Superman collector on Route 66 - KOAM TV 7

Superman collector on Route 66


Along Route 66 in Carterville, MO sits a tiny building on Main Street showcasing the history of Superman.

Larry Tamminen has collected the memorabilia for more than 30 years.

He now displays most of that collection at his museum and ice cream shop.

"I knew they made Superman ice cream, but I never saw it," said Tamminen, "and so I said, 'If I could just get that ice cream to Carterville, you know, you gotta have something besides the collection.' The ice cream was a real neat thing to have beside the collection, as a kicker, and the kids love it."

From ice cream to Superman, Tamminen has one more love - keeping the mother road alive.

"People right now are finding out, I'm talking about Joplin, Carthage, Webb City, that Route 66 is a place of destination for people, and it wasn't in the early 50's," said Tamminen.

Route 66 is a place of destination for people like Railton and Anne Hill - traveling all the way from Melbourne, Australia to hit the "Main Street of America" for a stop on Main Street in Carterville.

"I read about it in one of the booklets, and we saw it and said 'Hey, it's time for an ice cream,'" said Hill. "It's the history of the road. It's the knowledge of the, uh, you know depression era and how the people moved westward."

Just like the history of Route 66, there's history behind every item in Tamminen's shop.

With the hype of action-packed superhero movies from Hollywood, the market for memorabilia also turns the page for comic book retailers.

The owner of Hurley's Heroes Comics & Games in Joplin sees it firsthand.

"I see some extra foot traffic from people that get interested in that property specifically at least," said owner Jason Hurley.

That property is always changing.

"They've changed Superman so many times it's ridiculous. In the 90's, they killed him, and then for a while, in the early 2000's, he was two different people. There was a red Superman and a blue Superman, and they were both made out of electricity," said Hurley.

"It's a fun hobby. It never gets old. I still collect," said Tamminen.

"Truth, justice and the American way. Everybody wants that," said Hurley.

The Superman museum and ice cream shop, SuperTam on 66, is located at 221 W. Main St., Carterville, MO 64835. It's open Tuesday through Friday 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM and Saturday through Sunday 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM.

Hurley's Heroes Comics & Games is located at 824 S. Main St., Joplin, MO 64801 and is open Tuesday through Saturday 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

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