erik lundegaard

The Short, Embarrassing History of Man (and Superman) Riding Rockets

If the subject of men riding rockets in the movies ever comes up (and when doesn't it?), most of us think of Maj. Kong (Slim Pickens) at the end of “Dr. Stangelove,” whooping it up Texas-style as he and the world are about to end forever.

But Slim was sloppy seconds in the nuke-missle riding category by nearly 15 years. The Man of Steel beat him to it.

Superman (Kirk Alyn) riding a missle or rocket in "Atom Man vs. Superman" (1950)

Superman (Kirk Alyn) riding a missle or rocket in "Atom Man vs. Superman" (1950)

Superman (Kirky Alyn) riding a rocket or missile in "Atom Man vs. Superman" (1950)

The above screenshots are taken from the 1950 serial “Atom Man vs. Superman,” chapter 14. Lex Luthor (Lyle Talbot) has just shot a missile at Metropolis, and Superman (Kirk Alyn) soars to the rescue and stradles it (cough), and then, at the beginning of the next and final chapter, rides it out to sea, where it explodes harmlessly. Well, “harmlessly.” It was a nuke, after all.

It's a bizarre image to see in 2013—and maybe in 1950, too. Except Supes is simply following a comic-book tradition, particularly big during World War II, of superheroes riding rockets. Here's three of them. I'm sure there are many more:

Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Uncle Sam riding rockets during WWII

Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Uncle Sam during WWII, when men riding rockets was all the rage.

So at least we know where Maj. Kong got the idea. 

Wa ... hoo?

Posted at 12:24 PM on Sat. May 25, 2013 in category Superman Screenshot of the Day  
Tags: , , , ,


No comments yet

You may bypass the ID fields and security question below if you log in before commenting.


Receive notification of further comments via e-mail

« Quote of the Day   |   Home   |   Movie Review: Dirty Wars (2013) »
 RSS    Facebook

Twitter: @ErikLundegaard


All previous entries

Jeffrey Wells
The Film Experience
Roger Ebert
Rob Neyer
Joe Posnanski
Cardboard Gods
Andrew Sullivan
Alex Pareene
Hendrik Hertzberg
Cloud Five Comics
Copy Curmudgeon
Deb Ellis
Andrew Engelson
Jerry Grillo
Tim Harrison
Eric Hanson
Ben Stocking
Jim Walsh