Somewhere between ages 5 and 6, my mind seized upon a perfectly preposterous idea, which somehow has stuck with me for sixty years despite an utter lack of connections to the Real World as we know it.

We begin with a Wikipedia passage:

The Invisible Man (later known as H.G. Wells' Invisible Man) is a British black-and-white science fiction/adventure/espionage television series that aired on ITV from September 1958 to July 1959. It was aired on CBS in the United States, running two seasons and totalling 26 half-hour episodes. The series was nominally based on the novel by H. G. Wells, one of four such television series. In this version, the deviation from the novel went as far as changing the main character's name from Dr. Griffin to Dr. Peter Brady who remained a sane man, not a power-hungry lunatic as in the book or the 1933 film adaptation. None of the other characters from the novel appeared in the series.

I remember very little of those 13 hours of film: no particular scene comes to mind when I think about it. What I remember best, in fact, was a night when the show didn't air at all, and the voiceover guy at Channel 10 intoned, "Because of the following special program, The Invisible Man will not be seen tonight." To this day, that makes me grin, or worse.

This particular, um, interest was not something I could talk about, lest I appear to be even sillier than I already was, although by the time I made it to the beginning third grade, I'd introduced the topic to one of those scary Older Women (I was seven, she was eight). In retrospect, this may have been a mistake: she didn't respond a whole lot at first, but as time wore on, she developed some stealth techniques, by which she would sneak up on me and scare the bodily fluids out of me. I think she was less excited by the subject than by the possibility that she could use it to torment me. The downside for her, perhaps, was that the more she intimidated me, the more closely I felt drawn to her.

We're talking 1961 here. And 1961 was the year merry Marvel foisted off on us Quite 'Nuff Sayers a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby title called Fantastic Four, in which every one of the Four, after exposure to some cosmic rays or something, developed a super-power of sorts. And damn their overinked hides, one of them was a cute blonde who could make herself disappear.

Eventually Marvel figured out that this wasn't much of a power, compared to what her comrades could do, and she wound up with both static and moving force fields. The one downside to the comic, apart from this Basic Inequaliy, is that Marvel apparently figured we were too dumb to know when Sue Storm was in the frame, and so they outlined her location with dashed lines.

It would be several years more before the glandular secretions kicked in and fantasy fare became something sort of physical. By now I've seen almost every story of this sort on the planet, and each adds a different nuance to the realm of possibility. It even shows up in commercials:

I spent too long wondering how long Brian spent courting this young lady. The two children seem to have been the sort of hybrid one might expect, though I have to wonder how long it will take before one of the boys discovers that his potential for creating havoc increases markedly when he strips off his garments. (And will Dad, who's been there and presumably done that, be appropriately understanding?)

And if I'd been wondering if the concept could be simultaneously exciting and relaxing, the answer, it appears, is Yes.

Although at 65, I have no business fixating on sixteen-year-old girls. Even if they don't, um, look it.

The Vent

  24 June 2019

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