Kent’s approach isn’t super; Lois Lane steps in

Smart, clever or super-powered, newspaper reporters are still fallible and can be fooled, according to the adventures of Lois Lane and Clark Kent in 1940s Superman radio episodes.

In this September 1941 sequence, Lois Lane tries to get through to a half-mad witness who won’t talk to Kent or the police. Like a story by real-life reporter Dorothy Kilgallen in another radio drama, it at first seems a “woman’s touch” is all that is needed.

However, by the end of the episode (ninth in this 15-part story), the strange woman has turned the tables and put Lois in her all-too-frequent role of “damsel in distress.” Actually, almost half of the 12-minute episode is given over to summarizing the story so far, then Lois gets into the act and brings about an apparent transformation in the woman.

Episode 9: Lois interviews witness Episode 10: Madwoman captures Lois.
Episode 11: Central American drugs! Episode 12: Crisis in the jungle

From a crazed scientist and his mad sister in the first half of the adventure, the villains shift in episode 11 and 12 to a conniving white trader and a tribe of jungle dwellers with poison darts and hints of human sacrifice — a plot displaying all the racial and cultural sensitivity of 1930s jungle-adventure movies, as Superman faces “100 black pygmies who are shadows in the darkness.”

This is the third JHeroes installment for the story, “Metropolis Football Team Poisoned,” each including four “Adventures of Superman” daily episodes from the 1941 serial.

First installment: Clark Kent, unethical sports reporter

Second installment: Clark Kent, burglar or bungler?

About Bob Stepno

mild-mannered reporter who found computers & the Web in grad school in the 1980s (Wesleyan) and '90s (UNC); taught journalism, media studies, Web production; retired to write, make music, photograph sunsets & walks in the woods.
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