Superman 1.37: The Invention of Lois Lane

Okay, listen up, everybody, because we’ve got a lot to do today, and we don’t have time for side chatter.

We’ve reached the Metropolis section of Superman: The Movie, so that means we’ve got a live Lois Lane on our hands, and for the rest of this week, we’re going to drill down into who this captivating and terrifying woman is, how she works, and what we’re going to do about her.

Back in the first post, we looked at June 1938’s Action Comics #1, which introduced the fantastic action hero Superman, and his spineless, unbearable coward of a secret identity, Clark Kent. We also met the only two supporting characters that the comic had for the first several years — editor George Taylor, and the girl covering the Daily Planet’s lovelorn beat, Miss Lois Lane.

Taylor didn’t really have a lot to say for himself, and as far as I recall, he hardly ever got up from behind his desk, so he was more of a framing device than an active character in the story — somebody to give Clark an assignment in the first couple panels, and congratulate him on turning in a good story at the end. The only real supporting character that Clark interacted with was Lois, and right from the start, she hated him worse than poison.

They didn’t have Kryptonite back then, to weaken Superman, and make him suffer. They didn’t need it. They had Lois Lane.

It’s a bold move, introducing a whole new variety of hero that the world has never seen before, and giving him a sidekick who can’t stand to be in the same room with him for more than ten seconds.

“I absolutely loathe you!” she said, in Action Comics #9. “You contemptible weakling! — Don’t you dare even to talk to me any more!”

So it’s a good thing they could fill up panels with Superman running along telephone wires and smacking people in the face with their own property, because it’s going to be tough keeping a conversation going under these conditions.

It was kind of like if Charles Schulz started Peanuts with only Charlie Brown and Lucy, and half the time, Lucy would just glare at Charlie Brown in icy silence. You’re not going to make a beloved Christmas special that way; you’d be lucky to get to Thanksgiving without breaking out into some kind of true-crime tragedy.

The problem is that this is not scaleable. By January 1939, there’s both a monthly comic book story and an ongoing daily newspaper strip, and not long after, they’re going to start a quarterly comic that’s just Superman stories. Having a sum total of two characters who can’t interact with each other puts a limit on the kinds of stories that you can tell, and that’s going to become increasingly restrictive over time.

For the first couple of years, the Clark/Lois stories basically went like this: Clark approaches Lois with some kind of conversation starter, Lois tells him to go take a single bound, Lois goes out by herself to investigate a news story, Lois gets in trouble, Superman rescues Lois, Clark files the story first, Lois vows revenge. The main variant was that sometimes at the beginning of the story, Lois pretends that she wants to hang out with Clark, but she’s actually using him to get someplace that she wants to go, and then she ghosts him and goes off on her own.

So if they think they’re going to generate multiple stories a month in every available storytelling medium for the next 80+ years with that premise, then they’re kidding themselves; it’s just not going to happen. One way or another, they’re going to have to figure out what else they can do with Lois Lane.

This problem hit hardest on the radio show, which premiered in February 1940 with fifteen-minute episodes, three days a week. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were writing the comic books and the comic strips, but the radio show was written by other people, and had its own narrative necessities.

That’s the medium where soap operas got started — on the radio, fifteen minutes a day — and it’s easy to see how soaps would naturally emerge from that format. Daily radio serials had a small cast of actors, and if a particular actor appeared on the show that day, then their character would probably stick around for the whole episode; you wouldn’t bother to pay an actor to come into the studio just to say a line or two. And once you’ve got them there, you have to give them something to do, so the characters would talk and talk and talk, to fill up fifteen minutes of airtime.

If you’ve got a small cast of characters who all live near each other — they have to, because otherwise how are they going to talk to each other all day — then you need to give them stuff to talk about, so they all have interpersonal problems and conflicts and concerns. The audience probably isn’t tuning in every single day, so you really only need something to happen once in a while, and then the characters can spend the next several days clustering together in little discussion groups to talk about what happened, and how everyone feels about it. And there you have it: a soap opera.

Now, in the comics, you can have as many characters as you know how to draw, so it’s okay for Clark and Lois to have little furious bite-size conversations that only last a panel or two, because then one of them can go off and have a dangerous adventure with somebody else, leaving the other behind. But on the radio, if you’re going to pay an actress to come in and say lines, then you’re going to want her to participate in the entire fifteen minutes.

In fact, the very idea of a radio show character saying “You contemptible weakling! — Don’t you dare even to talk to me any more!” is utterly unthinkable. The concept “don’t talk to me any more” is utterly foreign to a radio character; their entire existence is based on everyone continuing to talk, from now until the sponsorship message.

So as soon as the radio show started, the first thing they did was create a new editor that Clark could actually talk to — Perry White, the crusading newspaper editor and grouchy comedy chatterbox, who said more words in his first episode than George Taylor ever said in his entire three years in the comic book. And then they had to deal with Lois.

It took them three tries to get a working Lois on the show; the first one was played by Rollie Bester, and she showed up in episode 7 at the end of February 1940, in a storyline called “The Atomic Beam Machine”. Bester’s Lois was a tough dame, kind of film-noir sarcastic.

