Friday, June 16, 2017 - Updated: 10:06 AMThirty-nine Superman celebrations.
That’s a lot of celebrating and a huge number of people who have come to Metropolis to celebrate with us.
It is almost impossible to get an accurate count of how many people attend the Celebration each year. But in recent years, the figure has been estimated at 40,000 for the four days of festivities.
At just 20,000 per year the celebrations have drawn almost three-quarters of a million people.
No matter what the number was this year it seemed to me that most everyone had a great time. The weather was probably the best ever, and even though people standing in lines got hot, they did not get rained on, or swelter in 100 degree heat.
For area adults and teenagers there was the road race on Thursday evening, bike ride on Saturday morning and car show on Sunday afternoon. And the real comic and movie fans who come from all over were able to participate in activities and meet their favorite superstars.
Of course, many local people were involved in making the activities happen. There is no way a celebration like ours could take place without hundreds of volunteers, many representing local clubs which sponsor some of the main events.These events not only draw people to the area, but are also great fundraisers for community organizations.
This year, instead of running all over town shooting pictures at numerous events, I worked mostly at the Metro•Chamber office on Friday and Saturday, and the car show on Sunday. My primary job at the chamber was to assist people standing in line to visit with Margot Kidder and Sarah Douglas. Margot played Lois Lane in the original Superman movies beginning in 1978. Sarah Douglas, who hails from England, was also in at least one of those movies with Christopher Reeve.
Margot and Sarah have been guest of the Celebration several times over the years, and always draw large number of fans. Margot’s first trip to Metropolis was not for a Superman celebration, but campaigning for Paul Simon. She still speaks highly of him.
The line of fans beside the chamber building to see the two female stars was long for all four sessions. Unfortunately, Margot was sick Friday morning delaying the start of the autograph session. That kept people waiting way too long out in the sun. But, most of them took it in very good spirits and they thoroughly enjoyed talking with the former movie stars like they were old friends. In some cases they were, as people return to Metropolis each year to see some of their favorite people.
One man I know who was there both Friday and Saturday actually moved to Metropolis after coming to several Celebrations. For him, this was a great place to retire.
Many of the people waiting in line were very talkative and love to tell about how they have been Superman fans for many years and drive long distances to get here.
I talked with one woman who was born in Panama and another who was born in Cuba, which are countries I have visited recently. The two women did not come all the way from Panama and Cuba for the Superman Celebration. They only had to drive from Milwaukee and Miami. But like most others, they thought it was well worth it.
Being in a newly-defined category labeled “almost elderly,” my main interest in comics was not so much comic books but the comic strips in daily newspapers. My favorite was the very popular Lil Abner. Behind all the funny things that the Abner family did were also strange characters and themes based on politics.
One of the minor characters, who most people probably don’t remember was a young woman named Stupefyin’ Jones. Now that seems like a very odd name for a beautiful young woman, but the name comes from the fact that Miss Jones was so beautiful that when men looked at her, they went stupid.
Well, Stupefyin’ Jones walked into the chamber office Saturday afternoon. She was dressed in the costume of Wonder Woman, in the newly released movie. I haven’t seen the movie, but based on pictures from it, this woman looked identical to the star, Gal Gadot, the former Miss Israel.
She stood about six-feet tall in the high-heeled boots and had the figure and face of a Miss America.Getting her to return to next year’s Celebration would make a great draw for the millions of people who will see the Wonder Woman movie in the next few months.
The only problem might be that we would have too many men walking around Metropolis in a stupefied condition. My question is, would that be much different than other celebrations.