Thursday, May 6, 2010

Superman made me re-read Sherlock Holmes

He really did. Sort of.

A few weeks ago, I picked up Season One of the Adventures of Superman (the original George Reeves series) at Wal-Mart, where I just happened to notice it on sale real cheap.  Not long after, I watched an episode titled "The Mystery of the Broken Statues."

And that's just what the bad guys are doing--breaking statues. Or at least they're breaking little figurines. They walk into a curio shop, buy all the figurines from a particular manufacturer, then break them right then and there, shifting through the bits afterward as if looking for something.

Well, when Lois Lane finds out about this, she immediately figures something is up. She's right, of course. And it's not hard for her (or Clark Kent or us) to figure out what's going on. The bad guys know there's something valuable hidden inside one of those figurines, but don't know which one.

Lois gets kidnapped (something that I think might actually be written into her job description), but Superman shows up to save the day and eventually figure out what the villains are looking for.

Like all the black-and-white episodes of this delightful series, it was a fun story with protagonists so likable you kind of feel cheated that they don't really exist to be your friends in real life. The photography and lighting are top notch as well--another typical strength from the show's early seasons. There are a few holes in the plot, but they are minor and the story is told in such an effective and enjoyable manner that I'm more forgiving of plot holes than I normally would be.

So how did all this make me re-read Sherlock Holmes? Because, Watson, the story line reminded me of the Holmes story "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons," (1904). In this one, someone is breaking into shops and houses and smashing small busts of the little French Emperor. Why? Well, Holmes figures it out, of course. Not the absolute best Holmes story, but still a really good one.

So once I made that fairly obvious connection, I had to pretty much right away pull that story up on my Kindle and read it again. Superman made me re-read Sherlock Holmes. It's too bad the two heroes never had a chance to team up--they both had a pretty good knack for solving mysteries.

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