As someone who grew up after the measles vaccine, I tended to think of it as not a big deal, just one of those childhood diseases that previous generations had to deal with. So back in the mid-2000s when I was tracking down every Golden Age Flash story I could find, I was surprised to see that Flash Comics #39 treated it as serious business (which, of course, it is).
In “Play of the Year” (March 1943), a theater producer sabotages a rival’s production by faking a measles outbreak among the cast. The boarding house where they’re all staying is immediately quarantined.
Of course, this is a Jay Garrick Flash story, so there’s a madcap solution: the Flash will perform every part in the play at once! (This was a recurring motif in the series, including stories where he played every position on a baseball team and replaced an entire hockey team.)
Now, I’ve seen some quick-change stage plays (The Mystery of Irma Vep comes to mind), but of course the Flash takes it to a whole new level. Even so, it doesn’t go quite as he planned.
In the end, the rival producer’s fraud is uncovered, the quarantine is lifted, and the play turns out to be a hit — as a comedy!
“Play of the Year” was written by the legendary Gardner Fox. The title page lists E.E. Hibbard, but GCD credits Lou Ferstadt on art.