Radio reporter killed; Hornet on the case

A Man of Many Words,” July 7, 1946

This unusual 70-year-old episode of The Green Hornet begins with a heroic  (or foolhardy?) journalist defying death threats — but he’s a radio columnist, not one of the series’ usual newspaper reporters. In the 1940s, radio news reports had grown in importance to a nation following developments in World War II, but the broadcast journalist was still not as common a character in radio dramatic series as the newspaper reporter.

The Green Hornet, a costumed-hero adventure series aimed at a teen or young-adult audience,  had plenty of journalists.  The Hornet was a young newspaper publisher, frustrated by racketeers and corrupt politicians who stayed out of the reach of the law. By pretending to be a masked criminal himself, he could bring them to justice in other ways. 

Like Superman’s Daily Planet, the Hornet’s Daily Sentinel was the perfect place to learn about the life of the city. Its reporters, photographers, editors, and the publisher’s secretary, appeared regularly in Hornet stories — for the most part unaware their boss was the man behind the mask and the Hornet’s non-lethal gas gun.

In this episode there are newsroom scenes and some banter between newspaper publisher Britt Reid and reporter Michael Axford, about radio-newspaper competition.

Axford is not the Sentinel’s sharpest reporter; he’s a former cop appointed to his position by Reid’s father, owner of the paper, to double as Reid’s bodyguard. In the Hornet stories he also doubled as comic-relief, a stereotypical ethnic caricature — the “dumb Irish flatfoot” who never figured out the Hornet’s identity. 

Of course, Reid ends up going after murderous racketeers as the Green Hornet, with the help of Kato, his valet (and brilliant inventor, and driver), and their super-fast Black Beauty getaway car.  

The criminal enterprise in question is a postwar anomaly, a black-market in meat. Was this really an issue in 1946? Or was this script originally developed when wartime rationing and shortages were common? At first I suspected the latter, but a little online research in newspaper archives and history sites shows that meat shortages were, indeed, making headlines in 1946.

Incidentally,  the “Man of Many Words” of the episode title is not the radio commentator or anyone on the Sentinel staff,  but the racket boss — a corpulent sesquipidelian with echoes of Sydney Greenstreet’s character in the 1941 movie “The Maltese Falcon.” (It may be just a coincidence,  but a similarly Greenstreet-like criminal mastermind was featured in the “Adventures of Superman” radio series story “Atom Man in Metropolis” the previous year.) 

The Internet Archive provided the MP3 file. Hornet episodes are also available on high-quality CDs from Radio Spirits.

For more about the series, see my Green Hornet page.

(Technical note: This post was begun with the Chrome browser on an Android phone, then updated with a new version of the WordPress Android app. In addition to getting a new episode onto the site before a classroom discussion next week, I was testing the coding of MP3 streaming and download links, and  determining whether repeated edits were saved properly. The App was much more reliable than the phone-browser rendition of the website editor, in both HTML and visual-editing modes.)

Posted in 1940s, adventure, GreenHornet, radio | Leave a comment

Fighting slavery with a newspaper

The long-running Jewish Theological Seminary radio series “The Eternal Light” usually drew from an older text, but it did feature a crusading newspaper in at least one episode, “The Rabbi with Ink-Stained Hands,” which the inspirational-drama program broadcast more than once.

The 1960 broadcast of “The Rabbi with Ink-stained Hands”:

The broadcast dramatizes the life of Rabbi David Einhorn, an anti-slavery crusader in 1850s Baltimore before being forced to flee to Philadelphia when a mob destroyed his newspaper, Sinai.

The murder of Presbyterian minister and abolitionist publisher Elijah Lovejoy is also mentioned in the story.

The Old-Time Radio Researchers Library has versions of the program from 1956 and 1960. I am browsing the long running series (1944-1962) for other episodes featuring journalists.

So far, I haven’t found references to prominent publishers of Jewish ancestry Adolph Ochs (The New York Times) or Joseph Pulitzer (The New York World), but  the program dealt with moral ideals, not just Jewish ancestry. As for newspaper-related episodes, there is one involving the non-Jewish  Ben Franklin (played by Ralph Bellamy), waxing nostalgic about his printing appenticeship and first “Silence Dogood” columns. And there’s another ecumenical item about Gandhi, although not focused on his newspapering.

