INVINCIBLE MAN

1947

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight's feature will be an interview with the so-called "Invincible Man", who stopped an armed robbery of a local bank yesterday afternoon. And after that, given we still have the time, we'll talk about sports and news regarding the mounting tensions with the Soviets.

The Invincible Man, legally Robert Raines, is twenty-seven years old, and a born-and-raised New Yorker just like me. A group of men yesterday afternoon stormed the bank by Chelsea Park and threatened the tellers with submachine guns. Robert was inside the bank at the time and when the criminals demanded the customers throw themselves down on the floor Robert defied. What followed was a spectacular account we've still been piecing all together. But Robert was certainly shot with no fewer than twenty rounds, but appeared to repel the bullets. And here you can see him with me today, totally unharmed!

Tell me, Robert, what drove you to do it?

"Well, Mr. Upton, I saw those thugs and saw all the people and couldn't stand to see it all happening. I didn't know the guns wouldn't hurt me, but I knew that someone had to do something."

I think you did a spectacular job. And, please, you can call me John. How are you liking all this attention, from news and from the thankful people and their families, who were in the bank with you?

"Oh, it's brilliant. I'm so glad I made a difference. Not all of the attention is good, though! You should see the science folks, begging me for even a piece of hair! And the military, too. Those ruffians just can't seem to leave me be!"

Here's the shirt Robert was wearing at the time. Would you look at all the bullet holes!

Say, Robert, what do you think of the War? And what do you think we should do about the Soviets?

"I didn't like the war, and the service was terrifying even though I never saw any real action, but I guess it was something we needed to do. What if we let those Nazis take over Europe? And I think we should leave the Soviets be as long as they don't make any serious threats against anyone."

I think everyone is very interested in why you're invincible, maybe we can use it in the medical field. Why do you think you're this way? And how has it benefitted you before?

"Well, Mr. Upton - sorry, John - I don't know why I am. I guess God just gave me some extra blessing. I didn't even know about it before yesterday! But I don't remember ever getting sick or badly hurt, so I guess that's good. I really hope the good doctors can use my blessing to help other people."

Now that you know this about yourself, this blessing of yours, what do you plan to do with it?

"I don't really know yet. I always really admired the characters in those comic books, especially Superman. I think I might use it to help law enforcement. I think I could make it so many of our good police officers won't need to risk their lives."

Spectacular! And I know there's nothing quite worth fighting for like the affections of a pretty lady. Is there anyone that you've got your eyes set on?

"Oh, well..."

Don't be shy, Robert!

"There's this one gal, her name is Jenny. We've been going to movies and lunches together for a little while, and..."

Do you hear that, Jenny? What a man you've caught!

There's only enough time left in the program to ask you one more question, Robert. Who will you be voting for in the coming election?

"Well, I got to shake Dewey's hand - why, earlier today. He seemed pretty swell. He assured me that he'd do all he could to make sure the government treated me fairly if I elected him."

Ladies and gentlemen, the Invincible Man!

1990

Every few decades the world is introduced to a brilliant man. The 1640s gave us Isaac Newton. The 1870s Albert Einstein. And the 1920s gave us Robert Raines. He took New York by storm when he donned a colorful suit and became the great enemy of crime. The famed Invincible Man! In this short documentary we'll be exploring his history and where he is today.

Robert Raines was born the second child to a working family in May of 1920. His father, Will Raines, worked in construction. His mother, Louise, stayed at home and raised him and his sister. He attended school with his sister and excelled in mathematics. He would go on to be an office worker for a small construction contractor until his uneventful service in the Second World War, and briefly afterwards.

"My brother was a pretty average boy, I guess. He played with the other boys in the street and got into trouble just like any kid. I suppose he always seemed a little different, though, and I just never noticed. When he fell or got hit playing sports he never complained or cried like we would have expected. We just thought he was a little more tough than most."

On July 7th, 1947, Robert Raines discovered his invincibility when he stopped a group of armed criminals from robbing a bank. Holly Richardson was one of the tellers that day.