Here’s her introduction:

Lois:  Call in your office, Mr. White.

Perry:  Oh, thanks, Lois. Oh, by the way, Kent — I don’t think you know Miss Lane. Lois, this is Clark Kent.

Clark and Lois:  How do you do?

Perry:  Wait here until I come back, Kent, I won’t be a minute. (He exits.)

Lois:  The boy wonder, huh?

Clark:  Why, Miss Lane, what do you mean?

Lois:  They tell me you talked yourself into a job, went out west, and came back with the biggest story of the month, all in less than a week.

Clark:  Well, I — I guess I was pretty lucky.

Lois:  Huh! I’ll say you were lucky! Now you’re the white-haired boy, eh?

Clark:  I’m afraid I don’t quite understand…

Lois:  Got the old man hypnotized. He thinks you’re Horace Greeley.

Clark:  Ha — I’m afraid I don’t…

Lois:  Oh, don’t act so dumb. All this nonsense about a time bomb in the cellar! What’s the big idea?

Clark:  Miss Lane, I only wish I knew.

Lois:  You mean to tell me you didn’t make it up, out of your head?

Clark:  I certainly did not!

Lois:  I don’t believe it.

Now, in the comics, they would have jumped away from this conversation after two panels, to go see what somebody else is up to, but they’ve paid Rollie to appear in this episode, so she’s going to stick around for another minute and a half.

Clark:  Listen! Don’t you hear something?

Lois:  I hear the presses in the basement.

Clark:  No, no — outside! Come to the window.

(He opens the window.)

Clark:  Now — don’t you hear anything?

Lois:  What do you think you hear?

Clark:  A plane! There’s a plane out there, flying low!

Lois:  Well, I’ll be — now, look, Mister Kent, this is a big town! You’ll find quite a few planes flying around here, all day and all night. If it bothers you, you’d better go back to the farm.

Clark:  No, no, really, I mean it —

Lois:  Yes, really, I mean it, too. Tell the old man about your big discovery; here he comes now.

Perry:  Well? Well? Anything new?

Lois:  Yeah, your star reporter heard a plane.

So she’s fun, right away — a complete personality. She’s very different from the ice queen of the comic, with an actual sense of humor. This kind of relationship won’t be feasible over the long term either, but at least there’s more going on here than we see in the comics of the time.

A few weeks later, Rollie Bester was replaced by Helen Choate, and her Lois wasn’t any friendlier to Clark. Here’s a scene from late March 1940, when she’s rescued from a steam laundry in “The Prison Riot”:

Lois:  No! Please! Please!

Superman:  There she is — fainted, too. Got to get her out of here, and turn off that steam, quick! And when she comes around, she’ll just see Clark Kent, and so will all the rest.

Lois:  (coming around) Oh… the tunnel… down that tunnel…

Guard:  Miss Lane, are you all right?

Lois:  Yeah… I’m all right.

Guard:  Well, I reckon you can thank your friend, Clark Kent, for that.

Lois:  Kent? (disgusted:) I didn’t see you. How’d you get here?

Clark:  Well, gee, Miss Lane, never mind that now. The point is, I did get here, and just in time!

Lois:  Was it you that got me out? I thought I saw a tremendous figure in a red cape.

Clark:  Well, gosh, I’d sure hate to disappoint you, Miss Lane. I guess you figured I was Superman!

Lois:  Oh, no. Don’t worry, Clark Kent. Why did you stop to look after me? If you’d been on your job, you’d have gone after those convicts, down the tunnel! (with dripping contempt:) Oh, no. You’ll never be confused with Superman.

This second Lois is closer to the one in the comics — bitter and disdainful, without the benefit of being funny. This is from the next episode, “The Mystery of Dyerville”:

Perry:  Hello there, Lois! Come in, close the door.

Lois:  Did you want to see both of us, Mr. White?

Perry:  I certainly did. You made out so well on that prison break, that I’m going to send you and Kent out again.

Clark:  Oh, gee, that’s great, Mr. White!

Lois:  I’m sure Mr. Kent could cover it much better alone.

Perry:  Well, you’re going along, Lois, so sit down and listen. Have either of you heard of what’s going on in Dyerville?

Lois:  I haven’t heard a thing about anything.

Clark:  I have, chief!

Lois:  Oh, the human encyclopedia, he knows about everything!

(They talk about the mystery going on…)

Lois:  And that’s where you’re sending me and Kent, Mr. White?

Perry:  (sarcastic) If you’re sure you don’t mind, Lois.

Lois:  Well, I’d feel safer with a more adequate escort.

Clark:  Well, gosh, Miss Lane, I — I’ll do the best I can to keep you out of trouble.

Lois:  Thank you, Mr. Kent, I’m usually able to do that much for myself.

They can’t keep that up for much longer; it’s dreadful. Lois doesn’t have any reason for being vicious here, she’s just a generalized area-denial weapon that makes things more tense and unpleasant. Again, if they could cut away quickly to something else, then they might be able to keep it up, but conversations that go on this way for a minute at a time aren’t that much fun to listen to.

