Even though I'm a huge fan of Disney's The Rocketeer, I admit to never having read the book, until now. David Stevens created The Rocketeer, an adventure story set in a pulp-fiction style 1930s, about a down-on-his-luck pilot named Cliff Secord who finds a mysterious rocket pack - the Cirrus X-3.
We've noted the Grail signifier in the story, the "twin-towers" of the rocket pack, the divine feminine or 'anima' represented by his girlfriend Betty, modeled after 50's pin-up girl Betty Page. Cliff, being a daredevil type, is a cliff diver, or a Fool, the soul stepping off the precipice into egoic incarnation.
Cliff, like Captain America, is always fighting Nazis, or "not sees" as Jake Kotze calls them. The "Not Sees" who cannot see the walls of Plato's Cave - we are completely taken in by the illusion, cinema, chimera. Which brings me to Cliff's Big New York Adventure, where Cliff finally meets the Magician - face to face.
Throughout the series, Cliff is haunted by shadowy types who seem to always be one step ahead of him, and they are not necessarily antagonists in the classic sense, but more like mysterious strangers, or perhaps "men in black". It reminds me of Mark Twain's No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger... in earlier versions of the book he named the character Satan.
Stevens uses a "sharp dressed man" as the short hand for the Magician, or Satan, most often in a tux. The names may change but the character remains the same. We see Howard Hughes, Jonas, and Orsino all playing the same role, and even Cliff dons the tux from time to time.
|Care for a light?|
In the final act, all is revealed. As a teenager, Cliff had worked the carny circuit, an assistant to "The Great Arsino". Every day he was in his usual spot, locked in a trunk under twelve feet of water, waiting for Orsino to spring him. Lothar would hold up his hour-glass, letting the crowd know how much time he had left. But Orsino (playing Harry Houdini, another double H) always got that trunk open. The crowd ate it up.
And that night was the night that Lothar, or Saturn, the Grim Reaper, became his dread enemy. Like Lothar, we're just not buying it, anymore.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God ~Romans 3:23
Like Adam after biting the big apple, Cliff is cast out of the Garden, or the Carny. He wanders to and fro in confusion, but against all odds, he finds a rocket pack. And he carries that rocket pack in a sack wherever he goes. I will leave it to the initiates to discover what is inside the "back pack" of the Fool.
Watch your step.