The 1956 broadcast of “The Rabbi with Ink-stained Hands”:

Background:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Eternal_Light

http://jewishcurrents.org/april-23-the-abolitionist-rabbi-1605

http://www.nationalabolitionhalloffameandmuseum.org/elovejoy.html

Posted in 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 19th century, editors, historical figures, publishers | Leave a comment

Fighting drugs with a radio-comicbook crossover

Radio and movie star Frank Lovejoy would have been 104 today. Better known as the leading man reporter on Night Beat,  Lovejoy also took a turn as The Blue Beetle, a radio and comic book superhero who appeared to borrow heavily from Superman and The Green Hornet.

Unlike those two, the Beetle’s day job wasn’t at a newspaper. Instead, he was a rookie police patrolman. However, his girlfriend in the comic books was a Lois Lane style reporter, Joan Mason, who even appeared as the title character in some comic stories. And on the radio, he also shared the stage with newspaperman Charlie Stone, “ace reporter of the York City Sun,” friend of police officer Dan Garret (the Blue Beetle) and his partner.

The comic, launched in 1939, evolved into a radio serial in 1940 that ran for less than a year. Frank Lovejoy, the actor who played the Beetle, was to have more success a decade later playing a newspaper columnist in the mystery/drama series “Night Beat.”

Radio episodes of The Blue Beetle are available at archive.org, including Drug Ring (May 15, 1940), which includes reporter Charlie Stone. (Click the episode title to download or stream an MP3 if an audio player icon is not visible.) Not only does the character don his blue chain mail to fight reefer-dealers and opium dens, he begins taking a mysterious drug himself — a secret “vitamin 2X,” which gave him the ability to recover from bullet wounds and increased his strength and speed and mental abilities.

The reporter doesn’t have a big part in the episode, although he is observant enough to  get the license number of a gunman’s car. When Garret’s partner sends him to call for an ambulance for the hero, shot down on the street, he mentions that he’ll call his paper at the same time.  “Boy, what a story!” he says, on his way to the phone.

(Since my first posting of information about the Blue Beetle on my Adventure series overview page, I’ve discovered that Archive.org has both an Old Time Radio Researchers Blue Beetle collection and a second BlueBeetle collection, which may overlap or vary in sound quality.)

Alas, the shows are juvenile, punctuated by organ arpeggios and overwrought dialogue, which may explain why the series had such a short run on radio, although the comic book has had several incarnations under several publishing companies over the years. Here’s an early sample Blue Beetle comic at the Internet Archive, an April 1943 World War II era episode, complete with both Irish and Asian cultural stereotypes.

Posted in 1930s, 1940s, adaptations, adventure, comics, detectives, reporters, science fiction | Leave a comment

Clark Kent finds swell story via turtle

In 1940, Superman didn’t need a world-threatening super villain or a city-destroying duel with another “hero” to be an entertaining role model. In this early “Adventures of Superman” radio tale, Clark Kent’s reportorial curiosity gets the better of him — so much that he passes up a scheduled boat ride home from a previous adventure in the Caribbean.

After resolving the previous tale, the opening episode of “The Curse of Dead Man’s Island” starts with Daily Planet copyboy Jimmy Olsen catching a turtle to take home — only to discover a call for help scratched into its shell. That’s enough to inspire reporter Kent to investigate. As he says,

“There may be a swell story behind this plea for help. Someone is evidently in trouble!”

His instincts are right — the story eventually involves a mostly deserted island, a castaway, a beautiful woman, a secluded castle with a mysterious dynamo and, of course, a dungeon.

See the JHeroes overview page for the Superman radio show, which began in February, 1940, serializing its stories as 12-minute daily episodes. This particular story ran from Sept. 23 to Oct. 4, shorter than most of the adventures. The six individual episodes are downloadable from the chronological Internet Archive collection of the series, or as a combined 70-minute recording. (Unlike some full-story recordings, this one is before the repetitious Kellogg’s cereal commercials that came with the successful series’ full sponsorship later.)

There are no major explorations of journalism ethics in this juvenile adventure, although Clark does fib to the captain of their homeward-bound vessel to explain why he and Jimmy are staying in the islands, and he does show somewhat questionable judgment including Jimmy in the adventure — but having a companion to talk to makes for much better radio than relying on a narrator to fill in the gaps.

As usual for these early stories, the mystery plot is on a human scale, with Kent’s superhuman powers only coming into play when necessary — often to save Jimmy or Lois Lane (who is absent from this story), while Kent pursues a news story that turns into an adventure. Kent’s being a reporter “frames” the tale more than his being Superman. In the process he shows the usual journalistic skills with nautical charts and small engines, as well as a certain amount of luck, not all of it good.

