My Dinner with Lois Lane…
Like nearly every kid in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, I was a huge fan of THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. It was already in re-runs by the time I saw it, but I didn’t know that then. And I probably wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told me because I knew that nothing could stop Superman.
To me, it was more than a TV show. It was…the realization of everything I wanted to be true.
Or—as the show summed so snappily explained—Superman was the embodiment of “Truth, Justice and the American Way.”
Sure that’s corny—now. But back then it was exciting stuff. And on many levels it still is for me. Because I’m still a bit giddy that last weekend I dinner with Noel Neill the actress who played Lois Lane on the show.
Noel and her biographer/friend Larry Ward were in Seattle for the Emerald City ComiCon and my wife (Shelagh) and I joined them for dinner near their hotel. I gallantly (I thought) let Shelagh sit next to Noel while I sat across the table next to Larry. This proved to be a nearly great decision since Noel and Shelagh really hit it off.
Noel and Shelagh in Seattle after the Emerald City ComiCon 2009.
What kept it from being a truly great decision is that since I was sitting kitty corner across the table from Noel I had a lot of trouble hearing Noel because: 1) Noel’s very soft spoken; 2) the restaurant’s music was a little loud; and 3) I’m slightly hard of hearing; and 4) I was too shy to tell Noel that I couldn’t hear her.
Fortunately, I’d met Noel earlier this year and I was able to chat with her a couple of times later during the weekend. And talking with Larry during dinner was a real pleasure. Interesting guy: a mental health conference promoter and former bar bouncer. Now that’s not a combination you come across often.
While she’s best known for her stints as Lois Lane (TV and movies), Noel has appeared in about 100 movies with a zillion different stars; was a dancer popular pinup girl during WW II; sang with Bing Crosby’s band; and…oh, gosh, she’s just so darn cute.
Noel Neil and John Lustig at Comic Con International 2009.
At one point during dinner, Larry told me that he’s trying to get Noel to cut back on her public appearances. Noel’s 88 and she’s comfortably fixed enough so that she doesn’t have to depend on her convention income to live, according to Larry.
So I said to Noel, “So you’re mostly going to conventions for fun…not for the money?”
Noel’s eyes got big as if she’d just heard someone declare that the world was made of cream cheese. This time she spoke up so that even I could hear: “If you think that then you don’t know me very well.”
It totally cracked me up.
Gosh, I hope when I get to her age, I’m still having fans thrust money into my hands at conventions–and I’m as cute, funny and charming as Noel. That’d be super.
More about Noel Neill:
JIMMINY: Gosh, Miss Loon, FOLLOWING A KILLER INTO A HAUNTED HOUSE IS ALWAYS FUN! BUT WHAT IF it’s a trap?
LOIS: It better be! Nobody’s tied me up in days!
LOIS: Now Let’s go, Jimminy! And don’t forget...when
Snooperman rescues us…
LOIS: I’m the only one who gets to thank him with a kiss!
JIMMINY (thinks): ???