The Adventures of Superman played every weekday on radio stations all across America in the 1940’s, and produced some of the most iconic elements in the legend of the Man of Steel, including Perry White, the Daily Planet, Jimmy Olson, and even Kryptonite.
Because it’s Christmas Day, SCIFI.radio presents a special presentation of the Adventures of Superman Christmas special, called Superman’s Christmas Adventure. Based directly on a comic book published in 1940 by the same title, it features the original cast members of the 1940’s radio serial, including the legendary Bud Collyer as Superman / Clark Kent.
After being assigned to write a Christmas story for the Daily Planet, Clark Kent and Lois Lane purvey Metropolis’ department stores. They meet young Billy Connelly, a poor young boy who is unable to afford anything for Christmas, and take pity on him. Lois and Clark return to Perry White’s office, and suggest a Daily Planet-sponsored Toy Drive to help out needy children. Clark also sees a rich boy, James Daniels, who has many toys but is spoilt and tired of them all, throwing a tantrum when he receives childish playthings, demanding greater gifts instead. That night, as Superman, Clark takes young James on a tour of the city showing him less fortunate children, and James realizes how much he has, and how little others do, having a Christmas revelation.
The secret of who played the character Superman was kept from the show’s inception in 1940 until 1946, when Collyer did an interview with Time Magazine about a campaign associated with the show against racial intolerance, coinciding with the famous series of episodes that pitted Superman against the KKK, called Clan of the Fiery Cross.
The serial 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 February 4, 1949, as a 15-minute serial, running three or, usually, five times a week. From February 7 to June 24, 1949, it ran as a thrice-weekly half-hour show. The series shifted to ABC Saturday evenings on October 29, 1949, and then returned to afternoons twice a week on June 5, 1950, continuing on ABC until March 1, 1951. In all, 2,088 original episodes of The Adventures of Superman aired on American radio.
Half of them have been lost to posterity, having been broadcast live and not recorded in any way. Only 1,152 episodes survive today, and SCIFI.radio broadcasts one a day in original broadcast order (consult our program schedule for broadcast times in your time zone).
We hope you enjoy this special holiday offering. You can hear it today at 2pm Pacific / 5pm Eastern, and again after the regular episode of The Adventures of Superman at 6 pm Pacific / 9 pm Eastern.
Happy holidays to all our listeners around the world. May peace fall upon the world like a blanket of Christmas snow.
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