Superman vs. Muhammad Ali
Superman vs. Muhammad Ali is an oversize comic book published by DC Comics in 1978. The 72-page book features Superman teaming up with the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali to defeat an alien invasion of Earth. It was based on an original story by Dennis O’Neil which was adapted by Neal Adams, with pencils by Adams, and figure inks by Dick Giordano with background inks by Terry Austin.
Superman vs. Muhammad Ali was part of DC’s oversized series All-New Collectors’ Edition, officially numbered #C-56.
By the late 1970s, Superman had already been paired in the comics pages with real-life American icons like John F. Kennedy, Steve Allen, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Allen Funt, Don Rickles, and Pat Boone. He had even previously gone up against a real-life athlete, professional wrestler Antonino Rocca.
The book suffered numerous delays, going from an original publication date of fall 1977 to spring 1978. By the time the book was published, Ali was no longer World Heavyweight Champion, having been dethroned by Leon Spinks in February 1978. (Ali won back the title later that year in September.)
Rat’Lar, the maniacal leader of a species of aliens called the Scrubb, demands that Earth’s greatest champion fight the greatest Scrubb fighter. If Earth refuses, the Scrubb and their huge armada of spaceships will destroy it. Superman and Muhammad Ali each come forward to volunteer. However, Ali argues that Superman is not really of Earth, and has an unfair advantage in his many superpowers. In typical Ali-style verbiage, he puts himself forward as the obvious choice.
Intrigued, Rat’Lar decides that Superman and Ali should fight one another to see who really is Earth’s champion. To make the fight fair, he decrees that the match should take place on his home planet, Bodace, which orbits a red star (which temporarily robs Superman of his powers). The winner would simply be the best boxer. The two would-be champions decide that Ali will train Superman in the finer points of boxing. They journey to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude to have his powers temporarily deactivated.
The Superman vs. Muhammad Ali match is broadcast on intergalactic television to thousands of other worlds (with Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen acting as broadcaster). With the match underway, it soon becomes apparent that in battling with more or less equal strength, Ali is the superior fighter. Superman takes a serious pummeling, but somehow refuses to fall down; he stays on his feet all through the beating. Finally, Ali stops the fight, urging the referee to call for a technical knockout. Superman then falls face-first on the canvas (making the knockout more than technical).
Now crowned Earth’s champion, Ali is set to face the Scrubb’s champion, the behemoth Hun’Ya. The alien leader then asks Ali to predict at what round the fight will end. (Ali was known for predicting the round in which he would knock out his opponent.) After some chiding, Ali predicts that he will knock the alien out in the fourth round (“He’ll hit the floor in four!”). Once the match begins, however, Ali quickly starts to suffer from fighting the super-powered Hun’Ya.
Meanwhile, Superman’s great recuperative powers have enabled him to make a speedy recovery. Disguising himself as Ali cornerman Bundini Brown, he steals into the Scrubb command ship and sabotages their space armada. In his showdown with the armada, however, Superman is again badly hurt, and is left drifting in space.
Miraculously, Ali gets a second wind. In the predicted fourth round, he not only knocks the alien champion out, but out of the ring as well. Yet after witnessing Superman’s decimation of his forces, the Scrubb leader cries foul and decides to invade the now helpless Earth anyway. Just as Rat’Lar is about to give the go-ahead to his backup forces, his own champion Hun’Ya becomes enraged at Rat’Lar’s dishonorable tactics and deposes him. There will be no invasion. Earth is saved.
Superman is rescued and once again revived. Hun-ya, the new Scrubb leader, makes peace with Ali, Superman, and all of Earth. The very end of the book shows Ali and Superman in a private moment. Ali reveals that he figured out Superman’s secret identity as Clark Kent, but implicitly vows to keep it secret. The book ends with the two champions embracing and Ali proclaiming, “Superman, WE are the greatest!”
World heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, right, is shown at a press conference in New York, January 31, 1978, with promoter Don King, left, and Herbert Muhammad, center, to plug a comic book in which he beats Superman. Ali holds a copy of the comic book. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Superman vs. Muhammad Ali’s wraparound cover shows a host of late 1970s celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball, Tony Orlando, Johnny Carson, the cast of Welcome Back, Kotter, and The Jackson 5; sharing close-up seating with Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, and other DC superheroes; as well as Warner and DC employees.
