PETA Hates Jimmy Olsen

Bloggified by Jake on Wednesday, May 10, 2006

It's been a while since I did a Jimmy Olsen post. This is a short one, but it's one that's stuck in my head for a few months and I haven't seen anyone else talk about it.

In Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #12, the circus is in town and Jimmy and Clark are doing a story about a father-son clown act that will make its debut that night. Unfortunately, just before the son is set to go on, he trips, hits his head, and can't go on. Not wanting to let down the kid's dad, Jimmy steps in to do the act.I'm always struck by what seems to be a recurring theme throughout comics in the 50's and 60's where "circus performer" is treated as a legitimate profession on par with "doctor" or "accountant." For example, in the Supergirl introduction issue, the strongman's lament that a girl being stronger than him would make him a laughing stock was treated as a legitimate worry.

Anyway, Jimmy goes on without the dad knowing his son is suffering a concussion and may be bleeding into his skull, putting undo pressure on his brain and threatening his very life. They drive out in little cars, but Jimmy's starts acting up, ruining the act. Clark saves Jimmy with some surreptitious (deus e)x (machina)-ray vision that stops the car.

The next act involves Jimmy floating around while dangling from a bunch of helium balloons, but the balloons start popping. Clark notices the dad is the one sabotaging the act and goes to find out why, finding the elder clown's diary where he reads that the son is a clowning failure. The dad is trying to ruin the act so his son will quit clowning and go into a more legitimate line of work like guessing people's weight.

The part that really freaked me out though was the third act, where the dad has replaced a prop elephant pill with a 250 pound rock.As with the other situations, Superman helps Jimmy overcome the sabotage, this time by tunnelling underneath the pill and hurling it into the elephant's mouth.Okay, great... so the show goes on and Jimmy is saved the embarrassment of not being able to lift a heavy rock.

But Superman just threw a 250 pound stone down an elephant's throat!

I would think gently placing a 250 pound rock in an elephant's mouth could do some damage, but hurling it from ten yards away, tossing it about fifteen feet into the air, is going to kill the damn thing. So, actually the show is only going to "go on" for about another two minutes before either the end of the skit is ruined by the elephant's inability to respond to his cue to get up and prance around or when the clown dad slips in a pool of elephant blood that's gushing from the back of the beast's neck where the edge of the 250 pound granite slab is jutting.

The caption does say it's a phony sick elephant, but does that mean the elephant is pretending to be sick or that it's a plaster elephant statue. I thought the former because if it's the latter, where the fun in that act? Two clowns climbing around on an elephant statue? The end of the act has to involve the elephant getting up after being cured, right?

Oh, in case you're wondering, the dad was trying to sabotage the act because his son's rehearsals sucked. The son comes out for the finale, though, and blows his dad away. Clark then shares an article he wrote many years ago about the dad in which the elder clown admits he always sucks in rehearsals because he feeds off the crowd response. The dad realizes his son and he have a lot in common and they go on to "break box office records," a feat so important it warrants a banner headline in the Daily Planet.

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