"I remember when one of those crooks leveled one of their guns at my face. Great big machine guns, they had! 'Let us into the vault!' Some of the goon's spit landed on my eyebrow. I was just about to obey when the Invincible Man appeared and started telling them to stop. They just thought it was amusing and started firing at him. And it didn't hurt him! You should've seen the looks on their faces! They ran away quick as their legs could carry them."

Robert Raines assumed the name "Invincible Man" and in the following years cooperated with New York law enforcement to bring dangerous criminals to justice. He earned renown nationwide for his feats of incredible bravery. In 1949, Robert was singlehandedly responsible for the downfall of Los Diablos, a powerful and violent criminal organization centered in Brooklyn.

Robert married his sweetheart from before his heroics, Jenny Hart, in February of 1950. Jenny Hart, daughter of Lucy and Matthew Hart, was a straight-A student and worked as a waitress until she began staying at home after marrying Robert. She left Robert for another man in 1965. She told the press that "it was too much to grow old while he stayed so young". She found her skin sagging while Robert had not appeared to age a single day. Jenny died from cancer at forty-nine years old, in 1986.

"I told her not to marry him, but my daughter never liked to listen. I warned her that every second of her life would be scrutinized by the press and that she'd always be worried for Robert. After she married him about a year passed that she was happy before the phone calls started coming. At least once a week she'd bawl on the phone to me about what a mistake she made, and that she didn't know what to do, and didn't want to break his heart. I sympathized, but don't you know, I told her just so!"

A certain spark seemed to evade Robert after his divorce in 1965. He forsook his hometown for a position with the military. He was utilized in the Vietnam War, penetrating some of the most dangerous enemy locations and dispersing them in preparation for armed forces to swoop in and take control. The war officially ended in retreat in 1976 and the Invincible Man returned to America a hero despite the ultimate fruitlessness of the war effort.

What Robert returned to was not the America he remembered. New York's criminal organizations had subsided and narcotics distributors had risen. How does one man, even one so exceptional, impact such a decentralized system? Petty crime had reached a record low and theives had come to favor the pen more than the gun. Robert retired in 1981.

Today Robert accepts a persisting salary from the United States military so that if his aid is ever needed he'll accept straightaway. He also receives compensation from a multitude of medical and academic organizations for allowing them to study his physique. He still has the occasional visitor, most of them people who saw honorable purpose in his enforcement of justice in earlier years.

We were lucky enough to get a few minutes with this incredible man.

"It was fun while it lasted, I guess. The 1950s, those were the good old days. I strangled mad criminals with my own two hands! It was the most satisfying experience I knew. And then everything started to go downhill... Jenny, bless her, left me. I saw more death than I know how to sleep with in Vietnam. And now it seems there's nothing for me to do. Before long there might be people being checked out by the Invincible Man in their grocery store, if everything keeps going as it has."

The Invincible Man, once so great, has found stagnation. What will the future hold? What will scientists discover from studying him? We ask these questions and many more.

2024

Hello! I'm the Anthro-Museum Audio Guide. You can call me Amag! Today I'll be guiding you through the New York Anthro-Museum, a collection of exhibits portraying the lives of important people from throughout our human history.

We begin our tour with one of the most important men to have ever lived: Robert Raines. Commonly known as the "Invincible Man", Robert Raines was born with a unique physiogenetic makeup which provided him with fantastic bodily integrity, an unparalleled immune system, and biological immortality. He's still alive today, and over one hundred years old! He was born in 1920, fought local crime as a sort of superhero in the 1950s, participated in the Vietnam War, and retired to a peaceful life in 1981.

Genetic engineering has allowed us to bestow forty-six percent of American infants born since 2003 with the same properties which lend Robert Raines his invincibility. And the proportion of infants born that we're able to give this gift to increases each year!

The Mortalists continue to oppose the application of this wonderful technology. They quote Robert Raines himself: "Long life is a curse. This world grows so old while you stay so young." Lifers claim that much of Raines' distress was a result of his uniqueness, that even though he didn't age or die everyone around him did. The Invincible Man has never commented except at the unveiling of the technological feat in 2002. He reportedly said, "What a laugh God has today that men should suffer forever." What do you think?

Let's move to the next exhibit.

Written by Sophie Kirschner