Panel from Little Lulu, Vol. 8: Late for School
As we all know, a proud tradition of hip-hop is calling out, as they say, those sucka MCs who front like they can spit mad rhymes but are just bustas trying to bite a line. But crackin’ on Superman? Now you’ve gone too far, gentlemen!
Actually, this is a crime so old it should be considered a cold case. My wife Sandy rediscovered it recently while listening to Pandora and 1979’s “Rapper’s Delight” started playing. For those of you not ancient enough to remember ancient history, the Sugarhill Gang put the first hip-hop single in the Top 40 when this fairly tame, exceptionally lengthy rap swept discos and pop stations across the country. The song was silly, fun and undeniably catchy. It also completely disses Superman about two-thirds of the way in when Big Bank Hank starts dropping bombs on the Man of Steel. (Wonder Mike and Master Gee seemed to wisely distance themselves from this madness.)
It starts off semi-innocently enough:
Because they say that miracles never cease
I’ve created a devastating masterpiece
I’m gonna rock the mic ’til you can’t resist
Everybody, I say it goes like this
Well I was comin’ home late one dark afternoon
A reporter stopped me for a interview
She said she’s heard stories and she’s heard fables
That I’m vicious on the mic and the turntables
This young reporter I did adore
So I rocked a vicious rhyme like I never did before
She said, Damn fly guy I’m in love with you
The Casanova legend must have been true
OK, OK, so far, so good. I’d like to hear more about this young reporter, though.
I said, By the way baby what’s your name
Said, I go by the name of Lois Lane
and you could be my boyfiend, you surely can
just let me quit my boyfriend called Superman
Whoa, whoa, whoa!! We all know Lois can be fickle, but c’mon! Well, at least we can be sure Hank backed off once he realized who he was messing with right?
I said, He’s a fairy I do suppose,
flyin’ through the air in pantyhose.
He may be very sexy or even cute,
But he looks like a sucker in a blue and red suit.
That’s just a cheap shot, right there. Man, his momma made that for him!
I said, You need a man who’s got finesse
and his whole name across his chest.
He may be able to fly all through the night
but can he rock a party ’til the early light?
He can’t satisfy you with his little worm,
But I can bust you out with my super-sperm.
What. The. Fu …
I go do it, I go do it, I go do it, do it , do it
and I’m here and I’m there, I’m Big Bang Hank, I’m everywhere.
Just throw your hands up in the air
and party hardy like you just don’t care.
Thank you, Mr. Big Bang Hank, because we don’t care for your slander, not one bit. I’m just glad there weren’t other groups from that era that tried to make Superman look a fool.
Oh, for Christ’s sake. Apparently Superman’s real weakness is cardboard and parachute pants.
Back in the early days of cable TV, there was suddenly a lot more bandwidth but not a whole lot to put on it. There wasn’t any original content yet – for that matter, there weren’t any dedicated cable channels. Basically what you got was a gigantic brown box with doorbell buttons on it, your usual local channels and one or two channels from another city.
Since no one was really programming for people who’d happily flip through channels all day, watching TV at any time that wasn’t prime time meant watching a lot of old stuff stations could rerun cheap. That’s how I wound up absorbing, like a little polyester-clad sponge, black-and-white Popeye cartoons, Abbott and Costello movies and Our Gang shorts.
And that was how I first came across Jackie Cooper.
I watched a hell of a lot of Little Rascals when I was a kid, and I’ll still watch it if I get the chance. Cooper was part of one of the earlier groups of kids featured in the Our Gang series, and co-stars in one of my favorite episodes, “Love Business.” Ooh, Chubbsy-Ubbsy, there’s gonna be something heavy on your nose! Needless to say, his squinty-eyed, no-nonsense kid showings made an impression.
You can imagine my surprise, sitting in the dark theater and excited OUT OF MY MIND as Superman spooled out onto the screen, when who should show up but some guy playing Perry White. Just some guy. But he’s like, perfect, and man, he looks familiar, where do I know him from ohmygodit’sthekidfromTheLittleRascals!
I was a kid myself and had a slippery grasp on the way aging works, so I was genuinely shocked at the thought that a kid from Our Gang was not only still alive, but shouting out “Kent!” and giving Jimmy Olsen a hard time. The shock didn’t last long, though, because Cooper’s acting was so spot-on that as far as I was concerned, that guy up there in the rumpled remains of a suit and the gleam of a newspaper-man in his eye WAS Perry White. Even today he’s my Perry White, and I will straight-up fight you if you say there has been a better Perry before or since.
For all these reasons, I was very sad to hear the news Jackie Cooper died Tuesday (May 3) at the age of 88. With him goes a career that spanned the earliest days of American cinema and which managed to endear him to generations of fans, including a kid who, years later, would still hear his voice every time he reads the name of his blog.
In spite of looking, I couldn’t find any decent Perry White clips from Superman — which is just criminal, man — but I did find that favorite Little Rascals episode I mentioned. Enjoy it, and maybe let out a “Great Caesar’s ghost” while you’re at it.
“Love Business,” part 1:
“Love Business,” part 2: