TAC Table of Contents
A TAOS "Imaginary Story"
by Kirk Hastings
(Thursday, June 16, 1960)
"This next story is a strange one," the news anchor on the TV screen began. "It seems that there have been numerous reports lately that the house on Benedict Canyon Drive in Beverly Hills, California, once occupied by actor George Reeves, who played Superman on TV up until last year when he apparently committed suicide in the second floor bedroom of his house, is haunted. That's right -- I said haunted. It seems that the real estate company that now owns the house has been having difficulty renting the house, because more than one tenant has said that the ghost of Mr. Reeves appeared to them in that same second floor bedroom while they were trying to sleep, dressed in his TV Superman costume. Because of this phenomenon, the real estate agency has not been able to keep a tenant in the house for more than a couple of days at a time."
An image of Reeves's house appeared on the TV screen as the news anchor continued.
"Many friends and acquaintances of Mr. Reeves have repeatedly said that he was very unhappy in the Superman role, especially in the later years of the series, because he had considered it to be nothing more than a "kiddie program", and he had desired more serious movie roles. But because of being typecast as the Superman character he had been unable to find those kinds of roles. The police speculate that this was probably the motive as to why he committed suicide exactly one year ago today. One old acquaintance, who wished to remain anonymous, suggested that perhaps Reeves was haunting his old house in his Superman costume because he had felt trapped in that role during his life, and now he cannot achieve his final rest because of that ongoing frustration."
The Man of Steel got up and turned off the TV set. He found himself to be very disturbed by the news story. He prepared to go to bed -- but as he did he could not get the story out of his mind.
He got into bed, and turned out the light. But he laid there for some time, unable to sleep. Normally he didn't believe in things like ghosts, but something about the story of the actor who had played him on TV haunting his own house kept prodding at his conscience.
Finally, he came to a decision. He got out of bed and went to the secret compartment in his closet where his Superman costume hung. He put it on.
Then he turned and leaped out of his bedroom window into the night.
# # #
After streaking through the night sky for some time, Superman finally came down onto the sidewalk in front of the split level ranch house at 1579 Benedict Canyon Road in Beverly Hills, just north of LA. It was late, and no one was around. As Superman stood there, the only sound he could hear was the chirp of a few crickets. The house was dark, and appeared to be deserted. A small real estate sign that said "For Rent" was stuck in the front lawn.
Superman walked up to the front door of the house. It was locked, but he decided to force it. He would repair it later.
He stepped into the living room of the house. It was devoid of furniture, and no light illuminated the room. But Superman's infra-red vision enabled him to see perfectly in the darkness. He went to the stairway located on the left side of the room and ascended to the house's second floor.
Once there he entered what was once George Reeves's master bedroom. He stood there for a few moments, an overwhelming sense of sadness coming over him as he thought about the tragic occurrence that had taken place in that room just one year before.
Suddenly, as he stood there, a mist began to form on one side of the room. Superman stared at it. As he did, the mist began to slowly coalesce into a human shape.
It was George Reeves. And he was dressed in his TV Superman costume, just as the previous tenants of the house had said. Staring at the misty, semi-transparent figure, Superman almost felt like he was looking at a mirror image of himself. He could barely believe his eyes.
The ghostly figure stood there silently for some moments, unmoving. There was a sad expression on its face.
"Mr. Reeves?" Superman finally said.
The ghostly figure slowly nodded its head.
"You know who I am, don't you?" Superman continued.
The figure nodded again.
"Mr. Reeves, why are you here?" Superman asked. "Why don't you move on to your eternal rest, instead of remaining here where your past life took place?"
The spectral figure did not answer. It simply stood and stared.
"All right," the Man of Steel went on. "I think I may know why you are still here ... you're finding it difficult to let go of the disappointments you suffered here, aren't you? You're finding it hard to accept that your life here is really over, when you were still relatively young and there was so much more you wanted to achieve. And your life ended before you could achieve it."
The figure nodded again.
"Mr. Reeves, I understand how you must feel. But you must listen to me," Superman continued. "You achieved far more during your life here on earth than you think you did."
The misty figure cocked its head to one side. Its facial expression changed to one of puzzlement.
"Yes. It's true," Superman told him. "I know something of your life, and I know that you didn't achieve many of the career goals that you wanted to. And you didn't always live up to the highest standards that you could have in your personal life. But consider this: through your widely-seen portrayal of me, you've taught a whole generation of children -- and adults -- to believe in and live by the same creed that I have always lived by: Truth, Justice, and the American Way ... the American Way being liberty and justice for all."
The ghostly figure appeared to listen intently.
"Not only that, but along the way you've also helped to teach millions of kids respect for the ideals of goodness, decency, and fairness. And that good must always triumph over evil. Those things are no small accomplishments. Because of this our whole society is better off than it was before, and some of us are better people because of it. Only those who are willfully lost in the morass of selfishness, moral confusion, and social rebellion could fail to appreciate those ideals for what they are."
Superman moved forward and attempted to lay his hand on the phantom's shoulder, but there was nothing solid there to touch.
"You have done your job, Mr. Reeves," Superman went on. "Your work here is truly finished. There are many, many souls out there who will always remember you ... and they will always be grateful for what you have taught them, and the positive influence that you have had -- and continue to have -- on their lives. You can be proud of that. Few other Hollywood actors have ever managed to achieve such a goal."
For the first time, a slight smile came to the face of the ghostly figure. He slowly nodded his head, as if he understood what he had been told.
"It's time for you to go, Mr. Reeves," Superman said.
The specter nodded his head again. He slowly raised his right hand as if in salute to the Man of Steel.
"Godspeed, Mr. Reeves. Rest in Peace," Superman said.
The ghostly form began to slowly disintegrate. Within moments it was gone.
Superman once again found himself alone in the deserted house.
Hopeful that perhaps he had helped his TV portrayer to finally find a measure of peace, Superman went back downstairs and left the lonely little house.
From that day, the ghost of George Reeves has never again been seen in his former Benedict Canyon home.
Thanks for Watching.
Jim (August 18, 2012)
Graphic by Lou Koza
The Adventures Continue (TAC) is a website devoted to George Reeves and the Adventures of Superman. All contents copyright© by Jim Nolt unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Nothing from this website may be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part (except for brief passages used solely for review purposes) without the written permission of either Jim Nolt (owner) and/or Lou Koza (editor).
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