Professor Phineas Potter

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Professor Potter

A brilliant, albeit somewhat eccentric, inventor and friend of Superman who is forever creating bizarre devices which, while admittedly ingenious, often fail to perform any truly useful function, an example being his machine, invented in April 1965, whose only claim to practicality is that it "can squeeze 2,000 gallons of onion juice in an hour" (S No. 176/3: "Superman's Day of Truth!"). Professor Potter is Lana Lang's uncle (Act No. 313, Jun 1964: "The End of Clark Kent's Secret Identity!").

In October 1961, after an overzealous agent for the Internal Revenue Service has declared Superman delinquent in his income taxes in the amount of $1,000,000,000, Superman uses "a special growth serum" developed by Professor Potter to stimulate the world's biggest oyster into producing the world's largest pearl in an effort to accumulate part of the money he needs (S No. 148/3: "Superman Owes a Billion Dollars!"). (See Rupert Brand.)

In April 1963, after exposure to Red Kryptonite has temporarily robbed Superman of his invulnerability and super-powers, Professor Potter feeds the relevant data into his new "electronic computer" and correctly informs the Man of Steel that the antidote for the variety of red kryptonite that has affected him on this particular occasion consists of large doses of ascorbic, citric, and acetic acid (S No. 160/1: pts. I-II- "The Mortal Superman!"; "The Cage of Doom!").

When Metropolis television station WMET-TV inaugurates its new "Our American Heroes" series with a program honoring Superman, "our greatest American hero," Lois Lane and Lana Lang attempt to penetrate the secret of Superman's dual identity with the aid of an electronic device they have borrowed from Professor Potter (Act No. 309, Feb 1964: "The Superman Super-Spectacular!").

In May 1964 Professor Potter helps Jimmy Olsen and Robin carry out an elaborate ruse designed to trick Superman and Batman into believing that their two young friends are dead (WF No. 141: "The Olsen-Robin Team versus The Superman-Batman Team!").

In August 1964, after the ruthless "interplanetary gamblers" Rokk and Sorban have threatened to destroy the Earth unless Superman agrees to commit a wanton murder, Lana Lang sneaks into Professor Potter's laboratory and attempts to commit suicide thereby means of one of Professor Potter's many failed inventions, an "experimental machine for suspended animation" which, instead of performing its intended function, "merely turns people into lifeless crystal"—so that Superman can claim he killed her and thereby avert the threat to Earth. Superman rescues Lana in the nick of time, however, and ultimately resolves the agonizing dilemma posed by the aliens by pretending to murder his alter ego, Clark Kent (S No. 171/1: "Superman's Sacrifice!").

In April 1965, when Superman commemorates the Day of Truth, a Kryptonian holiday (see Krypton), by speaking "nothing but the truth" to the people he encounters, Professor Potter is one of several people who are shocked by the Man of Steel's uncharacteristic bluntness. "As usual," remarks Superman after having viewed the professor's latest useless device, "your invention is a miserable flop!" (S No. 176/3: "Superman's Day of Truth!"). In that same month and year, Jimmy uses a teleportation device invented by Professor Potter to bring Titano and the Flame Dragon to Earth for the filming of a new giant monster movie. When the two enormous creatures begin running wild while fighting each other, Jimmy is forced to use the device to send them back where they came from (SPJO No. 84/1, Apr 1965: "Jimmy Olsen's Monster Movie").

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