70 Super Years: 1940 - On the Radio

The Adventures of Superman came to radio as a syndicated show on New York City's WOR on February 12, 1940. On Mutual, it was broadcast from August 31, 1942, to January 28, 1949, as a 15-minute serial, running three or, usually, five times a week. From January 31 to June 17, 1949 it ran as a thrice-weekly half-hour show. The series shifted to ABC Saturday mornings on November 5, 1949, and then to twice-a-week in June 1950, continuing on ABC until March 1, 1951.

Superman/Clark Kent and Lois Lane were voiced by actors Bud Collyer and Jane Alexander. Both of whom would go on to lend their voices to their respective roles in the Max Fleisher Superman animated film shorts, and the 1966 Filmation TV-cartoon series, The New Adventures of Superman.

The radio serial contained a lot of firsts for the Superman mythos:
  • Perry White - Perry was created for the radio serial and appeared in the second episode, which aired on February 14, 1940. The character transitioned into the Superman comic books in SUPERMAN #7 (Nov/Dec 1940).
  • Jimmy Olsen - Although an anonymous "copy boy" who resembles Jimmy makes a brief appearance in ACTION COMICS #6 (November 1938), the first time a character called Jimmy Olsen appeared was in the radio show on April 15, 1940. Jimmy moved from the radio show into the comics in SUPERMAN #13 (Nov/Dec 1941).
  • Kryptonite - A forerunner of the Kryptonite concept was the unpublished 1940 story "The K-Metal from Krypton", by Jerry Siegel. The K-metal in the story was a piece of Krypton which robbed Superman of his strength while giving humans superpowers. "Kryptonite," by name, was introduced in 1943 on the Superman radio series. Kryptonite didn't become part of the actual comic book mythos until SUPERMAN #61 (Nov/Dec 1949).
  • Superman meets Batman - Although they appeared together in ALL-STAR COMICS #7 (Oct/Nov 1941) and on numerous comic book covers, Superman and Batman would first share an adventure together beginning on the September 5, 1945 episode of the radio show. They wouldn't become side-by-side crime-fighting buddies in the print until WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #71 (July/Aug 1954).
Okay, that's enough with the boring. Click below to listen to the second episode of The Adventures of Superman from February 14, 1940!!

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The Adventures of Superman (radio) @ Wikipedia
Listen to over 150 episodes of Adventures of Superman @ Botar's Old Time Radio

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