Jimmy Olsen

In the past few days, Smallville re-runs have come to the point where the character Jimmy Olsen has become significant. From the Wikipedia entry on the character:

Jimmy is traditionally depicted as a bow tie-wearing, red-haired young man who works as a cub reporter and photographer for The Daily Planet, alongside Lois Lane and Clark Kent, whom he idolizes as career role models.

Jimmy Olsen, from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #36 (1959); art by Curt Swan:


Jimmy is enthusiastic, sunny, and rather naive — a good foil to the many characters who have their dark sides and their secrets.

More from Wikipedia:

In most depictions of the character, he also has a strong friendship with Superman. As Superman’s friend, Jimmy has special access to the Man of Steel, thanks to Superman’s gift to Jimmy of a “signal watch,” a wristwatch which, with the press of a button, emits a special ultrasonic frequency signal that Superman can hear anywhere on Earth. … In many Silver Age comic books, Jimmy was often seen sharing adventures with Superman, who saved him from various predicaments ranging from dangerous to merely embarrassing. This was particularly pronounced in the series Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (published from 1954 to 1974), which saw Olsen in a variety of slapstick adventures and strange transformations. Like most DC characters, modern portrayals of Olsen have been more serious in tone.

An important part of the Superman mythos, Jimmy Olsen has appeared in most other media adaptations of the character.

Background on the Golden Age, from the Wikipedia entry on the publication history of Superman:

As shown in the original Golden Age comics — including Action Comics #1 (1938), Superman (Vol. 1) #1 (1939), and Superman (Vol. 1) #61 (1949), as well as in later stories such as Secret Origins (Vol. 2) #1 (1986) — noted scientist Jor-L discovers that Krypton is about to explode, yet he cannot convince his fellow Kryptonians to save themselves. However, he manages to construct a spaceship to save his infant son, Kal-L. The ship launches just as the planet explodes, with Kal-L landing on Earth in a farm country town (later identified as Smallville) around the time of World War I. In this version, John and Mary Kent (passing motorists who witness the spaceship landing) take the infant to an orphanage and soon return to adopt the child, naming him Clark. In his 1942 novel, George Lowther changes the names Jor-L, Kal-L and Lora (Superman’s birth mother) to the more modern Jor-El and Lara. According to an interview with Joe Shuster shortly before his death, the name “Clark Kent” was chosen as a combination of the names of two movie stars, Clark Gable and Kent Taylor.

In this account, the Silver Age begins in the mid-1950s.

The Superman story has been told in many different ways in many different media. On this blog, I’ve surveyed the 16 actors who have portrayed the superhero onscreen, focusing on 7 of them.

As for Jimmy Olsen, from the Wikipedia entry for him:

The DVD box set for the seventh season of Smallville includes a featurette entitled Jimmy on Jimmy. Approximately 22 minutes in length, Jimmy on Jimmy is a roundtable discussion featuring four of the six surviving actors who have portrayed Jimmy Olsen in live action: Jack Larson (Adventures of Superman), Marc McClure (Superman film series, Supergirl), Sam Huntington (Superman Returns), and Aaron Ashmore (Smallville). Michael Landes and Justin Whalin (both from Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) do not participate.

Here’s Aaron Ashmore, in character:


About the actor:

Aaron Richard Ashmore (born October 7, 1979) is a Canadian film and television actor, perhaps best known for his roles in American TV shows, as Jimmy Olsen in Smallville and as Steve Jinks in Warehouse 13. He is the twin brother of actor Shawn Ashmore.

He also played the recurring role of Troy Vandegraff on The WB television series Veronica Mars.

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