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Vince Marzo's Close Encounter with George Reeves

Vince Marzo and I share in interest in George Reeves and for almost ten years now we've exchanged letters every couple of months. Through those letters Vince has kept me informed of his many harrowing experiences as a firefighter in the Los Angeles area. When he's not battling those fires which are sometime "hotter than the hot seat at Sing Sing," he relaxes by attending shows like the Hollywood Collectors & Celebrities Show at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in North Hollywood. I'm always happy to receive mail from Vince because I know his letters will be filled with interesting information and sometimes a celebrity photo or two. Vince really surprised me late last year, however, when he casually mentioned meeting George Reeves back in 1957! I couldn't believe it! We'd been writing for all this time and he didn't mention to me! Or had he? You see, sometimes I'm not so sure I haven't been sprayed with Professor Pepperwinkle's anti-memory vapor once too often. In any event, Vince kindly wrote this description of his close encounter with George Reeves.


To paraphrase James B. Olsen, Gee whiz, Mr. Nolt, I thought I told you about that. I had always wanted to commit that memory to paper for you, but never got around to it. So, now's my chance.

It was Friday, December 20, 1957, the last day of school before Christmas vacation. I was six years old and in the first grade at All Saints Catholic Elementary School in northeast Los Angeles. Friday afternoon was the day my mother always took the streetcar downtown for her weekly shopping. Since class was half-day only, I got home in time to tag along. Before we reached the usual stops at the bakery, butcher shop, and Grand Central Market for groceries, we got off the streetcar at the Broadway Department Store. Since this was one of the more upscale shops in downtown Los Angeles, I knew we weren't here to do any Christmas shopping. Little did I realize my mother's motive for this unscheduled stop.

I marveled at the store's Christmas decorations as my mother and I made our way from one end of the Broadway to the other and finally up the elevator to the second floor. Christmas was in the air, and nothing could have been more exciting. Or so I thought. But then, just as we rounded a corner, and only a few feet from the vestibule, I stopped short. My jaw literally dropped and nearly hit the floor. I couldn't believe it! I just couldn't believe it! There he was, and no less than ten feet tall! Dressed in a brilliant red and blue costume! Superman!

George Reeves had just finished a personal appearance at the store and was making his way to the elevators when we arrived. There were a few children waving their good-byes as he walked toward us. Walking toward him, my mother took his arm, stood on her tiptoes, and whispered in his ear. George listened, then broke into a big smile. In the next moments he came forward and stood directly in front of me in his classic "hands on hips" pose. There we stood, face to face, with me desperately trying to keep from wetting my pants! Then George bent down, took my hand in his, and said, "Merry Christmas, Vincent!" At first I couldn't utter even one word. I just looked up at him. Finally, regaining some composure, I blurted out, "Merry Christmas, Superman," as he moved toward the waiting elevator.

Before the doors closed, however, he turned and waved a last good-bye. At that point, Santa Claus could have left a lump of coal the size of an iceberg in my stocking, for this was the best present I could have ever asked for.

Well, Jim, that's my story. Looking back on it, I wish we could have afforded a camera. But it really doesn't matter. You see, photographs from those days fade, but my memory of meeting George Reeves will remain forever vivid. How I savor that moment, one I will cherish forever.



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