A Superman Question

Why is it that when bad guys shoot at Superman, he is invincible, yet when they throw their guns at him, he ducks?

Why do you flinch if I fake a punch to your face? Reflex.

How about, because George Reeves was only a man, and he could have gotten a nasty scratch from being hit in the face with a gun.

The plan was for the crook to throw the gun at Superman’s (Reeve’s) chest. But perhaps the simplest answer is “Because the studio only did the one take”.

There exists at least one shot of the gun bouncing off Reeves’ chest, but it clearly uses special effects. Considering the shoestring nature of the production, it was easier to shoot blanks at him (not a safe practice in and of itself) and just let him duck.

To me, it would have been cooler if he’d caught the gun (with the arrogance of that kid up at bat who used to bare-hand-catch your softball pitches while making derisive comments about your girly throwing arm) and crushed it, but that’s just me.

Reposting a 50 year old joke. Is that a record?

Gee, I’m so sorry for asking a legitamate question I’ve only heard 2 days ago :rolleyes: How could I have been so dumb? :smack: :rolleyes:

I can’t remember who said it first: “There are no old jokes; just new audiences.”

Actually, if you watch the Superman TV show closely, you’ll see that he’s not ducking, he’s genuflecting. This is in fact a clever nod to the comic book source material, specifically a back-up feature in Action 133 (June 1949): “The Secret of the Gun-Shy Superman!” In the story, Lois Lane witnesses Superman foil a bank robbery, and she is surprised when he appears to duck out of the way of a thrown gun. Soon afterward, she interviews a museum professor who is translating a mysterious tablet. It turns out that the inscription is actually from Superman’s home world, and details some of the ancient customs of his people. Since they were a peaceful society who had long ago abandoned war, they would bow out of respect whenever they saw anyone discard a weapon. Superman was simply doing his best to honor his ancestors.

Armed with this knowledge, Lois realizes that she has the perfect means to uncover Superman’s secret identity–he has to bow if someone throws away a weapon in his presence. Superman overhears her plan, however, and decides to fool her into thinking that the tablet is a phony. The next time he stops a crime in Lois’ presence, he uses his super-speed to mold a piece of metal into a dummy gun and substitute it for the real one, which the unsuspecting criminal then hurls at him. Of course, since it’s not a real weapon he’s not obliged to duck, and it bounces harmlessly off his chest. Later he surrepetitiously uses his diamond-hard fingernail to etch a new line in the tablet, suggesting the whole thing is a fake.

Lois, of course, is foiled once again. “I was sure that the tablet was the key to finding out Superman’s true identity!” She laments to Clark Kent. Clark replies with a knowing wink, “Well, you can’t believe everything you read…can you?”:wink:

That’s what I was wondering.

Well… he got the date right, but the issue has Superman searching for the love of Helen, the World’s Most Perfect Girl. Yes, of Troy. Also there was a Tommy Tomorrow and a Congo Bill and a Watchman short.

Well, I was being sarcastic. Maybe if you pull your head out of your ass, you’d see that.

Topaz, welcome to the Straight Dope. Hope you have fun here.

By the way, friendly hint: nothing wrong with sarcarsm, but scatological insults to other posters are frowned upon, other than in the forum called the BBQ Pit.

If this was truly a legitimate question, then of course I aplogize.

But then again, I’ve never heard it asked as a legitimate question, only as a joke, since it’s pretty obvious what the only answer can be.

Except for what Terrifel posted, which is a perfect parody of what a Superman story was like in those days. Congrats!

Thanks, Northern Piper , and thanksExapno Mapcase.

So was I.

I didn’t intend to offend. Welcome to the boards.

Yeah. Thanks.

Seriously, George Reeve`s Superman seemed to have rather limited superpowers… much like the original pre1940 comic version or the one from the Fleischer cartoons.

He seemed to have to exert himself to lift heavy objects (support a small plane in flight, ripping off a safe door, that sort of thing). He could DO it, but he definitely seemed to have to give the deed some effort.

The same was true for his invulnerability. He was not the Olympian god of the comics who could let an Hbomb go off his hand without thinking. In one episode, Reeves swallowed an explosive to protect those around him, loooked very unhappy about the results and refused to do it again in a later scene, chasing everyone outside instead.

Maybe the idea was that this Superman had his powers develop gradually as a youth, and subconsciously he still remembered when he could be hurt by getting hit with something. He braced himself for the bullets but that gun coming at his face triggered (sorry) his natural reflexes.

One other thing. Reeves Superman did not usually lightly tap his opponents to knock them out. Particularly in the earlier episodes, he threw some serious punches that (even if he wasnt using his full strength) must have felt like getting smacked with a chunk of metal to the thugs. Watch the first season shows and imagine being punching by an invulnerable fist the way Reeves slugged those guys. Ouch.

I always figured that it was because Superman wasn’t originally invulnerable. Originally, invulnerability was a function of his costume, specifically just the S emblem on his chest. So long as the baddies are aiming at his chest, he’s fine. But when they throw the gun, it’s at his head, which isn’t invulnerable. So he has to duck.

Never heard that one before. Do you know an issue number?