Saturday, October 28, 2006

Up, Up, and Away

Just across the border between Kentucky and Illinois, a small town lies almost forgotten by the rest of the country. That town is Metropolis, Illinois, and it is the home of the Super Museum, the only museum in America dedicated solely to the adventures, career, and history of Superman. Now, those of you who know me are fully aware that I am a huge Superman fan, and I’ve heard about this town before in many capacities. But knowing how close I was, I knew that I had to visit this museum.

So Friday morning, some of us piled into the van and headed to Metropolis. After weaving through the gift shop, we headed into the museum. The collection was extraordinary! While primarily pictures, photos, and movie posters, they also had a collection of props and costumes from various versions of Superman. In glass cases on mannequins, they had an original costume from both Christopher Reeve and George Reeves. The George Reeves costume is one of the only complete ones known to still exist. They had the wigs that both Chris Reeve and Marlon Brando wore in Superman: The Movie, and Dean Cain’s first Superman suit from Lois and Clark.

While the museum could have been a little more organized, it was a stunning collection. More explanation of certain items or areas would also have helped; as it was I played tour guide to the people who were with me. I could go through the history of Superman for them, following the actors and artists who have interpreted the character.

The next morning I went back to the museum for the chance to take some more pictures. And then on the way back to the hotel so we could pack up and leave, I stopped by and met Chuck, who was the first man to portray Superman at the week-long street fair Metropolis hosts every summer. He was a lovely, generous, friendly man who talked with me for about fifteen minutes about Superman in general, and his experience in particular. He told me how he got the job, why he did it for a decade, and what it was like to wear the red cape. At the end of our interview, I thanked him for his time, and I asked him to sign a postcard I had picked up at the museum gift shop. I’m almost 26 years old, and one of the highlights of my life is meeting Superman and getting his autograph.

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