Heroes

Guy Williams as ZorroLife has been singularly bereft of heroes lately. Perhaps I’m just getting older and life is making me more cynical but I think it’s the world that’s getting more cynical. It seems to me there has been a continuing trend on TV and the movies that has accelerated in recent years to create heroes who are not entirely heroic, but rather more human. Less black and white, more gray. Despite how reasonable this approach may be, I prefer my heroes heroic.

I like my superheroes really super, solidly and clearly on the side of justice. There’s plenty of room in literature, film, theater and television for ambivalence and flawed heroes. At least in genres where my heroes fight evil to save the earth or a some piece of it, I want a clear and unambiguous line between good and evil. Life isn’t really like that, but that’s what escapism in the movies and on television is all about.Santa_Claus_1

Give me a masked hero, preferably on a horse, wielding a sword. I can make do with a six-gun if he only shoots them in the hand (the Lone Ranger never actually killed anyone).

Today being Christmas, my first question is whether or not Santa Claus counts as a superhero. I think the answer will depend on the age of the person answering the question. Probably “yes” below age 6. A solid “maybe” through around age 9, followed by a short period of  “I don’t think so.” I remember when my granddaughter was at the “switchover” age. She was reasonably sure there was no Santa Claus, but she figured she ought to hedge her bets, just in case.

She definitely didn’t want to alienate Santa should he turn out to be the bestower of gifts. Thus she “sort of believed,” but sort of didn’t. It was funny watching her work her way through her first major philosophical dilemma.

Personally, I’m a weenie for masked men. I’m a sucker for horses even without a rider, so it can’t be much of a surprise.  Depending on the level of heroism involves, I can compromise on the mask too. But LOTS of extra credit for the horse and if it is a particularly magnificent steed … ah, be still my heart.

I am almost as passionate about superheroes. I favor capes. Although I waited patiently, none of my heroes ever came to take me away. I love my husband and an orange 1970 (1969?) Dodge Challenger convertible, although not a horse, was certainly a better than average ride, but I did long for the mythos and might of my comic book and screen heroes and super heroes. Although I’m significantly more creaky than I used to be (maybe a buckboard rather than a saddle?) I’m still ready and waiting.

Superman was filmed in color, though I was well into my 30s before I saw it for myself. Until then, I never had a color TV so I remember all those early shows as black and white and am frequently surprised to discover they are actually in color. Zorro made my heart flutter and The Lone Ranger made me weak in the knees. Despite the fact that to this day, I cannot fathom how come no one recognized Superman when he wore wire-rimmed eyeglasses, I loved him anyway. Batman too, though Supe was really My Guy.

Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

Jay Silverheels and Clayton Moore

I had some small issue with the whole phone booth thing since in New York, where I grew up, they had glass sides, so they were not exactly a private shelter. Why didn’t he just do it at super speed so no one could see? Who needs a phone booth anyhow?

I am glad that movie makers share my love for the super guys who filled the dreams of my girlhood. I was the only girl … hell, the only kid … I knew who had Lone Ranger wallpaper. Not on a computer. There was no such thing. No, I had it on my walls. Lone and Tonto, endlessly riding in a small circle around the same little patch of ground … “Hi yo Silver! The Lone Ranger Rides Again!” I always thought Tonto got rather short shrift and I thought his horse, Scout, was every bit as cool as Silver, but I would have settled for any kind of equine.

He could graze on our lawn, live in the otherwise unused garage, please mom? I’ll take care of him. You won’t have to do a thing.

She was immovable. How could I lead the fight for Justice without a horse? I tried flying, which worked for Superman, but all I got were scabby knees and elbows. No matter how hard, no leap got me over a single tall, or even medium-sized building.

So, return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when Silver and Scout, Trigger and that fabulous black horse that Zorro always rode carried my heroes, with and without masks. I absolutely positively will NOT see the latest remake. Johnny Depp in heavy makeup and way too many feathers as Tonto? Hell, Jay Silverheels was at least a real Native American. Couldn’t we do as well in 2012?

We could use a few heroes now, could we not?

Maybe they are still out there … we just don’t seem to see much of them anymore.

12 comments

  1. I too grew up watching Superman & the Lone Ranger. I still remember the special they produced showing how the Lone Ranger came to be. I need to search for that movie & own it.

