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Old 12-26-2006, 07:10 AM
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Superman-inspired kids jumping to their death from windows/balconies?


My mother swears by the fact that the original superman cartoon was canceled because dozen of kids thought that gravity would have no effect on them if they put on a cape and jumped out the window. "I have a hard time believing that" comments were replied to with "It's true. Guarantied."

I tried looking it up on snopes but I can't find any reference to this. I assume it's bogus, but without any info either way, I can't go back to my mother and show her something.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:26 AM
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I can't provide any cite for this, but I do know of an incident of this type that happened when I was in kindergarden. This was in Germany, just outside Frankfort, in 1977. A kid who lived in our building tied a red towel around his neck and jumped off of the the top floor. It was too long ago for me to remember any more details than that, but I know that it wasn't just an urban legend.

Did it lead to the cancellation of the Superman cartoon? No idea. But the kid really jumped.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:27 AM
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I can tell you first-hand of a couple kids jumping of garage roofs with their capes (or red towel in one case) and breaking a bone or two. About the show being cancelled because of that, I don not know.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:42 AM
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I can add to the discussion but not definitively answer. In an Article on another subject SNOPES notes the stories about kids deaths and calls them "apocryphal" and says they were cirulating for several years in the late 50's - but although it throws the stink-eye at them, it doesn't discount them - making no mention of the Cartoon makes me lean towrad Not true - but I can't cite ...

did your kid die Kizarvexius ? You could let SNOPES know ...
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:49 AM
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I jumped off the high end of the porch and sprained my ankle in my Batman cape. I don't recall anyone blaming TV for the incident.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Si Amigo
I jumped off the high end of the porch and sprained my ankle in my Batman cape. I don't recall anyone blaming TV for the incident.
That's because Batman can't fly.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:30 AM
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Which "cartoon" are you talking about? Are you referring to the 1950's TV show (not a cartoon)? I watched that when I was a kid, and yes, there were apocryphal stories about kids killing/injuring themselves by thinking they could fly, but the series was cancelled because George Reeves, the actor who played Superman, committed suicide.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:37 AM
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1. The series was cancelled before Reeves committed suicide.
2. There was definite concern in the 50s that kids might try to imitate Superman. In one particular episode of the show, Superman was talking to a kid, saying that he shouldn't try to imitate what Superman did. "and that included flying" (original emphasis). Evidently they felt the need for a warning, whether it happened or not.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joazito
My mother swears by the fact that the original superman cartoon was canceled because dozen of kids thought that gravity would have no effect on them if they put on a cape and jumped out the window. "I have a hard time believing that" comments were replied to with "It's true. Guarantied."

I tried looking it up on snopes but I can't find any reference to this. I assume it's bogus, but without any info either way, I can't go back to my mother and show her something.
I don't know if your mother is correct, but in 1972 my 6 year-old brother did, in fact, use a towel as a cape when he jumped off the second-floor of some motel we were staying in at Daytona Beach. Fortunately for him he just spained his ankle. And it was after he saw some Superman thing on TV.

I remember because I egged him on.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:11 AM
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I remember people saying the same thing about The Six-Million Dollar Man in the 1970s.
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmmy
I can add to the discussion but not definitively answer. In an Article on another subject SNOPES notes the stories about kids deaths and calls them "apocryphal" and says they were cirulating for several years in the late 50's - but although it throws the stink-eye at them, it doesn't discount them - making no mention of the Cartoon makes me lean towrad Not true - but I can't cite ...

did your kid die Kizarvexius ? You could let SNOPES know ...
I remember when the incident happened, and I remember my older sister talking about it for years afterwards -- she used it as a real-life example in a speech she delivered many times on the speech & debate circuit. And I'm pretty sure that the kid died, at least according to her speech. But without any evidence to back it up, I think it belongs strictly in the realm of unprovable anecdote.
  #12  
Old 12-26-2006, 10:16 AM
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I had a teacher in high school who told a story while teaching a lesson on genetics. He said that some people have 'loose' ear lobes, and some people's ear lobes are 'attached'. He said he has one of each, and showed us.