At the end of this six-parter,  there’s no mention of the story Clark plans to file about the adventure. After the mystery is solved (no spoilers here; listen for yourself), Kent and Jimmy don’t even fly home. They head back to Metropolis by boat, where they find a message waiting from Perry White to return home because they are needed for another big story.

It’s the life of a reporter — or so young listeners were taught in 1940.

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Merry Christmas from Superman, 1945

Cover of Supermancomic39-1“Christmas today is very extra-special,” the Man of Steel announced to listeners seventy years ago, at the start of the “Adventures of Superman” episode broadcast on the first Christmas Day after the end of World War II.

With Germany and Japan defeated, the holiday message set the stage for later “Adventures of Superman” public-service messages and storylines encouraging young listeners to view hate and intolerance as their real enemy.

Actor Bud Collyer, whose own identity was a bigger secret than Clark Kent’s, stayed in character to deliver Superman’s “personal message” to listeners, opening the daily program. Superman was speaking, he said, on behalf of the Daily Planet’s Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White: “Once more ‘peace on earth, good will to men’ is more than just a beautiful phrase…” (His speech filled the time slot usually allocated to a promotion for some “mail in your boxtops” Kellogg’s premium.)

“On this Christmas Day, let’s all determine to do everything we can to see that this remains  a lasting peace on earth, through the everyday practice of ‘good will to men.’ You see, wars grow out of misunderstanding, hate and intolerance, all things that were preached against by the Prince of Peace, whose nativity we celebrate today. Now, if we try to understand our fellow man, if we avoid hate and banish intolerance, we would do away with the cause for war and this scourge would forever disappear from the earth…”

“Regardless of race, creed or color, we’re all humans, entitled to the same respect and privileges. Here in America, all of us — black and white, Catholic, Protestant and Jew — are all Americans, and we must live together peaceably at home if we are to live at peace with the world.”

Unfortunately — holiday deadline pressure on the radio program’s script writer? — in another part of his speech, the refugee from Krypton managed to attribute the phrase “all men are created equal” to Abraham Lincoln, instead of the Declaration of Independence. I wonder how many young fact-checking fans of the Daily Planet journalists caught the error?

Although reporter Kent conducted a few interviews as part of the plot, there wasn’t much journalism practiced in this episode, day 16 of a 25-episode continuing story, “Searching for Kryptonite,” in which he enlisted the help of his pal Batman to track down stolen chunks of the radioactive element that could kill Superman.  In the past few months, Nazis had used kryptonite to create a powerful Atom Man who almost destroyed Superman in story lines that ran from September through November of 1945. Before the tale was over, Superman would face another echo of the war, in the form of an evil Japanese scientist.

But with the real war against Germany and Japan ended, where could radio script writers find forces of evil for Superman to fight? The opening three episodes of “Searching for Kryptonite” hinted at a possible enemy — one that would have fascinated Edward Said, author of the book “Orientalism“: One of the Nazi Atom Man’s associates left behind a coin or seal marked with a star and crescent. After discovering it, Kent and Olsen were attacked by a swarthy, sandal-wearing, knife-wielding assassin who wore the same symbol as a brand on his heel. Kent subdued him without even changing to Superman, but the “Arab” — as Jimmy identified the man to an Irish-accented policeman — killed himself while in police custody.

Did the post-war spirit of brotherhood squelch some writer’s original idea for the villains in this plot? In another episode, the Daily Planet’s expert on symbolism, Harry Goldman, gives Kent and Olsen a lecture on crescent and star symbols, finally assuring them that “there’s nothing distinctly Turkish or Moslem in the combination.” Keeping only a vague xenophobia alive, a “Hindu” boy is identified as part of the gang later, but other members have American or European names like “Sydney,” “Smith,” “Jones” and “Phillips,” although they also have connections with former Nazis and that the Japanese scientist. (The character “Sydney,” killed in an earlier story, was reminiscent of the mysterious world-traveling conspirator played by Sydney Greenstreet in the movie The Maltese Falcon.)

Ultimately, the radio serial dismisses the evil-doers as just “spies and crooks,” the “Crescent and Star mob” and “one of the worst confidence rings in the country,” with no national or religious significance in its membership symbol. And within a few months the “Adventures of Superman” radio series would be fully committed to fighting intolerance,  taking on “The Hate Mongers’ Organization” in the spring and, famously, “The Clan of the Fiery Cross” in the summer, and characterizing these domestic villains as echoes of the defeated Nazis for preaching hatred and intolerance.