    I was an avid comic book reader, mostly Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern & the Justice League. Of course back then comics were ten cents and thus, affordable for me. I too always wondered about the disguise thing with Superman.

    I’m sick of reality shows and idiot TV such as “Wipeout”. I’m already bored to tears with Survivor, American Idol and all the modern talent series. Give me a good old western like Bonanza or Gunsmoke any day.

    1. I don’t think Garry or I has ever watched a reality show. Not for us. We watch old movies and reruns of shows we liked, plus a selection of new shows. There are a few good ones, but fewer each year it seems. Gradually, all the shows we like that have been on for a lot of seasons are saying “bye bye” … and the new ones are not inspiring. Harry’s Law was great … they took it off because WE are the demographic that liked it and we are not a desirable demographic. Talk about insulting! It was one of the top 5 shows when they closed it down. People watched it, but we are officially not the people they want. We don’t buy enough sneakers and cell phones.

      I too was a DC comics fan. Garry read all of them, I think … Marvel and DC. And both of us enjoy some of the movies they’ve made from comicbooks heroes. Captain America was good. Hopefully the sequel will be out soon. Less a sequel than the second part of the story since the first was more an introduction than the whole thing.

      1. I’m a proud member of the 47%ers. I don’t care about the stupid generation of adult kids. I hope to be dead before they get elected. Like, Like, Like, Ya know what I mean? Whatever! LOL

  2. Here I am on the computer and it is Christmas day. However, I did awaken this morning with the spiritual thoughts of what this day truly celebrates! First Christmas of my life there were no presents under the tree…in fact, NO tree. Christmas Eve found us late into the night at the ER. Jim’s breathing became really shallow and when he started gasping for breath we knew where he needed to be! We got to back home late into the night and not much sleep for either of us. He is resting now and I am about to enter the realm of the kitchen…cheesecake is beckoning me to get ‘er done! Just think, only the two of us to eat the whole thing when it is done! LOL:>)

    Hope you have a wonderful day and new year!

    1. Dear “Cat”, I know you through your shared blogs with Marilyn. I hope Jim is feeling better. That, it seems, would be the greatest Christmas gift of all. Marilyn and I have the house to ourselves today (along with the four furry kids). The “Kids” are visiting relatives elsewhere as they do every Christmas Day. We had an “Italian” Christmas Eve Dinner and later opened presents. Santa was generous even though this has been a very lean year for us. Oh, we have a dusting of snow to make it an official White Christmas!! Here’s hoping the rest of the day is good to Jim and you. Enjoy the Cheesecake and relax!!
      Garry

      1. Garry, thank you for the well wishes for Jim. Yes, indeed, his getting better would be the greatest of all! He is resting at the moment and breathing is much better than last evening. Our furry friends are a blessing, too…I sometimes think we are the pets:>) Not sure who is more spoiled! Foxie has been lounging on the porch all day peering out at the rain but refusing to venture out. Boots just left my lap and is strolling around the backyard in spite of the rain. Of course, at this time it is merely a drizzle. Enjoy your dusting of snow! Merry Christmas:>)

    2. That sucks. Beats out my spasming back and the heating pad. I could at least watch TV and my kids cooked dinner.

      Yet …. You have each other and that’s no small thing. When I look at my guy, I think what an enormous gift it is that we have each other, despite everything that’s happened.There is a higher meaning to Christmas that I think this is when we really notice it. It seems to get lost in the the wrapping paper and lights … and those things mean less and less to me as I get older.

      I forgot about cheesecake. I wish I’d though of it! Only have apple pie, but I bought a couple of buffalo steaks for dinner and fresh spinach. The kids are all off at her family in New Hampshire, so it’s a quiet day here too.

      Hang on in there. Our prayers fly to you … Eat that cheesecake!! Feel the love. It’s coming from way up in New England.

      1. Taking a break and back at the computer for a few minutes. The cheesecake turned out GREAT at least at this point of looking at it. My mouth is watering! Definitely feel the love! Just saw Garry’s comment so will back up and leave a little note:>)

        1. I’m about to head into the kitchen and figure out what to do with buffalo steaks. Kind of beef, but very very lean. I’ll just think steak! Send cheesecake thoughts!

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