This is the first in what I hope will be a once or twice a week podcast of oldtime radio programs featuring fictional (or dramatized) newspaper reporters and editors.
As a logical place to start, I’m sure the first fictional journalists I ever encountered were Clark Kent and Lois Lane, probably before I knew of any non-fictional reporters. I seem to remember a Superman comic book following me home from the drugstore after church one Sunday, even before we had a television.
I don’t remember the Superman radio serial, which finished its run when I was very small. But I was surprised to learn that the Superman story on the radio was quite different from the comic book, TV and movie versions.
For one thing, the original radio Superman did not grow up in Smallville. He grew up in that rocket flying to Earth and arrived fully grown and, somehow (super-scientifically or super-genetically), already educated about where he was from.
But he didn’t know Earth. He didn’t know human beings. And he didn’t know where his great powers were needed.
He did — somehow — know a runaway trolley car when he saw one. Listen to this, the second 15 minute episode in the Adventures of Superman series, from Feb. 14, 1940, with the questions “What is journalism for?” and “Why be a reporter?” in mind.
If you’re a student in one of my journalism classes, add a comment answering those questions, or comparing about today’s news media. Would today’s version of “the professor” in the story give different advice?
(If your browser doesn’t show you an audio player on this page, you can subscribe to this podcast with iTunes or download the episode here.
For more of the Superman radio series:
- Collections of 15 minute cliff-hanger episodes at Archive.org Superman_OTR and Adventures of Superman pages.
- The Superman Home Page: Radio and its list of more than 2,000 broadcast episodes.
- A 2005 article in Radio Recall (and article Part II).
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