If the one 15-minute episode has you curious, all 25 parts of “Looking for Kryptonite” are downloadable from page eight of the Internet Archive’s Superman collection, complete with Kellogg’s commercials and daily plot summaries. For a quick read, James Lantz’s plot summary and review are available at the Superman Homepage.

Posted in 1940s, adventure, Superman, World War II | Leave a comment

Hate mongers vs. refugees and minorities

In the wake of World War II, radio’s fictional journalists were defenders of immigrants and religious and ethnic minorities. A Big Town Christmas episode about a Polish refugee newspaper editor, and Superman and The Daily Planet’s fight against “The Klan of the Fiery Cross” are examples I’ve written about before. Here’s another, with the refugee from planet Krypton taking on “The Hate Monger Organization” in 1946. 

This story of Superman’s battle against intolerance took 25 days to tell in 15-minute weekday episodes, April 16 to May 20, but they are all in the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/Superman_page09

It takes a couple of episodes to reveal the evil force at work, starting with arson and an assault on an Irish newsboy, a friend of Jimmy Olsen’s, who witnessed the fire. Superman has support from a Catholic priest, who tells Clark Kent about an interfaith meeting to launch a “Unity House” open to youngsters of all races and backgrounds. The hate campaign seems to be targeting the community brotherhood movement.

“Why, it’s the Nazi method,” Jimmy observes in episode two, after the priest warns him and Kent of a group trying to pit people of different nationalities and religions against one another.

By episode ten, Kent has Jimmy risking his life working undercover — risky journalistic practice — to find the evil mastermind manipulating a youth street gang in its campaign of bigotry and intolerance. Meanwhile, even the opening commercial warned children not to waste any of their breakfast cereal because America needed grain to send to European war refugees.

While the message is one of racial tolerance, today’s listeners may get a chuckle out of an episode ten actor’s stereotypical “Irish cop on the beat” accent, which was also a staple of “The Green Hornet.” You also get to hear an Italian organ-grinder before long, another part of the cavalcade of radio stereotypes.

By episode fifteen, a rabbi has been assaulted, a Methodist minister has been threatened, and Kent has gotten other newspapers to keep quiet until Jimmy gets the goods on the evil mastermind manipulating a gang of pool room street toughs. 

As in many of these stories, Clark Kent and his pals at The Daily Planet are the heroes. Superman’s muscle isn’t the right weapon to use against hatred. That’s mostly a job for a mild-mannered reporter or two, who eventually uncover a hate group calling itself “The Guardians of America.”

“I was only trying to protect Americans from foreigners!” the penthouse-dwelling chief hate-monger says when Superman is about to turn him over to the police. It’s a liars excuse, of course, and the evil manipulator’s true identity is revealed in the end. (Hint: That Jimmy Olsen was a pretty sharp kid. See his quote near the top of this article.)

O.K., so Bud Collyer, who played Clark and Superman, does get to drop his voice into Superman’s lower register and take to the air before the end of the story, rescuing Jimmy from what looks like certain death at the hands of “the so-called Guardians of America.” But you have to give the fans what they came for!

Note: Superman set the tone for these post-war peace, tolerance and brotherhood messages a few months earlier in a speech at the start of the Christmas Day 1945 broadcast.

Posted in 1940s, Brotherhood, Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen, Superman, World War II | Leave a comment

Calling Clark Kent — not Superman — to the rescue

A frightened Jimmy Olson on phone

Jack Larson as Jimmy Olsen, calling an older and more experienced, if supposedly mild-mannered, reporter for help on a story about a mysterious lighthouse — and more. (A screen capture from one of the TV episodes based on the earlier radio Adventures of Superman, a broadcast you can hear below.)

News stories about the death last month of Jack Larson — “Jimmy Olsen” on the 1950s Superman television series — often mentioned the actor’s dislike for story-lines that repeatedly had “Jimmy” dripping wet, threatened by rising tides or torture-rooms filling with water. Superman may have rescued Jimmy, but Larson tended to catch cold from all those soggy re-takes, he told NPR’s Terry Gross in a charming 1993 interview, rebroadcast as a memorial.

That interview reminded me of a similar plot in a Superman radio episode, more than a decade before Superman and Jimmy took to the television airwaves; a little research revealed more than a coincidence.

