Superman Saturday: Ain’t it a shame about the radium rain?

October 4, 2014

Clark Kent and Lois Lane are in New Birmingham to interview Lois’ uncle, meteorologist Horace Morton, who has a supposedly foolproof method for predicting the weather. They soon learn, however, that he has discovered a means to control the weather, and is being used by a criminal syndicate to aid them in their crimes.

Dr. Morton was also aiding a local radium refinery to find a new process for refining pitchblende ore. When Clark and Lois discover his assistant dead, with a handful of pitchblende, the police arrest Morton for murder. However, the syndicate actually committed the murder, and also abducted Morton from the jail . . .

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Superman Saturday: Robbery, assault and battery

September 27, 2014

Clark and Lois are assigned to interview Lois’ uncle, meteorologist Horace Morton, at his observatory outside the town of New Birmingham. Morton has an uncanny ability to predict the weather with near-perfect accuracy, and Perry White wants to know how.

However, there is apparently also a connection between Dr. Morton’s predictions and a crime spree in New Birmingham. Morton’s assistant Elmer Rogers knows something but is afraid to let Clark and Lois know what he knows in Morton’s presence. Then, during a freak hailstorm, Lois and Clark hear a gunshot, and discover Rogers dead . . .

Episode 54: Horace Morton’s Weather Machine, Part 3 (1940/06/14)


Clark and Lois examine the body of Elmer Rogers, and Clark finds the gun that was used to shoot him. Just then, Dr. Morton comes in. He behaves quite erratically: he suggests that the fatal wound was self-inflicted, and despite Clark’s warning he picks up the gun and examines it as if tampering with a crime scene is the most normal thing in the world. When Clark tells him to call the police, he questions whether they need to be involved.

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Superman Saturday: Raindrops keep falling on my head

September 20, 2014

Aaaand . . . we’re back, after a one-week hiatus. This week: a new Superman adventure: “Horace Morton’s Weather Machine.” So, without further ado . . .

Episode 52: Horace Morton’s Weather Machine, Part 1 (1940/06/10)


Clark Kent and Lois Lane are called into Perry White’s office with a new assignment. Dr. Horace Morton is a leading private meteorologist with an uncanny accuracy—”practically 100 percent correct,” as Perry puts it—but he refuses to reveal his prediction system. He also happens to be Lois’ uncle, so Perry wants her to take advantage of the family relationship to try and soak him for his secret. (I’m sure there’s a conflict of interest involved here, but this is a children’s program, so we don’t have to worry about such trivial matters as journalistic ethics.) Lois is reluctant, but relents, and she and Clark drive to the town of New Birmingham, where Morton lives at an observatory atop Music Mountain with his man Friday, Elmer Rogers. “Give my regards to Uncle Horace,” snarks Perry.

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Superman Saturday: Treasure, that is what you are, honey, you’re my golden star

September 6, 2014

Here we go again! We’re on the home stretch of “Alonzo Craig, Arctic Explorer.”

Clark Kent is on assignment in the Arctic, in search of the missing explorer, the aforementioned Captain Craig. He and his navigator, Captain Walters (whose first name, we now learn, is Ike) have rescued fellow searchers Ray Martin, also of the Daily Planet, and Professor Peters, from the museum, from the Kunalaka Indians. Martin died shortly after revealing the location of the Indians’ treasure hoard, hidden in a sunken temple carved into the Arctic ice. Clark, Peters, and Walters explore the temple, where Clark (as Superman) confronts the Kunalakas’ never-dying medicine man—none other than Alonzo Craig himself, apparently gone mad. . . .

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Superman Long Weekend: We come from the land of ice and snow

September 1, 2014

Happy Labour Day! There’s nothing like a long weekend for relaxing, resting, and taking in the simple pleasure of a pulp radio serial. So we return to the adventures of Superman and “Alonzo Craig, Arctic Explorer.”

Clark Kent has been dispatched to Ellesmere Island in the Arctic to determine the whereabouts of vanished Arctic explorer Alonzo Craig, or of fellow Daily Planet reporter Ray Martin and Professor Peters, who also disappeared after going in search of Craig. Captain Walters, Craig’s crusty navigator, thinks the explorer might have discovered the Luck of the North, a vast treasure hoard possessed by a tribe of white-skinned Indians who live in the Arctic and are ruled by a witch doctor who is rumoured to never die.

In spite of a seemingly supernatural warning to stay away, Clark and Walters travel by dogsled and find an igloo that is the last known location of Martin and Peters. There, they are ambushed by the Indians, and Walters is injured. Clark changes to Superman and fights their attackers off. Inside the igloo, they find a mysterious clue to the fate of the previous search party . . .
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Superman Saturday: The Flying North Remix

August 23, 2014

Since the last installment of Superman Saturday, it has been one year and two months, exactly. I was planning on kicking off a fresh “season” with the continuatino of “Alonso Craig, Arctic Explorer,” but decided that since a) it’s been so long, b) I’ve still got one or two more things to say about the radio series The Adventures of Superman, and c) I spent the night watching Peter Capaldi’s starring debut on Doctor Who, I decided the easiest, most expedient, and smartest thing to do would be to remix and repost the first two episodes, then start fresh next weekend instead.

As I said last year: “Alonso Craig” is another of the “lost explorers discover mysterious natives with ancient treasure” kind of story that we seem to see recurring with early Superman. Of course it’s not a unique trope: as I recall, Hergé did it two or three times with Tintin, as well, amongst others. Recycling story lines for the pulps is nothing new.

Without further ado, then, I re-presennt . . . Read the rest of this entry »

The deaths of Superman

August 20, 2014

You bruise, but you don’t kill, do you . . . Clark? – Batman, Justice League: War

Everybody knows Superman is the Big Blue Boy Scout. Sure, he and Brainiac might level half of Metropolis while duking it out. In the end, though, he’ll find a way to banish the villain without destroying him. Superman doesn’t kill his enemies, except when he absolutely must, and even then it’s a shocking and traumatic experience. Witness, for example, his reaction to killing Zod in Man of Steel, or even accidentally causing Doctor Light’s death in last year’s “Trinity War” story arc.1

However, it wasn’t always that way. Supes began his career as a bruiser, right from Superman #1 in 1939. In one story in that magazine, he kills a military torturer by flinging him over the horizon, then causes the death of an enemy pilot by wrecking his plane in midair.2 The body count just goes up from there.

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