Obama Isn't Coming for Your Guns; Superman Is
We watch old movies not only for what they say about their times but what they say about ours.
“Superman and the Mole Men,” the hour-long debut of George Reeves as the Man of Steel, which became forerunner to the hugely successful “Adventures of Superman” TV series, offers such an instruction.
This Superman is the one who fought for “truth, justice and the American way,” when, previously, Superman merely fought for truth and justice, and sometimes tolerance. Tolerance is big in “Mole Men,” too. Previous cinematic Superman villains include the Spider Lady and Lex Luthor, both of whom were out to take over the world, but the villain here is really small-town intolerance.
In Texas, the world's deepest well is drilled, six miles down, until it reaches a community of “mole men” (midgets with bald wigs and furry costumes), who rise to the surface, in pairs, and run into trouble. Old men have heart attacks, women scream, vigilante mobs form. At one point, in a forerunner to the courthouse steps scene of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the mob descends upon a hospital, where an injured mole man lies, intent on lynching him. But it's met by Superman.
Precursor to Atticus Finch: Stopping the lynch mob on the hospital steps.
On the way there, lead rabble-rouser Luke Benson (veteran character actor Jeff Corey), incites the people with a speech that wouldn't be out of place at a Tea Party convention:
Now them two reporters from back east … they’ll try to stop us, like as not, but we ain’t gonna be stopped. This is our town. We don’t need any strangers telling us what to do!
He even decks the Sheriff. This doesn't sit well with Superman, who's more no-nonsense than previous incarnations. He compares the mob to Nazi stormstroopers. When a gun goes off and Lois is nearly killed, Superman says the following:
Whoever fired that shot nearly hit Miss Lane. Obviously none of you can be trusted with guns. So I’m going to take them away from you.
Which he does.
Gun control from Krypton.
I laughed out loud. Think of it. An illegal alien confiscating the guns of Texas citizens under the guise of “the American way.” The GOP was right. The 1950s were the good old days.
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