Joe Kubert was originally asked to draw the cover, and his version (a black-and-white sketch of which still survives) did not feature any celebrities, but just a “normal” raucous crowd of boxing fans. DC did not approve of Kubert’s likeness of Ali, however, nor the overall grim feeling of the piece, and asked Adams to draw the book instead. Adams’ original cover illustration (modeled very closely on Kubert’s layout), included Mick Jagger in the front cover’s lower left corner; he was replaced in the final version by fight promoter Don King.
In 2000, Adams did a riff on this cover — featuring Ali fighting basketball star Michael Jordan — for a special issue of ESPN The Magazine.
On July 16, 2016, NECA announced the release of a 2-pack set of 7-inch action figures based on Muhammad Ali and Superman as they appeared in the comic. NECA also noted that Superman would include removable boxing gloves and another set of interchangeable hands.
People in the crowd (selected)
|“Show-biz personalities”The Beatles (with Yoko Ono and Linda McCartney)Kirk AlynLucille BallSonny BonoJohnny CarsonCherDick ClarkWilliam ConradPhyllis DillerThe Jackson 5Jerry GarciaJames GarnerRobert HegyesRon HowardJack LarsonNoel NeillTony OrlandoDonny OsmondMarie OsmondChristopher Reeve (in glasses)Wayne RogersFrank SinatraRaquel WelchWolfman JackPeter Falk (as Columbo)Andy WarholWoody AllenJohn Wayne (with a mustache)Orson WellesWally WoodPolitical figuresPresident Gerald FordPresident Jimmy CarterBetty FordRosalynn CarterSports figuresPeléDon KingJoe NamathLiterature and the artsKurt Vonnegut|
Those so very wacky 1970’s!
Jerry Springer R.I.P.
Gerald Norman Springer (February 13, 1944 – April 27, 2023) was an American broadcaster, journalist, actor, producer, lawyer, and politician. Born in London, England, during World War II to refugees escaping the Holocaust, Springer was raised in Queens, New York City.
Jerry Springer (talk show) debuted on September 30, 1991. It started as a politically oriented talk show, a longer version of Springer’s commentaries. Guests included Oliver North and Jesse Jackson, and topics included homelessness and gun politics.
In early 1994, Springer and his new producer, Richard Dominick, revamped the show’s format in order to garner higher ratings. The show became more successful as it became targeted toward tabloidish sensationalism. Guests were everyday people confronted on a television stage by a spouse or family member’s adultery, homosexuality, transsexuality, prostitution, transvestism, hate group membership, or other controversial situations. These confrontations were often promoted by scripted shouting or violence on stage. The show received substantial ratings and much attention. By 1998, it was beating The Oprah Winfrey Show in many cities, and was reaching more than 6.7 million viewers.
Granny Clampett meets The Wicked Witch of the West
Granny (Irene Ryan) second from left and the Witch (Margaret Hamilton) far right. In the movie, Texas, Brooklyn & Heaven (1948).
Cindy Williams Gone
Cynthia Jane Williams (August 22, 1947 – January 25, 2023) was an American actress and producer, known for her role as Shirley Feeney on the television sitcoms Happy Days (1975–1979), and Laverne & Shirley (1976–1982). She also appeared in American Graffiti (1973) and The Conversation (1974).
Williams was born in the Van Nuys district of Los Angeles, California, on August 22, 1947. She was Italian on her mother’s side, Francesca Bellini. The family moved to Dallas, Texas when she was a year old and returned to Los Angeles when she was ten years old. She had one sibling, a sister named Carol Ann.
Williams wrote and acted during childhood at a church and later acted at Birmingham High School, graduating in 1965. She attended Los Angeles City College where she majored in theater .
Paul is Dead: The Bizarre Conspiracy of Paul McCartney’s Supposed Death
Celebrities have long been magnets for rumors and conspiracy theories. Their high profiles and lifestyles invite it, the general public eager to eat up any little bit of talk about their favorite famous people. Often these are just passing fads that inevitably blow over and are forgotten, but some have managed to lodge themselves firmly into history, and here we get into one of the most baffling and persistent conspiracy theories the world of music has ever seen.
