Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Single Issue Review: Jimmy Olsen #64
Everything a youngster needed to know about relationships back in the early 1960s, he could learn from Mr Sensitive himself, Jimmy Olsen.
The first story is Jimmy Olsen, Hollywood Star. The splash shows Jimmy about to drown in a pool of quicksand as the camera rolls, but the text box at the side informs us that this is really happening, and that we should prepare ourselves for a surprise ending.
The story begins with Jimmy falling off a high-rise office building under construction. Fortunately he calls Superman with his signal watch and is saved in the nick of time. We discover that it's actually a stunt for a movie on Superman's life and that Jimmy's sticking around in LA, which in typically demure DC fashion is referred to as "the television city on the coast". Jimmy encounters some of the biggest stars of the time:
What follows are some bizarre short gags, which really don't fit Jimmy Olsen. He encounters a Bizarro, who does some weird stuff. But it's not a Bizarro, it's:
Bizarro Bob Hope!
And then a parrot escapes on a set to the top of a mast. Jimmy has the elastic formula with him and saves the bird which results in him getting some attention from the starlets:
I get the feeling that Jimmy's a Maxim kind of guy, maybe some of that Axe body wash, I mean class all the way.
But then we get one of the classic dun-dun-DUH panels of all time:
Quicksand? Did you say quicksand?
I decry the appalling tendency for liberal judges in Metropolis to permit obvious gangsters out on bail to murder red-headed cub reporters:
But with Jimmy in the quicksand he doesn't even have to fire his gun. As the bow-tied boy reporter is about to drown an unknown person comes in to rescue him:
Who is Jimmy's mysterious savior? Well, to spoil the 46-year-old suspense, it's Boris Karloff although even Jimmy never finds out.
Mort gives the identities of the Hollywood celebrities in the commissary shot:
Note: Although the idea of a story featuring some famed characters was not new, it was interesting that their names were given in the comic, especially Karloff's; I think kids back then would have seen it as something different and surprising
I don't know who "Margie" is; it does not appear to be the gal from My Little Margie. Anybody?
Update: Michael Rebain points to the TV show called Margie which aired around those years, and I was able to find this promo pic for the show with the lead actress (Cynthia Pepper):
As you can see, it looks like somebody's idea of what college was like in the 1920s.
Story #2 (yes, we've barely cracked this classic) is summarized here:
Could this be a story exposing Lois' irrational prejudice against fiery beings? As it turns out, Lois and Jimmy are assigned to cover the story of an exploding volcano in the South Seas, as is another familiar redhead, who gets just a little too honest with Lois:
The locals, a bunch of ignorant savages despite the suits, are talking about fire gods emerging from the volcano. The sophisticates from Metropolis yuk it up a bit:
A few seconds later they are on the run themselves as they encounter the fiery beings, who appear to be following Lana and Jimmy:
Because of their fiery hair. At first the story seems like a classic, "How can we kill these monsters?" tale, but Jimmy proves protective of the little creatures and coaxes them back into the volcano and gets a scoop.
Comments: The mediocre story is aided by the lack of Superman other than as a statue in the town, so that it's a question of whether Jimmy can save the lava beings.
The letters page starts off with a request for Jimmy to give it to Lucy Lane "good and rough".
And indeed given Lucy's treatment of Jimmy in the cover story we can see where Joanne got that sentiment:
But Jimmy goes home with a friend's shortwave radio set, and a few modifications later he's talking to intergalactic babes who want to meet him:
She helps him make a bracelet that gives him super-smarts. But does he use it for the good of humanity? Does he find a cure for cancer?
Well, first he busts Lucy's twisting pilot buddy as a spy. But then he puts some poor carnival operator out of business to impress her:
But Lucy still doesn't consider Jimmy #1 on her hit parade, so when Allura calls again he agrees to be transported to her planet.
Unfortunately they prove unable to overcome their prejudiced size-ism despite the fact that they are perfect for each other.