[audio https://archive.org/download/AdvOfSupermanPhonySongPublishingRacket/adv%20of%20superman%20lighthouse_point_smugglers_complete.mp3]

This six-part Adventures of Superman radio story (combined into one big MP3 file at the Internet Archive), the Lighthouse Point Smugglers, was broadcast in the summer of 1940, then rewritten a decade later for TV. In fact, it became the first TV tale to put Jack Larson in that soaked-to-the-skin condition he disliked. It is a fine example of some difference between the early radio or TV incarnations of Superman and more recent Superman comics and feature movies.

Most obviously, the basis for the story is not a “superhero” in pursuit of a “super villain”; it’s a reporter after a story. This cliff-hanger radioplay, like many others in the radio series, is as much an “Adventures of the Daily Planet reporters” as a super-hero story. It opens with editor Perry White calling in Clark Kent to talk about his annual vacation; a phone call from Jimmy interrupts, and we’re off in pursuit of a story, and smugglers, and more.

The plot: Cub reporter Jimmy Olsen — played by an unidentified radio actor — comes up with a news story idea while on sick-leave. He contacts White to “pitch” the story idea and enlist the help of a more experienced reporter, Clark Kent.

Those who know Superman only through 21st-century films and comics may be surprised to find the plot has no threat to the city, nation or planet, and no airborne grand-standing by the guy with the red cape. It’s a mystery story — with an old house, secret passages and tunnels, a foggy sea, that lighthouse, and a hidden treasure.

This July 1940 story began only 70 days into the run of the “Adventures of Superman” series, which joined the Mutual network that February. In those early storylines, Superman tried to keep his very existence a secret. Having Clark Kent spend more time behaving like a reporter also suited the gradual pace of the brief daily serial episodes. Kent changed to Superman, signified by actor Bud Collyer dropping his voice an octave, only when necessary to fend off a gunman, break through a stone wall, or get somewhere in a big hurry. Presumably, after the battered criminals were picked up by police, their wild stories about a flying man in red and blue would sound like attempts at an insanity plea.

Kent to the Rescue

Clark and Jimmy in MaineIn this story Kent manages to smash down a door or two on his own without raising suspicion. And he gets full credit for rescuing Jimmy, and the boy’s cousin, and his aunt in three separate near-drowning incidents. The three are conveniently unconscious at the key moment and don’t see the literally superhuman effort involved in their rescue. They just figure Clark did it.

While Superman gradually revealed himself to the world in later episodes of the series, Kent became more “mild-mannered” as part of his disguise. Still, the newspaper focus of “The Adventures of Superman” continued through most of its daily-serial years, with some combination of Clark, Jimmy, Lois Lane and Perry White accomplishing some feats of journalism in almost every episode. That is, they tracked down facts, discussed story ideas, interviewed people, went to the scene of the story. The same was true when the radio series gave way to the George Reeves television series. The television variation on the “Lighthouse Point Smugglers” script is an example. Retitled “The Haunted Lighthouse,” it was just the second TV episode, broadcast in 1952, and then in reruns for decades.

In the radio version’s six 12-minute episodes, the lighthouse story has time to reveal more about a newspaper reporter’s life than a half-hour TV story. We learn about what sound like progressive personnel policies of Daily Planet editor Perry White: In his opening banter with Kent about Olsen’s letters and calls, we learn Kent has three weeks’ vacation coming, pretty good for 1940! And although Olsen is just a cub reporter, he’s also the beneficiary of the enlightened Mr. White, who explains his absence from the newsroom to Kent:

“He got sick. You know he helped his mother in the store, he was going to night school, and we worked him pretty hard here at the paper… Oh he’s all right. He’ll be back at work in another month or so. We sent him off on sick leave… up at a place on the New England coast…”

Jimmy’s illness is never mentioned again, clearly just a plot device to move the story to an exotic locale. But it’s not hard to imagine young listeners thinking, “Three weeks of vacation? A month at the ocean to rest? I want a job like that!”

Screen-capture from the TV show, the Lighthouse in DaylightThe plot thickens when Olsen notices a light in an abandoned lighthouse owned by his aunt, does some investigating, writes to White, and finally telephones long-distance (at his own expense, he points out) while Kent is in the editor’s office. The dialogue showshis dedication to the paper — and perhaps some shaky ethics about reporting a crime to the proper authorities, but is well within the spirit of popular culture’s portrayals of journalists at the time:

“There’s a story up here, a big story, and I’m the only one who knows about it. Mr. White, it’s smugglers. That’s only part of it.
“I don’t want to tell the cops,” he tells his editor. “I’m keeping it for the paper.”