In 1967 the English rock band The Beatles were at the height of their unprecedented success and were in the midst of taking the world by storm. Formed in Liverpool in 1960 and comprised of the members John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, The Beatles had enjoyed a meteoric rise to the stratosphere of stardom, and by that time were already international stars and considered to be pioneers in recording, songwriting and artistic presentation, as well as leaders of the era’s youth and sociocultural movements, and there seemed to be no stopping them. It is perhaps no surprise that with so many eyes on them and considering their immense popularity that rumors and tabloid-style schlock would swirl around them, but some of these were weirder than others, and perhaps the most enduring and bonkers of these is the time Paul McCartney supposedly died and was replaced by a look-alike impostor.
The rumor began in early 1967, when there were whispers that Paul had died in a car crash. The story was incredibly specific, as far as such rumors go. Paul had apparently gotten into an argument with his band mates on November 9, 1966 during a Beatles recording session and had driven off angrily in his car. After this, he had gotten into a gruesome traffic accident at 5 o’clock in the morning that had actually decapitated him, and he been pronounced dead at the scene. The remaining Beatles, not wanting to upset the public, then supposedly went about finding a look-alike to replace him, sometimes identified as a “William Campbell”, “Billy Shears” or “William Shears Campbell,” who they had then extensively trained to impersonate McCartney and then they had continued business as usual. Now this in and of itself isn’t so strange, as rock stars have long been erroneously declared dead either through misunderstanding or deliberate hoaxes, only to turn up perfectly fine, but in this case the ones perpetuating the rumors claimed to have proof hidden in the various works of the Beatles, where they were said to have dropped subtle hints and clues of the cover-up scam.
At the time, much was being made of the fad among some musicians of using a technique called “backmasking,” in which a message is recorded backward onto a track that is meant to be played forward, usually for artistic, comedic and satiric effect. This had led to many artists’ music being analyzed and played backwards looking for hints and hidden messages, and apparently The Beatles’ albums were chock full of blatant backmasked messages proving that Paul McCartney was dead. For instance, the intro from the song Revolution 9 supposedly holds the words “Turn me on, dead man” when played backwards, and the at the end of Strawberry Fields Forever, John allegedly says “I buried Paul.” The song Here Comes The Sun played backwards at 78 rpm allegedly says, “Woe is Paul,” and their self-titled double LP, also known as the “White Album,” was also supposed to hold certain lyrics that implied that Paul was dead, including a line from the song Glass Onion where Lennon sings “Here’s another clue for you all / The walrus was Paul,” with fans eagerly declaring that “walrus” is Greek for “corpse.” Also on the White Album is the song I’m So Tired, a portion of which when played backwards supposedly says “Paul is dead, man, miss him, miss him.” It was all further fueled by the fact that at the time The Beatles had recently temporarily retired from live performances, and it did not help matters that The Beatles were already notorious for hiding references to other songs in their lyrics that encouraged clue hunting, so dropping hints that Paul was dead would not have been abnormal behavior for them.
It all got pretty out of hand, but it likely would have died down if the rumor hadn’t been fueled by its explosion in the United States in 1969. In September of that year, Tim Harper, an editor of the Drake Times-Delphic, the student newspaper of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa wrote an article addressing the rumors called Is Beatle Paul McCartney Dead?, which had the effect of starting heated discussion among the students. Then, on 12 October 1969, a caller to the Detroit radio station WKNR-FM told disc jockey Russ Gibb about the rumor and its clues on live radio, after which other high-profile stations picked it up and discussed it, and the whole thing really took off to take on a grand life of its own, with all manner of supposed clues that Paul McCartney was dead coming out of the woodwork.
In addition to the supposed backmasked lines from various albums, there were allegedly all sorts of visual clues offered up supporting the theory. Many of these are on album covers, such as the back cover of Sgt. Pepper, where every Beatle is photographed facing the viewer except McCartney, and the front cover of Magical Mystery Tour depicts one unidentified band member in a differently colored suit from the other three, as well as every member of the band holding red roses, whereas McCartney is holding a black one. There is also the interpretation of the Abbey Road album cover as depicting a funeral procession, with Lennon representing a heavenly figure dressed in white, Ringo in black as the undertaker, George Harrison wearing denim that supposedly identifies him as the gravedigger, and McCartney barefoot and out of step with the others signifying the corpse. A white Volkswagen Beetle can also be seen on the cover bearing the characters LMW 281F, with the “281F” supposedly meaning “IF Paul had been alive he would have been 28” and the “LMW” standing for “Linda McCartney, widow.” There was even pointed out that the imposter McCartney is holding a cigarette in his right hand when the real Paul always held it in the left. There was even the rumor that if you hold up a reflective butter knife to a portion of the back album cover of Abbey Road you will see a skull reflected back.
Throughout all of this both representatives for The Beatles and the other band members constantly adamantly denied the rumors, but it was such an entrenched urban legend by then that there was little they could do to prove Paul was in fact alive. McCartney himself was flabbergasted by the whole thing, which he watched from seclusion at his farm in Scotland, where he had been spending some down time with his family. There was so much curiosity that there were news crews lurking about secretly filming him there and releasing the footage to let people scrutinize it and decide if it was really him or not. He mostly tried to ignore it all, but the rumor was the centerpiece of countless radio shows and magazine articles and he was feeling the squeeze about it all. He would say:
Someone from the office rang me up and said, ‘Look, Paul, you’re dead.’ And I said, ‘Oh, I don’t agree with that.’ They said, ‘Look, what are you going to do about it? It’s a big thing breaking in America. You’re dead.’ And so I said, leave it, just let them say it. It’ll probably be the best publicity we’ve ever had, and I won’t have to do a thing except stay alive. It was a bit weird meeting people shortly after that, because they’d be looking at the back of my ears, looking a bit through me. And it was weird doing the “I really am him” stuff. So I managed to stay alive through it.
It indeed did boost album slaes, but McCartney would eventually get so tired of it that he granted an interview with Life Magazine, after apparently throwing a bucket of water on them, in order to clear the air a bit and try to dispel the whole thing. This did have the effect of dimming it down a bit, but a lot of people still refused to believe that he was really Paul McCartney. Nevertheless, he gave some more thoughts on the matter, explaining:
Perhaps the rumour started because I haven’t been much in the press lately. I have done enough press for a lifetime, and I don’t have anything to say these days. I am happy to be with my family and I will work when I work. I was switched on for ten years and I never switched off. Now I am switching off whenever I can. I would rather be a little less famous these days.
Although the rumors died down slightly over the years, the “Paul is Dead” legend certainly did not completely expire. People were still talking about it well into the 70s, to the point that it became a subject of academic study in America in the fields of sociology, psychology and communications. The stubborn urban legend has even persisted right up to recent years, and still is discussed and even believed by many. There was even an analysis done in 2009 by two forensic research consultants for Wired magazine that compared the skull of McCartney in photos taken before and after his alleged death, and they would further throw fuel on the rumors by coming to the conclusion that the photos were not of the same man. The Paul is Dead theory has become one of the most famous legends of rock, indeed the most famous of any celebrity, period, continuing to inspire gossip and intrigue. It just won’t die and some people still think that Paul McCartney died back in 1966. Biographer Ian MacDonald would say of it in his book Revolution in the Head:
Given its origins as an item of gossip and intrigue generated by a select group in the “Beatles cult”, “Paul is dead” serves as a genuine folk tale of the mass communications era. It is the most monumental hoax since Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast persuaded thousands of panicky New Jerseyites that Martian invaders were in the vicinity.
What are we to make of this phenomenon? Why is it that this urban legend has gotten so out of hand? The fact is, as of this writing, Paul McCartney is still alive, but people still insist that this is not really him. It is all an intriguing and bizarre look into the building of an urban legend and how celebrity can draw to it some weird stories, and it has managed to remain a persistent and very popular rumor in the history of rock.
The Heights of Hollywood Celebrities and World leaders
Tall, small, big, short, it makes no difference. Unless of course you are a middle linebacker or a jockey. Despite the trivial nature of this post, there are some surprising revelations here. Never realized Snooky was 4’8″, and Seth Green was 5’4″.
There is a bit of redundancy here, it was necessary to include as many people as possible.
Canada’s current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is 6’2″.
|Name||Height, Cm||Height, Feet and inches (rounded to nearest)||Country (leader of )|
|Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner||164||5’4||Argentina|
|Julia Eileen Gillard||166||5’5||Australia|
|Valéry Giscard d’Estaing||189||6’2||France|
|Charles de Gaulle||196||6’5||France|
Joe Biden is 5’11”. Trump was just over 6’2″.