seek justice for all!
It always made me laugh when Billy went to talk to The Elders, the ones who gave him his powers. They were all poorly drawn cartoon characters. And I can’t tell you how many times I tried to summon the The Elders myself. I’d stand in the middle of the street by my house and yell: “Oh Elders, fleet and strong and wise, appear before my seeking eyes.” Still not sure why they never answered.
Isis was another heroine that appealed to me. A hot mess science teacher who discovered the Amulet of Isis on a archeological dig in Egypt. Now, she’s able to turn into the Goddess and beat the crap out of people whenever she wants. What’s not to love about that?
Wonder Woman: I can’t even tell you much about this show. All I do know is that I wanted her to put the rope on me and make me tell her the truth. But seriously, I could probably tell you the exact number of stars that were on her pants. Just sayin’.
Spiderman: Ok, I have to admit this one is a little embarrasing. The costume was quite corny and the dude that was Spidey certainly had very little muscle tone. But hey, it was Spiderman in the 1970’s and I took whatever I could get.
The Incredible Hulk: If you were at my house on a Friday night in 1979 this is what you watched. My brother and sister couldn’t wait for it to be over so The Dukes of Hazzard could come on but that didn’t bother me much. Let ’em wait.
I loved tuning in each week to see if David Banner would cure himself of the Hulk. And I was one of those kids who actually thought Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno were one person. In retrospect, I guess it was kind of silly to believe that Bill Bixby had all these huge muscles he was hiding.
The 1980’s soon arrived and by that point all of the above mentioned shows were long gone. The only saving grace I had in my middle school years was The Greatest American Hero. The theme song actually went to #1 on the music charts and I really dug the costume and the whole idea of a teacher becoming a superhero. Sadly, this show didn’t last long either. I’m sure there were many other shows from that era but these are the ones that I always looked forward to watching.
Today, I’m able to get the quick fix of superhero a few times a year when a new movie comes out. But for a boy wanting to be a superhero, the 1970’s sure was a great time to grow up in.