Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Big Audio Wednesday - More Superman and Batman

Sliding in under the wire after a hectic couple of days to present the next two chapters of "Dr. Blythe's Confidence Gang," a Batman/Superman team-up from 1945 on The Adventures of Superman radio series.

As I said last time, there's something I like about these adventures, in that they're not the Batman and Superman we know. By which I mean, they're not fully developed characters, with all the details and backstories, but they're also not as invulnerable. When Robin and Batman are stuck in a deviously simple deathtrap, you can sense real jeopardy in their voices. Even though you know there's no way they'll die, you can feel the pain, the human vulnerability, in a way you never do with today's iteration of the character.

Another thing I like: the way Bud Collyer's voice drops when he changes from Clark Kent to Superman. The Fleischer cartoons (also voiced by Collyer) featured the same gimmick, but usually only for a couple of words. On radio, Collyer would change his voice mid-sentence, and you could almost see his stature change and understand why people didn't immediately peg Kent as Superman (though not for lack of trying--almost every episode, he says something absent-minded that would give away his secret if anyone were actually paying attention to what he said, not that Batman is any better).

The story so far: Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Dick Grayson have all disappeared at Playland amusement park. Clark Kent and Batman, along with an Irish cop (all radio cops were Irish) named Riley, searched the River of Horrors ride and discovered a secret passage. Following the passage to its end, they came out near the Hall of Mirrors and spotted the false publicity agent the boys described to them. Batman and Clark Kent rush into the Hall of Mirrors after the mysterious white-haired figure.

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