"Up in the sky! Look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman! Yes -- it's Superman, strange visitor from the planet Krypton, who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, race a speeding bullet to its target, bend steel in his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great Metropolitan newspaper, fights a never-ending battle for truth and justice."
The wording changed slightly over the years, but the import of the message remains clear -- kids glued to their radios (and later, television) were in for another exciting adventure of the man who wore his underwear on the outside. And from 1940 through 1951, there were 2088 radio episodes to enjoy,
Bud "Beat the Clock" Collyer starred as the titular costumed hero of Superman, which began humbly as a three-times-a-week, 15-minute, syndicated program from New York City's WOR radio station. The show would soon change its name to The Adventures of Superman, and would appear on the Mutual Network for seven years before moving to ABC. Originally, the radio show varied from the comic book, which had debuted only two years earlier. Krypton was a planet directly opposite Earth's orbit around the Sun, the infant Superman grew to adulthood while journeying to Earth, and emerged from his rocket full grown -- therefore he was never adopted by the Kents, but started his career right off the bat. The radio show soon shifted to the comic book version of the saga, although the radio show introduced Kryptonite, as wel as characters Perry White and Jimmy Olsen -- features that the comic book adopted.
The link below takes you to the first two episodes of Superman: "The Baby from Krypton" and "Clark Kent, Reporter," which first aired on February 12 and 14, 1940.
Also included at the link are the first two episodes of the short-lived (May-September 1940) The Blue Beetle radio show, starring Frank Lovejoy.
The original Blue Beetle, Dan Garrett ( who was also the Blue Beetle in the radio show), originated in Mystery Men Comics #1 (August 1939) and was drawn by Charles Nicholas from a script that was perhaps written by Will Eisner. Garrett was a rookie cop who wore a special bulletproof costume and who took "vitamin 2X" to give him super energy. The Blue Beetle waged war against the forces of crime, assisted by Dr. Franz, a local pharmacist and inventor. The Blue Beetle had far more success in the comics than on the radio, the radio show lasting only 48 13-minute episodes. (BB also had a brief comic strip of his own, drawn anonymously by Jack Kirby.)
Enjoy this trip to the past and to childhood heroes of yore.