Since it is Father's Day, I thought I would dip into the back issue box again for a sweet Silver Age tale involving both Supergirl's fathers - Zor-El and Fred Danvers.
The opening story in Adventure Comics #389 was 'The Mystery Magician'. The artwork is clearly the work of Win Mortimer. In some places, Robert Kanigher is listed as the writer.
The story opens in a way that captures the wonder and grace of that period's Supergirl. First she saves the lives of some astronauts whose Mercury rocket boosters don't fire. Then as she returns to the ground level, she sees some sad kids and uses her powers to fix their bicycles. Problems big and small were all worthy of her attention. And that all happens within the first 2 pages!
Back at Stanhope University, the professor tells the co-eds that their assignment is to celebrate Father's Day by writing about their fathers and making him a present. Seems more like an assignment for elementary school but the Silver Age was a simpler time.
The students all reminisce about their fathers.
Linda thinks about both her fathers. First there is a quick recap of her origin and the ultimate fate of Zor-El, rescued from the Survival Zone and living in the bottled city of Kandor.
Obviously Linda Danvers can't write about Zor-El so instead writes about her adopted father Fred Danvers.
A fellow student named Harriet says her father is the retired magician Malcolm The Mysterious. Unfortunately he has slipped into a deep depression and hasn't performed in 10 years since his wife and stage assistant, Harriet's mother, passed away. He even refuses to come to the campus on Father's Day.
Linda feels for Harriet and decides to help out.
In a move that is a bit over the top and maybe even a bit creepy, Kara uses super-ventriloquism to have a poster of Harriet's mother speak to her father, convincing him to go to Stanhope and perform for the Father's Day party.
Ahhh ... super-ventriloquism. It is one of my favorite silly super-powers.
At the Father's Day celebration, all the dads show up to receive their presents. Linda presents Fred with a hydroelectric dam made out of toothpicks. Awwww ....
Amazingly, Malcolm The Mysterious shows up and receives his gift ... a new magic wand. He gets on stage and begins his first performance. But he hasn't done the act in 10 years and is about to royally flop when Supergirl decides to step in as Linda Danvers. She helps with a few tricks by stealthily using her super-powers ... like this one where she levitates.
Alas, there are always mean-spirited people in the world. A student named Vera, who has been belittling Harriet throughout the story, runs to the stage and says Linda is floating because she is actually Supergirl.
Interestingly enough, Vera seems more interested in seeing Malcolm fail than she is in proving Linda is Supergirl. She decides that the best way to prove Malcolm was getting super-assistance from Linda is to lock her in a lead-lined room and have him proceed with his act. Fearing her secret identity will be revealed, Linda acquiesces.
Despite Linda remaining locked up, Malcolm is able to perform two of his more difficult tricks - escaping from chains and bouncing a hundred pound metal ball.
Vera runs back to the basement she has locked Linda in only to discover Linda hasn't budged.
Realizing that "Linda can't be Supergirl", the two return to the show to see the show's ending. Linda is thrilled to see Malcolm's confidence return. He will be able to do his shows without her assistance from now on.
Does that mean that Malcolm was able to escape the chains and bounce the ball by himself?
No, it doesn't.
When she was being locked in the basement she sent a message to Zor-El using her super-ventriloquism again! Who knew that was such a handy power. And like a good dad, he runs to help out his daughter.
Indeed, it was Zor-El who unlocked the chains padlock and helped bounce the ball.