From Batman and Robin doing an homage to the Beatles to the Legion of Super-Heroes paying tribute to famed Superman artist Curt Swan, DC Comics has a strange history of their characters interacting with the real world. The one that really takes the cake, though, was when Plastic Man attended the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
Unearthed by The Star Wars Show writer and producer Scott Bromley and posted to his Twitter account, the video shows actor Mark Taylor dressed up as the character, checking on security for the convention and keeping an eye out for any supervillains that may attack. When everything seems alright, Plastic Man tells viewers that he's off to Dallas to check on the other convention. Taylor played the Pliable Paladin in the live-action bumpers for The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show, which aired on ABC from 1979 until 1981.
Remember when the guy who played the live-action Plastic Man during the bumpers for The Plastic Man Comedy Adventure Hour cartoon thought 3-8 year olds would LOVE political bits at the DNC in 1980? https://t.co/N6nzJ6Szkp— Scott Bromley (@Scott_Bromley) August 29, 2018
So, how did Plastic Man of all characters get chosen to be the superhero representative of the convention instead of a bigger name character like Batman or Wonder Woman? Taylor explain how the strange piece of media came to be in a 2011 interview with author Mac Tyler Nobleman for his blog, Noblemania.
According to Taylor, Plastic Man visiting the DNC was part of an attempt to revive the living newspaper theatrical movement from the 1930s. The project saw stage actors come together to deliver the news of the day as if they were on the radio. With the help of his friend Jeff Watchel (who is now the president of NBCUniversal International Studios), Taylor and a cameraman set their sights on the DNC.
"[Watchel] applied for the credentials again and got them," said Taylor. "I had the character and outfit and he had the camera so [we said] let’s just do this ambush on the DNC and see if we can make something fun. I think Steve Whiting got the equipment. We had only two media credentials at a time so we had to swap off. Jeff lugged around 70 pounds of equipment and he’s not a big guy. Created this guerrilla piece mostly for the fun of it."
So, while this was nothing more than lighthearted fun, it was still one of the oddest examples of a DC character interacting with the real world. But then again, this is Plastic Man, and silliness is his specialty.