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Author Topic: Superman Day's Super-boy  (Read 8173 times)
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Great Rao
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« on: June 12, 2006, 05:15:50 AM »

The winner of the "Super-boy Contest" which took place during the Superman Day festivities at the 1939 (or the 1940) World's Fair has contacted me.  His letter is here.



S!
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"The bottom line involves choices.  Neither gods nor humans have ever stood calmly in a minefield forever.  Good or evil, they are bound to choose.  And when they do, you will see the truth of all that motivates us.  As a thinking being, you have the obligation to choose.  If the fate of all mankind were in your hands, what would your decision be?  As a writer and an artist, I've drawn my answer."   - Jack Kirby
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2006, 07:31:27 AM »

How great is that?!

I would love to see the photo!

More, please!
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2006, 07:37:03 AM »

Fantastic! Imagine meeting Charles Atlas, of all people! What a great find. I'd love to see the photo; it's great that Mr. Aronis has held onto this stuff.
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2006, 01:25:17 PM »

Wow!
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dto
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2006, 08:25:06 AM »

Folks, did anyone notice that the Superman Day's "Super-Boy" and "Super-Girl" contest was held on July 3, 1940?  That's FIVE YEARS before Superboy's actual debut in "More Fun Comics #101", and EIGHTEEN YEARS before the "Magic Totem Super-Girl" in "Superman #123" (Kara Zor-El would arrive one year after the Totem Super-Girl).  Lucy Regent was also a "Supergirl" in 1949's "Superboy #5".

So the real-life "World's Fair Super-Boy and Super-Girl" Bill Aronis and Maureen Reynolds actually PRE-DATED their comic book counterparts!  (Looks like Lorendiac needs to update his list of Supergirls.)   :wink:   I once heard that DC trademarked "Supergirl" around 1940, even though they would not actually use this name until years later -- perhaps this contest was the reason?

Checking the list of judges, other names stand out -- Frank Buck was a famous "Bring Them Back Alive" big game hunter, Ray Middleton played Superman at the World's Fair and later bacame a Broadway actor, while both Buster Crabbe and Eleanor Holm were Olympic champion swimmers.  Buster Crabbe was of course later known for playing Tarzan, Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon on the silver screen.

We definitely need to document this event with photos and other recollections.  (According to Mr. Aronis, their photo was published in "The New York Times" -- certainly a copy of that newspaper must be on microfiche or microfilm?)  This early mention of "Super-Boy" and "Super-Girl" is very important in Superman lore.  (And even though THIS "Super-Boy" was definitely NOT "Superman When He Was a Boy", one wonders if this citation was even mentioned as "prior use" during the long-running "Superboy" legal dispute...)
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2006, 03:45:36 PM »

Quote from: "dto"
We definitely need to document this event with photos and other recollections.  (According to Mr. Aronis, their photo was published in "The New York Times" -- certainly a copy of that newspaper must be on microfiche or microfilm?)

Agreed.  According to another letter he sent me, he had a photo of himself taken at home with the trophy - and the date written on the back was July 3, 1940.

He plans to send in copies of the photos if he gets a chance, and I've got an email in to the Chas. Atlas company to see if they know anything.

But if any of you guys live near a major metropolitan library, you might want to scan through the July 1940 NYT back issues...

S!
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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2006, 03:51:28 PM »

That sounded like an order!  problem is those'll be on microfilm if they havent been updated to CD and will involve an expedition to Lion's Den at 42nd St.

If Super-boy himself has  photo and can scan, that of course would be ideal!
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« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2006, 10:22:04 AM »

I found the article -- The New York Times, July 4, 1940, page 13.  I'll transcribe the relevant passages over the weekend and e-mail it to Great Rao so he can edit and add this information to the website.  By the way, the newspaper article refers to the awarded titles as "superboy" and "supergirl" -- note no hyphens or capitalization.  So it seems that the reporter took the titles more like generic descriptions rather than proper names.

The trophies are impressive -- Maureen's award is nearly half her size!  (She was 11-years-old at the time.)  I'll send Great Rao the newspaper photo, but the quality is very poor -- after all, Rao will be getting a SCAN of a PHOTOCOPY of a MICROFILM reduction of a newspaper HALFTONE reproduction of the original PHOTOGRAPH.  (And then there's the print on the other side of the newspaper page showing through...)  Hopefully Mr. Aronis has photos of himself and Maureen that can be used instead of my picture.

However, looking at the newspaper photo gave me an idea -- it might be a nice "thank you" gesture to Mr. Aronis to create a faux Superman cover page art in the 1940 Shuster style, featuring "The World's Fair Super-Family!" -- Ray Middleton, William Aronis and Maureen Reynolds in super-costumes (complete with their "super-names" engraved on the top of their triangular S-shields), with the silhouette of the Trylon and Perisphere in the background.  Maureen's NY Times photo shows her in a tennis outfit which could be the basis of her costume -- somewhat more like Mary Marvel (with the short sleeves), and with laced up ballet slippers to match the original Superman boots.  Perhaps the art team currently working on "The K-Metal from Krypton" might want to try this?  It would be a fine tribute to the first costumed Superman and the first Superboy and Supergirl.  One wonders if the publicity generated by this contest played any role in the eventual introduction of the actual comic book characters many years later...
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