Bob Flicker







I Would Never Tell Her She Threw Away $3,200,000

(Even If I Could)


         I suppose it would be best to start at the beginning, especially in this case. It began sometimes in 1938. I was ten years old and my brother Teddy was a year and a half younger.  Saturday afternoons starting at around 1:30 our ritual would begin.


         There were two movie theaters in our town, the Strand and the Liberty. Each would have a Saturday afternoon double feature for kids that would also include a cartoon, news of the world, a weekly episode or chapter (as we called it) that would always have a “cliff hanger” in which the hero or heroine would be left in in dire straights at the end only to be saved in the following week’s chapter and, last but not least, previews of coming attractions. All for ten cents. Talk about bargains.




         How could they do that to us? Us being Teddy and myself and all the other kids, not that we gave much thought to all the other kids. Which movie theater would we go to? Which chapter would we miss? How would we know how our hero (They were mostly heroes) survived driving off the cliff or crashing in his airplane if we went to one movie house and not the other? Which pictures should we see? A final choice would always be made at the very last minute, not without some pangs of regret for feeling we might have made the wrong choice.





         We were each given a quarter before we set off for Main Street and the movie theaters. This is how it worked. Teddy would buy a (to-construct) model airplane for ten cents and I would buy a comic book for ten cents every Saturday on the way to the movies. We each bought a candy bar for five cents that was supposed to last us through the double features. We usually finished them before the pictures began. The remaining ten cents was for admission.

         There were two, new comic book characters I was particularly drawn to, Captain Marvel and Superman. Captain Marvel was my favorite of the two. There was the boy, Billy Batson, who would call out SHAZAM and become Captain Marvel. How cool was that? (Except we didn’t say cool in those days.)


         I was a saver. I would read through each new comic book a number of times during the week and store it away in a cardboard box when I bought a new one on the following Saturday. Among my collection of comic books was one in particular, the FIRST SUPERMAN COMIC BOOK.




An almost pristine copy of the first Superman comic

book was auctioned on eBay for over $3.2 million dollars.




         Was my copy of the first Superman comic book in almost pristine condition? Probably not. My recollection is that it would probably have been in pretty good condition. (It really doesn’t matter, does it?)


         I recall hearing that a first edition of a Superman comic book was found inside of a plastered wall in terrible condition. It sold for, as I understand, $600,000. (Just spinning my wheels.)



         I married early and moved out of my parents’ home to an apartment. My boxes of comic books, including the first Superman comic book, were stored in the cellar of their house.


         My mother was a very neat and orderly woman. At some point in time, long before that eBay auction, she decided to “clean out” the cellar. That cleaning out included boxes filled with my collection of comic books including that very first Superman comic.


         I could never tell my mom she threw away $3,2000,000 because, in all honesty the auction took place many years after she cleaned out the cellar and was no longer living. However—there is always a however—that first superman comic book would probably have brought fifty to one hundred thousand dollars at the time the trash collector hauled it and the rest of my comic book collection away.


         My mom died a number of years ago at the age of 92. As for trashing that first Superman comic book and losing the tens of thousands of dollars it might have brought—the memory of that possibility, assuming she had learned of it—would have been long forgotten, replaced by her more day-to-day family involvements.


          If you had been her guest she would probably be laughing and wearing those funky glasses you see in her picture. She would, no doubt, be saying to you, “Have another chocolate-chip cookie.”



Bob Flicker





         If Mom offered you a cookie, you would have had to inspect it carefully. She always, without fail, burned every first batch she baked.

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 © robert 2014