erik lundegaard

Why is Spreading Lies About Stan Lee?

On IMDb's trivia page for “Superman” (1948) we get the following info:

In Chapter one of this classic serial, Ed Cassidy (Eben Kent) advises Clark that “With great power comes great responsibility,” the line which Stan Lee has always claimed as his own, and spoken by Uncle Ben Parker in the SpiderMan stories (including the first movie). Not saying he stole the line, but he didn't originate it either.

I'd just watched Chapter One again, and particularly this scene, because it's also the scene in which Eben (eventually Jonathan) Kent tells not-so-young Clark (Kirk Alyn) that he must use his powers “in the interest of truth, tolerance and justice.” It was this scene, in fact, with “tolerance” subbing for the eventual “... and the American way,” that led to my 2006 New York Times Op-Ed on the tangled history of the phrase: “Truth, Justice and (Fill in the Blank).”

But I hadn't heard Eben say “with great power comes great responsibility.” That would‘ve leapt out at me.

So I watched it again. Here’s how the conversation goes:

Pa Kent: Your unique abilities make you a kind of superman. And because of these great powers, your speed and strength, your x-ray vision and supersensitive hearing, you have a great responsibilty.

Clark: I know what you’re going to say, Dad. I must use my powers justly and wisely.

Pa Kent: Yes, you might use them all in the interest of truth, tolerance and justice.

It's hardly the same. I'm sorry. There's just no music to it the way there is with Stan's line. 

Do major websites issue corrections? Apologies? Should they? How did the above bit of trivia get on IMDb anyway? And why was it written that way? “...the line which Stan Lee has always claimed was his own... Not saying he stole the line...”? [Emphasis mine.]

Justice is always hard to come by but we should be able to expect a little truth from our major online reference sources. IMDb?

Eben and Clark Kent, 1948

The dialogue of the 1948 ‘Superman’ serial is hardly Stan Lee material.

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Posted at 07:35 AM on Fri. Apr 26, 2013 in category Superman  


Reed wrote:

The great power and Achilles heel of the IMDb is that the content is submitted by users. Crowd-sourcing this information delivers a ton of goodies. But there's no way anyone can fact check all of this stuff. In fact in many cases, trivia will contradict other trivia listed. The site was much better when it had fewer users for all kinds of reasons. This is why we now have trivia like:

“Voted number 9 in Channel 4's (UK) 'Greatest Family Films' ”

That was about Star Wars. Woooooow. So now we not only have to skip past superficial inanity posited as trivia, but also know that we can't trust much of what is there.

(Incidentally, my favorite contribution of my own to the IMDb (there aren't many) was that I noticed the brief Chinatown reference in The Big Lebowski.)

Comment posted on Fri. Apr 26, 2013 at 09:28 AM

Robert wrote:

I submitted a deletion request for that trivia entry.

Comment posted on Fri. Apr 26, 2013 at 02:27 PM

Erik wrote:

Thanks, Robert! Let's see what happens.

Or maybe we should just create our own trivia on IMDb.

Comment posted on Fri. Apr 26, 2013 at 06:29 PM

Chronoboosted Warpgate wrote:

Ha! I made an edit request before I scrolled down here to read the comments, so the IMDB editors will have two complaints about this entry.

Comment posted on Sat. Apr 27, 2013 at 08:32 PM
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