Rick Phillips I have always liked the character Jimmy Olsen. He was a favorite character of mine on The Adventures of Superman as played by Jack Larson. From all of Superman's supporting cast Jimmy was the closest to my age. So he was the eyes from which I viewed all of Superman's adventures.
The episodes of the TV show and the issues of any of the comic books that centered around Jimmy were my favorites. So is it any wonder that his own comic book series was a favorite of mine growing up? There were no action figures for supporting characters of comic book series back then like there are now. You might get Superman and any of his enemies but I never saw any of Jimmy, Lois or Perry. So to compensate for that I would (gasp!) take a pair of scissors and cut out the figures of the characters from the comic books and play with them. I know I may have lost alot of valuable comic books this way but I still had fun.
I suppose I liked Jimmy because I knew no one could ever be like Superman. I nor anyone I knew was ever going to be shot off to another planet and gain powers to fight crime there. However, Jimmy was a young man close to my age and he grew up to become a reporter who was always having an adventure. At that age that was what I wanted to be. Also, if there was someone who did become like Superman I could always be his friend just as Jimmy was Superman's pal. But I knew that would never happen.
Now I told you all of that to tell you a little bit about my Granddad. He was my Dad's Father and the only Grandfather I ever knew. My Mom's Dad died when she was a little girl so I never knew him. Now I know he loved me but he rarely did anything with me. He was from an older generation that didn't seem to think you needed to say I love you or give you a hug. You just had to instinctively know that they loved you. Also, I was the fourth of six grandchildren that he had so he may have been grandfathered out by the time I came along.
He and my Grandma would always let me read their books or play their records and watch TV but since my Dad and my Uncle George grew up their house was mostly made for adults. There was very little for a boy to play with. I was never one for sports but my Dad's old baseball bat was always hanging on a string out in the back part of the house. So I would take it and pretend I was a famous ball player and always hitting home runs.
I was always in search of a fun grandfather figure like I saw kids had on TV or in the comic books. I do have some good memories when his love for me came through. Like hunting easter eggs with my cousins in the yard or when grandma and grandad would come over for my birthday.
I remember one day while we were visiting my grandparents when I was tired of pretending to play baseball and asked Dad if he and Grandad would play with me. Dad jumped at the chance and Grandad came along too. They would pitch the ball to me and I would try to hit it back to them. A nice memory of three generations of men playing ball together. Maybe it wasn't as fun for them as I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn at that time. I remember once at a local amusement park he would ride some of the rides with me and my Dad. So while I had some good times with him and some good memories I never felt that Grandad understood me.
Then one day I over heard him and my Dad talking and he told my Dad that I always reminded him of Jimmy Olsen. That was the best thing he ever said about me. I suddenly realized that my Grandfather. My Pop (as he liked to be called) really did understand me. He has been gone for over 20 years I still am touched by those kind words. My Grandfather and Jimmy Olsen are forever intertwined together to me. It makes me smile to know that deep in his heart he loved me very much.
Ironically I chose to go into broadcasting after I got out of school. For a short time I worked in the news department for WHKK, a local radio station in my town that is now out of business, and I interned at WCPO in Cincinnati as a gofer in their news department. I didn't like the hours so I got out of the business but for a short while I really was like Jimmy Olsen.