September 29, 2020

The day I met Superman

Over the years, I’ve had lots of crushes on movie stars. I like to think I was the first to discover Bert Reynolds when he played the blacksmith on Gunsmoke a few eons ago.

I also lost my heart to Clark Gable, Cary Grant and Gregory Peck. But they were passing fancies compared to Christopher Reeve, the hunk who played Superman in the 1980s.

I’ll never forget going to see him in Superman III in 1983. I was single at the time and I told my girlfriend Kathy, who went with me to the movie, that I was smitten with him. I loved his square jaw, powerful build and gentle voice.

Well, just forget about him, she said. You’ll never meet him. And, of course, I did forget. After all, I had a demanding job as a journalist.

But one day not long after that, I walked into the newsroom and the first thing my boss said to me was, “You want to meet Superman?”

“Sure,” I said sarcastically and wondered why he was joking with me. I sat down at my desk and went to work on some story. A few minutes later, he repeated the question. “You want to meet Superman?”

“Why do you keep asking me that?” I responded.

“Because he’s here in town. He’s having a news conference. I want you to go cover it.”

As it turned out, in those days Reeve was a champion of several causes, including environmental protection. He was making a special appearance at our local public television station and agreed to talk to the press.

I was much less impressed with him in person than I was on the screen. I guessed that he really didn’t want to meet the news media but felt obligated. As a consequence, he seemed remote and gave short, terse answers to questions.

I remember asking him one question (and it wasn’t “Will you marry me?”) but I don’t recall what it was. And I don’t remember what he said. But I afterward, I took great delight in telling my friend Kathy that I had, indeed, met Superman.  

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