Featuring the first 6 episodes of the Adventures of Superman. Plus extra background from Keith, as gleaned from the web, and other sources.
- 1940-02-12 The Baby From Krypton.
- As a planet self destructs, nobody blieves the danger is real. Except for one scientist who only has time to save his infant son in the prototype rocket he made.
- 1940-02-14 Clark Kent, Mild-Mannered Reporter.
- A rocket lands, and a man emerges, full grown. Rescuing a man and his son, Clark Kent is born, and he goes to become a reporter at a great metropolitan newspaper to observe humanity.
- 1940-02-16 Keno’s Landslide.
- Given his first assignment, Clark Kent ensures the man of steel is conveniently handy as evil master minds set out to sabotage humanity.
- 1940-02-19 Clark Kent-Captured By The Wolf.
- Downplaying his full capacity as a hero, Clark allows his mild mannered identity to mislead the criminals so he can get a closer look at the operation.
- 1940-02-21 Clark Kent-Imprisoned.
- Sightings of a flying man in a blue suit and cloak seem fabulous. Still held captive, Clark isn’t giving any clues that he knows anything about it, but is ready to spring into action the moment he gets the chance.
- 1940-02-23 Menace To The Silver Clipper.
- The safety of the train, the Silver Clipper, is ensured, giving Superman the chance to exercise his strength, speed, and ingenuity. The man of steel’s presence is getting harder to deny, but there’s more in the next thrilling episodes as this chapter ends, and another begins with Superman on the heals of the villains.
Besides Keith’s long winded introduction, there are tracks in between the episodes from a radio interview in 1966. What Ever Became of Clark Kent and Lois Lane? Here it right from the actors who created the roles, and were linked to them for so long. Bud Collier and Joan Alexander defined the characters for all others to follow. They also share some of their personal lives, and acting experiences.
Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, starting as a science fiction, fantasy story, the characters of Sampson and Hercules were combined to be a bad guy. Rethinking the character to put those super powers to work as a hero instead, a comic book story was developed, and the costumed character was born to put his powers to use for good.
Nobody bought it, or thought it would be a good idea, but once a comic book publisher picked it up, for Action Comic 1, where Superman made an appearance in 1938, sales doubled for the publisher in nine months. Soon, millions of comics were sold. Newspapers began picking it up and in two years well over 200 had the strip syndicated, and it was poised to hit the radio airwaves in a big way. .
Still in comic form, Superman was outspoken about the growing war in Europe, and against the Nazi’s. Hitler didn’t like the portrayal of Superman defeating German soldiers. He branded the man of steel a Jew. The German dictator went as far as to threatened to kill every comic book writer.
The 2 Jewish teenagers built the mild mannered, Clark Kent alter ego on themselves. It was the way the hero could interface with the public and observe the human race in a candid way. Plus it gave the hero time to stand down, and stop being heroic for a while. He wore eye glasses, and was unassuming in nature, just like they were. Also similar to his creators, who had dreams of becoming a newspaper reporter, Clark became a reporter. His name came from combining the names of their favorite movie stars. Clark Gable, and Kent Tailor.
Lois Lane was based on a girl they had a crush on, and thought it would be interesting to have her have a crush on the hero, yet never noticing the potential of the alter ego, or the role he played in the heroic deeds. Eventually one of the teens would marry that girl.
Superman was an instant hit on radio. Bud Collier was already a busy, and sought after radio actor, but his first instinct was to turn the part down. He already had to rush from studio to studio to cover all his acting and announcer jobs. Sometimes rushing with only 30 seconds to leave one show to appear to announce another. He is said to be able to nap anywhere, anytime, and deeply doze for 5 or 10 minutes to get rest, and bounce back full of energy to make it to his next gig in time.
Clayton “Bud” Collier first studied to be a lawyer, but found he could make as much, or more doing radio acting. He figured that if acting fell through, he’d go back to law. The studio wasn’t certain if they’d have to hire two actors to play both parts. Trained in music, his vocal range meant he could play both Clark, in an upper register. and Superman in a baritone register.
No other actor since, has been able to duplicate the affect as well. Often in TV and movies, the difference is more physical. A slouch, or other change of demeanor, but not the difference in vocal change as Bud Collier brought to the table.
The reason Bud tried to beg out of playing the part is unclear. Possibly he was afraid of being typecast in the role. He was already a versatile actor, appearing on kid shows, soap operas, and various dramatic roles. Even after doing the reading, he wasn’t sure about accepting the role, but the show’s producer convinced him.
Lois Lane was originally voiced by the wife of a producer, but later would be voiced by Joan Alexander. Joan had the knack of walking into the first reading, and giving the character and scene the right treatment. Joan would play many female roles in the show, always giving just the right dialect and characterization right from her first reading.
Most of what we know or identify with Superman came from the radio show. Superman flew first, and from the very first of the radio show. His super hearing, x-ray vision, vulnerability to Kryptonite, and more got their start on radio, then carried over into the comics. Even characters like Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, and police inspector Henderson were created for radio. When needing time for vacation, kryptonite, plot devices, or Batman would make appearances for a short run to give Collier time off. Batman was in the comics, he never had his own radio show, but he appeared often for, and with Superman.
Jackson Beck. Though not the announcer in these first shows, he soon would be, and hold the announcer position for years to come. Plus playing various roles ranging from bad guy to copy boy Beeny Martin.
Bud Collier, Superman and Clark Kent. Actually not credited until 1946.
Rolly Bester. The first Lois Lane. Followed by Helen Choate, then Joan Alexander
Julian Noa. Perry White, the Yellow Mask.
Jor-EL. Ned Wever
Lara. Agnes Moorehead
Ned Wever. The Wolfe:, dr Dalgren.
Arthur Vinton. Keno.