"We now present the transcription feature, 'Superman'!"
If you were a kid in the 1940's, chances are you heard the immortal opening to "The Adventures of Superman". It was produced for nearly 10 years, featured the ionic character of Superman in his salad days, a true example of the Golden age of radio.
Superman obtained legendary stature in comics, television, and cinema (in various degrees of quality) as his popularity surged (and waned); yet he owes very much to the radio transcriptions (prerecorded radio). The show began broadcasting about two years after his first appearance in Action Comics! magazine. This is a rawer Superman, containing so many elements most already know (in some cases, because the radio show itself introduced them in the first place - such as Kryptonite) and some that might surprise you (Clark Kent is pretty brave for a supposed coward, despite the other characters doing their best to ignore that completely).
Radio's Superman put the character into a new light for me, a child of the eighties who only knows the baggage from decades of retroactive continuity and camp. This Superman is not the complete boy scout who is constantly off fighting floods, earthquakes and aliens invasions - he IS an alien, taking on an identity of an intrepid reporter to find out the best way to use his powers to benefit humanity. Today's Superman is a story about Kansas-raised Clark Kent dealing with being from an alien world - Radio's Superman is ubermensch alien learning to be Clark Kent, to be a human. It's an interesting departure, one the franchise might consider giving another look.
Taking Jimmy to the fair is an in-depth look into this show and old radio shows in general. This week we'll visit a little history of the series and of the show itself. Starting next week, on February 12, 2010, I will be reviewing an episode from the Adventures of Superman on the anniversary of its first broadcast.
One caveat: I may be tongue-in-cheek at times (off-color at others). I will certainly do my damnedest to keep myself in check and things PG-13. I want to make it clear I have nothing but respect for this show and I want to pass that on to fans old and new alike.
Special thanks to http://www.botar.us/archives.html for allowing me to link to their broadcasts of the show. They have a sizable collection of many other series, ones I will visit from time to time.