Action-Plus: The Private Life of Clark Kent (August, 1977)
“One for the Money!”
Writer – Ben Toomey
Art – Kurt Schaffenberger
From: Action Comics #474
Of all the Bronze-Age backups, I’ve gotta say some of my favorites come from “The Private Life of Clark Kent”. They’re just so… I dunno… weird.
Just these stories that, if they were never told, you wouldn’t even miss ’em… but, it’s just so cool that they exist nonetheless. Just imagine Superman writing into his diary like the end of an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. or something. I gotta wonder if he signs off from his entries with “XOXO, Clark”.
Speaking of Doogie… I was digging through some old boxes in my garage a few months back, and came across something my friends and I worked wayyy too hard on back in high school. It’s the way to play the theme song to Doog’s show on your touch-tone phone! Give it a try, and lemme know!
For this peek into the always fun The Private Life of Clark Kent, Clark shares the diary-entry of a time he purchased a lotto ticket from his usual newsstand. His newsagent is a fella named Benny, who has a real knack for numbers… he immediately memorizes Clark’s numbers.
The next day as he goes to enter the Galaxy Building, Clark is bumped into by a frantic Benny! He tells Clark that they’re all sold out on The Daily Planet… which seems a bit far-fetched, but our man plays along.
Later on that day, Clark returns home. The doorman informs him that a he let a telephone repairman into his apartment to fix a street-wide outage. Clark, rightfully suspicious, heads inside. He peeks out his window and sees a man reading the latest edition of The Daily Planet… complete with the winning lotto numbers, his winning lotto numbers! Of course, this is Benny lurking outside… waiting for his opportunity to “cash in”. That bump at the Galaxy Building was no accident, ya see… and there was no telephone “outage” either!
Clark decides to give Benny just what he’s looking for… and “accidentally” bumps into him on the street. Benny fumbles in Clark’s pockets for what must’ve been minutes before procuring the winning ticket and rushing off to “cash in”. Clark gives a knowing look to the “camera” and makes a phone call to the Lottery Commission.
We join Benny as he tries to redeem the Million Dollar ticket… which, upon inspection is revealed to be counterfeit! Clark shows up and reveals that Benny’d been “had”… and also that he sent the winning ticket to the Metropolis Orphanage… just like he does every time he plays the lotto.
I’m always kinda tickled at the idea of Clark Kent keeping a handwritten diary. Especially in the pre-Crisis world where he kept that giant journaling… thing back at the Fortress of Solitude. Gotta wonder, is he keeping secrets from that diary?
The lotto story is as good as any… stakes are (relatively) low, and we get to see what an altruistic fella Clark Kent is. It’s funny though, we kinda “get it” because we know he’s really Superman… gotta wonder, what do the people of Metropolis think when they find out Clark Kent just gave away a million bucks? I mean, that’s a pretty big deal… and likely something that would come up a few more times, right?
Also, Clark’s an anchor of the evening news and local celebrity… this would almost have to be a major news item, right? Seems kinda, I dunno… dangerous… almost inviting people to dig into Clark Kent’s “story”. Adjusting for inflation that’s over four-million bucks in current-year monies… you gotta figure people would be interested in such a selfless act, right? Ehh, that’s probably just some of my patented “thinking too hard about old comics”.