The actual story was that he was playing Superman when he was a kid. He'd knotted a towel around his neck to serve as a cape. Naturally, Superman had to have a camp fire. The 'cape' caught fire and he couldn't undo his knot, and one of his ear lobes was burned off.
  #13  
Old 12-26-2006, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Joey P
That's because Batman can't fly.
In Batman Returns , he falls with style...
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Old 12-26-2006, 03:21 PM
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In Batman Returns , he falls with style...
That is because he was prepared
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Old 12-26-2006, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
I remember people saying the same thing about The Six-Million Dollar Man in the 1970s.
True story - there is an epsode of $6 MDM where Steve Austin rescues someone from a prison by bending some bars. (IIRC it was a man being held as a POW by a Japanese man who didn't believe the war was over.) The prisoner asks how Steve did it and he responded "I take my vitamins" (or something to that effect.) I immediately went and ate half a jar of Flintstones vitamins. Mom found me and made me throw up by feeding me a raw egg and forcing her finger down my throat.

And I seem so bright.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck
1. The series was cancelled before Reeves committed suicide.
It had been renewed and this may have contributed to Reeves' suicidal depression; going back to a job he'd come to have a serious love/hate thing for and which had typecast him out of other acting jobs.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:15 PM
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I jumped off the top bunk with a towel around my throat. (just for the record kiddies I did not fly, dropped like a rock I did) When you add in what went on in the 60's and 70's it surprises me that anyone born in the 50's survived to reproduce, let alone tell the tale.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:29 PM
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I'm curious about the fact that we hear stories of kids emulating Superman, but not Peter Pan. Instead of being superhuman, they just had to "think lovely thoughts."
  #19  
Old 12-26-2006, 08:24 PM
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I used to jump off the shed roof, not with a towel around my neck, but holding a sheet as a parachute. I was fine. I realised the parachute wasn't doing anything and later on jumped without it.
  #20  
Old 12-26-2006, 08:48 PM
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It would only harm the stupid,thus improving the gene pool...
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1920's Style "Death Ray"
I used to jump off the shed roof, not with a towel around my neck, but holding a sheet as a parachute. I was fine. I realised the parachute wasn't doing anything and later on jumped without it.
When I was a little kid, I wanted to see if I could fly or float gently down with an umbrella, like Mary Poppins. I had just enough fear, obedience (I knew this was A Bad Idea), and common sense to not do it, but it was always tempting. Gradually, I grew up (a bit, anyway), and the urge to try it subsided.

And then Roger Moore's stuntman jumped off a wall with a patio umbrella in For Your Eyes Only, and I wanted to try it all over again. Part of me still does!

Does some... jackass try this in any of the "Jackass" productions, so I can seek it out and get this thing out of my system?
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:10 PM
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My mother went to her grave believing I was trying to be Superman and jumped from a tree trying to fly. My memory is that I was just trying to climb the tree and fell.

Like RealityChuck I remember that George Reeves actually warned kids not to try to fly.
  #23  
Old 12-27-2006, 01:12 AM
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I have personally seen a toy Superman cape with the warning "cape does not allow user to fly".
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Old 12-27-2006, 06:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Scrivener
And then Roger Moore's stuntman jumped off a wall with a patio umbrella in For Your Eyes Only, and I wanted to try it all over again. Part of me still does!
Now that you mention it, I too have always wanted to try the umbrella thing. I actually did something like it once, only to find out common umbrellas are way too cheap and bendy for this kind of thing.

As for the superman thing, wow. I guess It does happen, and a lot apparently. When I get kids, I'll be sure to remember they can't tell fiction from reality apart and can't be trusted alone with a jumping spot.
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Old 12-27-2006, 07:21 AM
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I don't know if that's an urban legend, but I am reminded of the old story about the guy in the office tower who wants to prove that the window can withstand any blow, so he runs up against it with his shoulder - and it pops out and he plunges, screaming, to his death.

