Flash vs. the Measles: The Show Must Go On!

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.

Flash Comics #39 Page 10

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.)

Flash Comics #39 Page 11

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.

Flash Comics #39 Page 12

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.

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