The Adventures of Superman,
adapted from the
Comics character created in
Superman), came to
syndicated show on
New York City's
Mutual, it was broadcast from
1949, as a 15-minute serial, running three or, usually, five times a
January 31 to
1949 it ran
as a thrice-weekly half-hour show. The series shifted to ABC Saturday
1949, and then to twice-a-week in June 1950, continuing on ABC until
The character created by
Jerry Siegel and
Joe Shuster arrived on radio not long after the comic book and took
on an added dimension with
Bud Collyer in the title role. During
World War II and the post-war years, the juvenile adventure radio
serial, sponsored by
Kellogg's Pep, was a huge success, with many listeners following the
quest for "truth, justice and the American way" in the daily radio
broadcasts, the comic book stories and the newspaper comic strip.
Airing in the late afternoon (variously at 5:15pm,
5:30pm and 5:45pm), the radio serial engaged its young, after-school
audience with its exciting and distinctive opening:
- Faster than a speeding bullet!
More powerful than a locomotive!
Able to leap tall buildings with a single bound!
Look ! Up in the sky!
It's a bird!
It's a plane!
Because Superman's true identity was a secret, it is
often believed that the identity of radio actor Collyer also remained a
secret. But while it is true that Collyer was left off the program's
credits, as early as
Time ran an article identifying the actor and joshing him for
his many Sunday school fans. In 1946, Collyer's name was finally added
to the radio credits.
Since there were no reruns at that time, the series
often used plot devices and plot twists to allow Collyer to have
Kryptonite was the most famous of these, allowing Superman to be
incapacitated and incoherent with pain while secondary characters took
the focus instead. At other times,
Robin appeared in Superman's absence.
The scripts by B.P. Freeman and Jack Johnstone were
directed by Robert and Jessica Maxwell, George Lowther, Allen Ducovny
and Mitchell Grayson. Sound effects were created by Jack Keane, Al
Binnie, Keene Crockett and John Glennon.
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