The short intro: For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Old Time Radio is the phrase generally used to refer to the time when radio was (mostly) live, and was full of a variety of different shows, as opposed to simply being a means for record labels to use robots to promote the top records of the day. Old Time Radio Thursdays is my chance to explore some of those old radio shows, their connections (both old and new) to movies, and hopefully to encourage some of the rest of you to take a look at a probably unfamiliar source of entertainment that I truly love. If you want more info on OTR, and some examples of the variety of shows that were made, be sure to check out this introductory post.
Last week, I noted that the first real team up of Superman and Batman didn’t occur in the pages of a comic book, but on the radio show. However, that wasn’t the only notable “first” that happened on radio and then became a part of comic book lore. Would you believe that the first appearance of Kryptonite also took place on the radio? Yep, it’s true. The rocky fragments of Kal-El’s home planet first hit the Earth in a serial called “The Meteor From Krypton” which aired in June, 1943. It wasn’t until six years later, in 1949 that Kryptonite managed to work its way into the comics!
Here are some other notable facts about the radio show:
At first, Superman operated in secret, trying not to let others know that he even existed. So who was the first of the regular cast to actually meet him? None other than Jimmy Olsen, and that meeting didn’t occur until the show had been airing for seven months!
(Oh, and Jimmy was also a creation of the radio show, first appearing in April of 1940, and not making his comics debut until 1941.)
There were actually three different actresses who played Lois Lane on the radio: Rollie Bester, who first appeared in episode 7 and only played the role for two weeks; Helen Choate, who took over the role for the next two months; and finally Joan Alexander, who would portray the character for the rest of the series’ run.
The series was actually cancelled by the Mutual Broadcasting network in March of 1942. However, the network was so besieged by letters from fans that they eventually brought it back in August of that year.
Okay, that’s enough of the “fun facts”. Let’s get on to why we’re really here and just sit back and give a listen to some of the radio shows, shall we? Back in part one I gave you the first ten episodes to check out, so I thought this time I’d follow them up with the next ten. So here you go:
Finally, a bit of an extra: from the 2007 Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention in Aberdeen, Maryland here’s Author Michael Hayde with a presentation concerning the radio show. The audio is not the greatest, but here you go anyway.
Next time: Something completely different! And yeah, i really mean different.
- The Radio Adventures of Superman (biffbampop.com)
- Kryptonite & 9 Other Popular Parts of the Superman Story We Owe to Film, Radio, and Television (weminoredinfilm.com)
- Evolution of the Superman Part 2: Birds, Planes, Stars and Meteors (Graphic Novelties) (popmatters.com)
- Super-Weird Facts That You Probably Didn’t Know About Superman (musingsofamildmanneredman.com)