Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Episode 6 - "The Silver Clipper"

Listen Episode 6 - "The Silver Clipper" here!

Summary: This is it, kiddies, time to quit fooling around. The Silver Clipper has departed Denver, and lives are at stake if something isn't done to keep the Wolfe diverting the "crack train" into a watery, ouchy-filled grave. Superman has dropped off the two delirious, possibly dehydrated and sun-stroked locomotive crew at a nearby ranch, and with only twenty minutes before the Silver Clipper pulls a swan dive into oblivion, Superman shoots back just in time to- fly to a nearby town, switch back to Clark Kent and catch the local sheriff in his office. What?
   The Professor The Railroad Supervisor The Sheriff finds Kent's story a bit much to swallow, but is convinced to follow up on the lead given to him about the railroad men being found at the ranch. Kent explains to the sheriff (and to us) that his reasoning is that the Wolfe and Keno need to be caught in the act for any criminal charge to stick, proving that while Superman learned an incredible number of things in an impressively short period time, the definition of 'circumstantial evidence was evidently not one of them. With the local authorities compelled into action, Clark Kent excuses himself, walks out of sight and flies back to- haha, just kidding. He asks Professor Sheriff for the use of his phone to make a collect call. What?!
   Clark phones back east to Perry White, casually delivers a badass line about how he spent his afternoon, and makes White promise to hold the presses for the big break in the Silver Clipper story. White, possibly because of his pleasure with his new employee's story about the Limited Express' near miss, complies. With all of the pieces falling into place, Superman finally makes good towards the Silver Clipper. He has about 10 minutes to fly 40 miles to save a train load of people he could have probably rescued ten minutes ago, but wouldn't nearly be as dramatic, or frankly, give Kent a cover story, in all possible meanings of the term. Spoilers: he arrives with a minute to spare.
   Meanwhile, Keno and the Wolfe make some nervous chatter as they leave before 'something resembling the end of the world' occurs in the tunnel to the flooded canyon. The exit just in time to watch a man in a cape and tights undo the entirety of their plan with his bare hands. Pioneering what would be a long line of bad guys making the mistake of their lives, they rush towards him with Keno's guns blazing. Before it dawns on them that the man before them can't be shot, the train approaches and they decided to run to their car and get the hell out of Dodge. Superman finishes fixing the switch, wishes the Silver Clipper a safe journey as it roars past, and finishes the end game of his 'Wolfe hunt'.
   Superman decides to finish this fight passive aggressively by flying ahead of the Wolfe's car and standing in the middle of the road. In the aftermath you can probably imagine, he subdues the two with one hand and finishes wrecking the car to make it look like a proper accident. His work done, he darts off switch back to Kent before Professor Sheriff, who we left 40 miles back in the nearest town not long ago, shows up with the calvary. (It makes since how he can do this, since he also has jobs in  Indiana and Denver.)
   Back east, Mr. Clark Kent is the toast of the Daily Planet, as far as Mr. Perry White is concerned! He's ready to give Kent a new assignment, but before he can a phone call interrupts the two men. A cryptic man identifies himself as the Yellow Mask, the true master behind the Wolfe, and voices his displeasure of having his affairs meddled with. He swears that the Daily Planet building with be destroyed by the stroke of six that night.


  • Clark Kent/Superman
  • The Professor The Railroad Supervisor The Sheriff
  • Keno and the Wolfe
  • Perry White
  • Superman, if you recall, is not in the business of making himself public, thus the rigmarole of setting up the Wolfe and Keno for a fall and getting legal authorities involved. The way Superman plays this out is actually pretty canny of him.
  • Also on the subject, before you jump on the bandwagon (that I was driving) with the idea that Superman was playing with the lives of the people on the train by taking these side trips, keep in mind that it was he, as Kent, who suggested that the Silver Clipper not leave Denver at all. It was the Supervisor's call to let the train depart, and Superman respected the decision while working around it
  • The real art of radio play has to be using dialog to establish action and surroundings. Sometimes you notice it, sometimes you don't. Here, when Superman has the two men with a single hand, I sure did.
  • And no, not to spoil it or anything, it's not the last of Keno or the Wolfe.
  • This is the end of the second week of Superman's original broadcast schedule. the next dozen shows will continue to have unique names, then switch to having multi-part cliffhanger story-lines. It makes it a little easier to track arcs.

Powers Introduced:
Invulnerability: Although he faked (as Kent) being beaten up by Keno earlier, this is the first time in the show where Superman shrugs off a direct hit from a bullet. Poor Keno. 

Perry White: Kent! Good Lord man, I thought you were dead! Where've you been all day?!
Clark Kent: Tied up in a cellar, but I broke out.

Clark Kent: bespectacled bad-ass.

Keno: Come on boss, let's beat it!
The Wolfe: A very sound idea, Keno. In five minutes, or something less, this tunnel will be a most unhealthy place!
Keno: Whadda mean?
The Wolfe: Something resembling the end of the world, Keno! Screaming brakes, raping steel, billowing steam! Yes, decidedly we should move, friend, come.

Say what you will, you can't say the Wolfe can't turn a phrase. Also: 'something like the end of the world' seems to come up a lot in this show.

Superman: Sorry to disturb you gentlemen- don't try to get away!
The Wolfe: Who are you?! Put me down!!
Keno: L-let me go! Let me go!
Superman: In one moment! Just now, while I hold both of you with one hand, I got something else to do!

God help me, I heard this, wondered what he was doing with his other hand, and started cracking up.

Clark Kent bad-ass-ry: From here on out, I'll make a note when Clark Kent does something openly brave or amazing in front of other people, who (of course) don't know he's Superman. There's a reason I'm compiling this list, which you'll see later. Clark Kent, at least here on the early days on the radio, is not a meek coward in the slightest.

  • He was confined to a cellar by bad guys and escaped on his own.

In the next episode! It's terrorist attacks all over again as backlash against Clark Kent is threatened to be taken out on the entire Daily Planet, but that's the least of his worries. Now he must go face to face with a force that can ruin him utterly; yes, you guessed it, kids - LOIS LANE. Also, there's an "Atomic Beam Machine" involved, too. See you Friday!

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