Britt Reid, daring young publisher…
Long before Seth Rogen put on a green mask, “The Green Hornet” was one of the 1930s-1950s radio series that inspired me to start paying attention to how newspaper reporters and editors were treated in radio dramas, including the frequent pop-culture suggestion that reporting the news at a paper like The Daily Sentinel was a fine career for adventurous young women — not unlike Lois Lane in a certain other radio serial.
In fact, the Hornet arrived on the radio before the Superman comic book was born, and the Superman radio serial came after that. The Hornet was from the creators of the popular western series “The Lone Ranger,” but aimed at older teenagers and young adults about to become voters. For that reason, many of its stories were about government corruption and racketeers.
A Humphrey-Camardella “Super Heroes Podcast” may have been the first place I heard the Hornet episode “Bid and Asked,” one that demonstrates how much of a role the newspaper played in the series. Here it is from the archive.org collection: The story opens with newspaper publisher Britt Reid’s secretary, Lenore Case (not to be confused with the 2011 Cameron Diaz version), confessing that she’s been daydreaming over a job offer from a competing paper.
Reid: “The Clarion? Miss Case! That scandal sheet? Why be a secretary there when you can be a secretary here?”
Case: “This wasn’t a secretarial job. The Clarion wants me as a reporter. Oh, good grief, Mr. Reid, I’d give my new summer dress to be a reporter.”
Reid: “Oh, I see. Well, perhaps you will be a reporter, Miss Case, but if you are you will work for the Sentinel. Now get Ed Lowery and have him follow up this phone call. Here give him this note. Well, get moving. All I said was ‘perhaps.’”
Case: “Gosh I… Mr. Reid, I could kiss you!”
[Theme: Flight of the Bumblebee]
For my students: More of my thoughts on the Hornet …