He begs White to send Kent to help him dig out the story. Kent quickly agrees when Jimmy’s phone call is mysteriously cut off. Their journalistic investigation eventually does lead to smugglers, along with danger in Jimmy’s sailboat at sea, a hidden family treasure, a plot to steal it by the aunt’s mortgage-holder (a natural villain), and a narrow escape from a underground chamber filling with sea water. They all give the tale its five days worth of cliff-hanger endings.

Kent’s Superman persona only appears briefly when super-feats are needed — rescuing Jimmy after a boating accident, confronting an armed smuggler and then rescuing him after he jumps 50 feet into the sea, and later saving both Jimmy and his aunt from that underground room. In all cases, he keeps his Superman identity hidden. They other characters are left thinking reporter Kent is the one who did the rescuing, a bit of a contradiction for the “mild Clark Kent” description spoken by an announcer in the program’s stock introduction.

Jimmy is a reporter, not just a victim

But, while Jimmy Olsen and, in other episodes, Lois Lane, often moved the radio and TV story plots along by needing rescuing at least once a week, they also behaved like reporters. In this tale, Jimmy’s own curiosity and eye for detail — good reportorial skills — uncover the possible smuggling plot in the first place, and later reveal secrets custom-printed onto some ancient Chinese wallpaper at his aunt’s house. The young reporter literally stands on his head to decipher the message! There are several more general lessons here for aspiring journalists hearing the program:

  • Reporters have adventures, even when they aren’t super-heroes.
  • Reporters are never off-duty. Good stories can happen anywhere, even on vacation or sick-leave.
  • Curiosity and good observational skills go a long way.
  • Be suspicious of mortgage lenders who make house-calls.
  • If you find a story too close to home — at your aunt’s house, for instance — get another reporter involved. He may see details you might miss, and perhaps his involvement will help you avoid being accused of conflict of interest.

Alas, the radio show never lets us hear whether Clark and Jimmy shared a Daily Planet byline, or how the story handled Jimmy’s relationship to the aunt and cousin — who apparently enjoy quite a windfall in the end.

Clark’s last speech to Jimmy’s aunt is:

“And Jimmy and I have a tremendous story for the paper, don’t forget that! Come on there, young fellow, get a move on… We’ll go find the nearest telegraph office.”

The announcer picks up from there:
“Everybody safe and sound… and another scoop for the Daily Planet is delivered by Clark Kent. But what’s coming next? Already, back in the Planet offices another adventure is waiting. Thrilling! Incredible! Tune in next time…”

The television story a decade later — the “Haunted Lighthouse” — kept some characters’ names and parts of the plot, but dropped others and added a pretty housemaid, a ghostly voice, some impersonations, a fight with a smuggler, and help from the Coast Guard. It sacrificed a few secret passages and the hidden family treasure, but it was still Jimmy’s tip about strange doings at the lighthouse that brought CLark to help. And the story opened with Kent literally acting as a reporter — delivering a voiceover narration to set the scene a Jimmy’s aunt’s waterfront home.

And, as in most of the television episodes, the Jimmy Olsen portrayed by Jack Larson is more of a comic character, perhaps not as sharp as his radio predecessor. As Larson himself observed, it was amazing how Jimmy never commented on the similarity in appearance of the bespectacled Kent and the costumed Superman. Even his aunt notices that in this episode. The TV plot also left Jimmy with plenty of things to be curious about — but he wasn’t: How Clark got to the island so fast, why Superman also showed up to help, and why Clark disappears whenever Superman is around. Those factors might not speak well for a young man’s future as a journalist, and may account for “Clark Kent’s” occasional wink at the camera.

But the TV team-up of George Reeves and young Jack Larson was a hit for six years — more than 100 episodes as Superman and Jimmy Olsen — with immortality waiting in reruns and on DVD. (The “Adventures of Superman, Season One,” Warner Brothers DVD set includes a commentary track on “The Haunted Lighthouse,” one of 26 first-season episodes. No mention is made of the story’s radio predecessor.)

Note: In addition to the full-story version of “Lighthouse Point Smugglers,” the Internet Archive has the individual episodes, numbers 74 through 79, on the first of 15 pages of Superman radio episodes uploaded to the archive by oldtime radio researchers: https://archive.org/details/Superman_page01

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