Well, that's a TRUE story: http://www.snopes.com/horrors/freakish/window.asp
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Old 12-28-2006, 04:10 PM
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I know a fellow who as a kid jumped off the roof wearing a cape, and was pretty badly hurt. As an adult his face was badly scarred and crooked, and he walked with a very severe limp and did not stand straight. Not sure exactly which hero he was emulating.
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Old 12-28-2006, 04:52 PM
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I remember The Amazing Captain 20 flying without an airplane in a public service announcement to kids not to try stunts they see on TV. This would have been in the early 80s. That spot was supposedly inspired by the actor's hearing the story of kids watching Superman cartoons and then trying to fly.
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Old 01-01-2007, 05:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier
I know a fellow who as a kid jumped off the roof wearing a cape, and was pretty badly hurt. As an adult his face was badly scarred and crooked, and he walked with a very severe limp and did not stand straight. Not sure exactly which hero he was emulating.
Probably he wasn't emulated any hero at all. I'll bet he was just permanantly injured from jumping off the roof when he was a kid.

Just for the sake of argument, though, maybe the Hunchback of Notre Dame?
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier
I know a fellow who as a kid jumped off the roof wearing a cape, and was pretty badly hurt. As an adult his face was badly scarred and crooked, and he walked with a very severe limp and did not stand straight. Not sure exactly which hero he was emulating.
Probably he wasn't emulated any hero at all. I'll bet he was just permanantly injured from jumping off the roof when he was a kid.

Just for the sake of argument, though, maybe the Hunchback of Notre Dame?
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:09 PM
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Both my sister and I jumped from a variety of heights (e.g., 2nd floor of a house under construction, roof of the neighbors' garage) for the sheer indescribable pleasure of leaping--no capes, parachutes, umbrellas, or emulation of superheros. My sister broke her arm, if I recall correctly. Nobody and nothing to blame for that except me encouraging her.
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
I had a teacher in high school who told a story while teaching a lesson on genetics. He said that some people have 'loose' ear lobes, and some people's ear lobes are 'attached'. He said he has one of each, and showed us.

The actual story was that he was playing Superman when he was a kid. He'd knotted a towel around his neck to serve as a cape. Naturally, Superman had to have a camp fire. The 'cape' caught fire and he couldn't undo his knot, and one of his ear lobes was burned off.
Classic exchange from the Incredibles:
Quote:
Edna: It will be bold! Dramatic!
Bob: Yeah!
Edna: Heroic!
Bob: Yeah. Something classic - like Dynaguy. Oh, he had a great look! Oh, the cape and the boots...
Edna: [throws a wadded ball of paper at Bob's head] No capes!
Bob: Isn't that my decision?
Edna: Do you remember Thunderhead? Tall, storm powers? Nice man, good with kids.
Bob: Listen, E...
Edna: November 15th of '58! All was well, another day saved, when? his cape snagged on a missile fin!
Bob: Thunderhead was not the brightest bulb...
Edna: Stratogale! April 23rd, '57! Cape caught in a jet turbine!
Bob: E, you can't generalize about these things...
Edna: Metaman, express elevator! Dynaguy, snag on takeoff! Splashdown, sucked into a vortex!
[shouts]
Edna: No capes!
Jim
  #32  
Old 01-01-2007, 07:09 PM
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When I was 6 (1952), I wanted to be Supergirl. (This was before there was a Supergirl) So, I tied on a dishtowel, and jumped off the garage roof. I figured I would land hard, because I didn't have any experience, so I put a pillow about 10 feet from the side of the garage. I was shocked to find myself a foot from the garage wall. I just Knew I could fly. I still think a bigger dishtowel.....

If there were any "Don't try this at home, kids" warnings on the Superman! show, I didn't listen.
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Old 01-02-2007, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay
I don't know if that's an urban legend, but I am reminded of the old story about the guy in the office tower who wants to prove that the window can withstand any blow, so he runs up against it with his shoulder - and it pops out and he plunges, screaming, to his death.
IIRC, this device also was used to open an episode of Hill Street Blues, except that the guy who fell was a politician demonstrating the state of ghetto housing, rather than a corporate office worker.
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