Sunday, April 19, 2009

Confessions of a Superhero

Is Sandy Dennis Superman's Mother? Was Batman A Wiseguy? Is The Hulk A Panhandler? These questions are among the concepts explored in Confessions of a Superhero. The Superheroes in question here are not the ones from the "Hall of Justice." These are the men and women who make their living along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, posing with tourists for tips.

Confessions of a Superhero gives a voice to several of the characters that are found near Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Having recently visited Hollywood, it was interesting to see a documentary chronicling the lives and struggles of the people behind the characters that crowded the sidewalk's near my hotel, seeking tips from tourists in exchange for a photograph. My recollection of the characters was that most of them did not look anything like the character they were portraying with a few exceptions.

The characters selected for this documentary were a fairly good sampling of the characters I recall seeing. Superman was a fairly close look-alike, although physically unimposing. Wonderwoman might have been better "cast" as Xena Warrior Princess. The Hulk deoes not look like any character and does well to hide inside a suit. Batman looks more like George Clooney (and act more like George Loony) than Adam West, Christian Bale, Val Kilmer or Michael Keaton. The brief cameo by Marilyn Monroe reminded me of what Marilyn might have looked like as an aging screen star. The examination of these characters was done in true documentary judgments...simply an examination of the subject matter.

Superman has a name. It is not Kal-El. It is not Clark Kent. Superman's true name is Christopher Dennis...or is it? Christopher Dennis is the gentleman of Hollywood Boulevard. He holds himself to a high standard, abstaining from smoking or aggressive behavior when interacting with the public. HIS public. Chris has a gentle way that makes him endearing. Chris appears to be obsessed with everything Superman, rattling off statistics and trivia with little effort. His apartment appears to be a shrine to the man of steel, covered floor to ceiling in Superman memorabilia. Chris's claims to being the son of Sandy Dennis are rebuffed by her family in a somewhat subtle way. In spite of that single issue, Chris seems a passionate and likable guy. His best line described his constant appearance in magazines and television..

"I have found the fame, but not the fortune."

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