This summer we discovered a TV show on our PBS channel called “History Detectives”. The show has been very interesting and entertaining. A team of history detectives interviews some person with a family heirloom. Then they set about solving the mystery or answering questions concerning the heirloom. In one episode, a man had found a baseball ticket with a handwritten date, July 4, 1949, and an autograph of Lou Gehrig in his mother’s yearbook. The man wanted to know if both the ticket and the signature were authentic. It was determined that the ticket was from the infamous last game of Lou Gehrig, but that the signature was that of Lou Gehrig’s wife who often signed autographs for her ailing husband. I thought that was pretty cool.
On Tuesday night, there was an episode on the “History Detectives” about the original Superman comics. A Lady in Ohio had found a drawing, belonging to her father, of Superman with the signature of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegal, the creator and artist, dated in 1941. The person wanted to know if it was authentic and how the father could possibly have come by the drawing and autograph. The History Detectives did some digging and discovered that the father had worked at a movie theater where war bonds were being sold. Shuster and Siegal, who created Superman, often helped the war effort by appearing at war bond rallies to help sell bonds – after all, Superman supported the war effort. The History Detectives went on to show many comic books where Superman, along with Batman and Robin, sold war bonds. It also showed several comics with the Man of Steel fighting the Nazis and the Japanese. The show also mentioned how involved the media was in selling war bonds. I thought all of this was really cooland was amazed at the support for WWII.
Then the show went on to tell how the media was censored during WWII with the government keeping them from reporting certain things (Fat Man and Little Boy). According to the HD, that changed during the Vietnam War with reporters having free rein. But the government learned their lesson and now keeps close reins on the media and how they report war. What?
As I watched this episode showing Superman supporting the troops, I had been thinking, Wow, wouldn’t it be neat if the media supported the Iraq War the way they supported WWII? Why do the media liken it to Vietnam instead? Things would certainly be different if the media supported our military and government rather than undermining them. Then I was totally disappointed with the last part of the show about how our government keeps a close rein on reporters now. I just don't see it.