One of the great things about being a researcher is that I periodically get to delve into some old archives. As such, I just recently stumbled upon a Washington Post news article from 1940 that I wanted to share with all of you.
On December 29th, 1940, police officers in Miami Beach, FL. were alerted to a person displaying “suspicious” behavior. Police were told that someone was attempting to enter cars; a clear insinuation that someone was trying to steal cars. Police immediately arrested the suspect and the next day he was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Throughout this entire process, the suspect had been claiming that he was Joe Shuster – the co-creator of Superman.
Finally, someone thought to give this mystery man a pen and paper, and have him prove that he was the artist that created the “Man of Steel.” Within a matter of moments, the suspected criminal produced a perfect drawing of Superman, causing the police station to fill up with “red faces and apologies” according to one Washington Post article.
After confirming that this was the Joe Shuster, the police let him go. Shuster explained to them that he had come to Miami Beach for vacation “and was only looking into the luxurious automobile which police thought he was attempting to steal.”
What stood out to me about this article, was that it reinforces just how popular Superman was in the 1930s and 40s. Police Officers not only were familiar with the character, but knew the art style so well that they could determine Shuster’s identity through a single drawing.
So what do you think of this? If you were ever locked up in jail unfairly, which superhero would you want to save you?
- If you feel like seeing the original article, you can purchase it from the Washington Post here.