So it’s a relief in June when the third Lois comes along — Joan Alexander, who instantly brightens things up. Here’s her intro in June 1940, in “Horace Morton’s Weather Machine”:

Clark:  Hello, Miss Lane!

Lois:  Oh, hello, Mr. Kent!

Clark:  Say, you’re looking great! Well, what’s new?

Lois:  Ask me later, after I’ve seen the old man.

Clark:  White? Well, that’s where I’m headed myself, he just called me.

Lois:  He just called me too! Say, what’s the big idea?

Clark:  Ha! Haven’t you heard? Conference of Leaders of American Journalism! Well, here we go…

They go in and talk to Perry, and everyone’s in a great mood — each taking their turn to have a little wisecrack. Perry wants to talk about Lois’ uncle Horace Morton, who has a secret weather-predicting system that appears to be the most accurate ever recorded.

Lois:  I know what you’re leading up to, Mr. White. You want me to go out and get an interview from Uncle Horace on how he does it, but it just isn’t any use.

Perry:  Just the same, young lady, that’s where you’re going! You, and Kent!

Lois:  Aw, please, Mr. White; I haven’t seen him for years! I doubt if he even knows I exist!

And that’s it, no backtalk about not wanting to go on assignment with Clark; the two of them are perfectly happy taking a long car trip, and investigating the mystery together. They talk like companions in an adventure story — asking each other questions, pointing out mysterious details, chewing over the evidence. You can’t do all of that, if the two leads despise each other and can’t have a civil conversation.

Here’s a scene from the next episode, after they’ve seen Horace make a strange weather prediction, and are left alone to talk it over:

Lois:  Mr. Kent, what do you make of it?

Clark:  I’m darned if I know. But I’ll tell you this — something awfully funny’s going on around here.

Lois:  What do you mean?

Clark:  I don’t know. But all that machinery, and the electricity!

Lois:  Oh, that’s for the weather forecast. He said so, himself!

Clark:  Oh, bunk. Don’t you believe it. I’ve been in weather bureaus before, and I never saw anything like that! They use barometers, and wind speed indicators, and charts, and stuff like that!

Lois:  Well, he made a forecast. If he didn’t use the machinery, how did he do it?

Clark:  Eh, that’s what gets me. As far as I can see, he didn’t do a thing, he just grabbed it out of the air! And of course, you realize he was laughing at us, all the time.

Lois:  Yeah, he certainly was having a whole lot of fun.

Clark:  If you ask me, he didn’t make a forecast at all. He just said so, to throw us off.

Lois:  He’s a weird person, Mr. Kent.

So you can see how this relationship is a lot more story-productive than the previous versions of Lois. The two of them are standing around and discussing the thing that they just saw, like good little soap opera characters, avoiding the sarcastic tension of a couple months earlier that would just get in the way of the story.

Unfortunately, to get here, they have to dumb Lois down — she’s the sidekick now, asking questions and making incorrect guesses, so that Clark can explain the plot to her. That diminishes her character to some extent, smoothing away the rough edges that originally defined her, and making her a more generic adventure-story talk-to. Still, this is a Lois Lane that can keep on doing radio stories with Clark for another eleven years; if she’d stayed as aloof and unfriendly as the second version, she would have been written out, and replaced with Jimmy Olsen, a younger and more naturally subservient sidekick.

This Lois-taming process only took four months on the radio, from February to June 1940, but it took a lot longer in the comics. This is a panel from June 1940’s Superman #5, and they’re still making a big deal about what a coward Clark is, and how little Lois respects him.

There are some ice-thawing moments, like this panel from Action Comics #26 in July 1940, where Lois is concerned about Clark’s safety — and she’s calling him Clark instead of Mr. Kent, which the radio Lois won’t be able to bring herself to do until November.

But then it’s back to the coward material in September, when she expects him to have a brawl with a guy at a construction site.

They finally figure out the benefits of a more friendly Lois by Action Comics #31, in December 1940. In this story, Clark gives Lois a lift to Brentville, a quiet vacation town where it turns out some bank robbers are filling the streets with anaesthetic gas to steal money that they use to build a deadly subatomic death-ray gun.

So you can see the story-productive benefits of a more placid Lois. The writer wants to get Clark and Lois to a specific location together to have an adventure, and the easiest way to do it is to back off the coward stuff, and just make them friends.

In fact, that technique works so well that they do it again three months later in Action Comics #34, using exactly the same panel design. By early 1941, the comic book has caught up to what the radio show figured out last June.

Strangely, the comic strip hangs on to Angry Lois for way longer than the others; in this example from October 1940, Lois is apparently furious with Clark just for coming up and speaking to her.

In November, he helps her to get her job back after she’s been fired for cause, a good deed that gets Lois all the way to “I’m afraid I’ve misjudged Clark. He’s — he’s okay!!

But months later, in April 1941, she’s saying, “Odd, Clark — half the time I can’t make up my mind whether you’re a swell fellow or a heel…”

It takes another seven months for the comic strip to finally catch up to the idea that Lois and Clark can peacefully coexist in the same newspaper, which finally happens in November 1941.

So that is the journey of the early Lois Lane, who finds it in her heart to make peace with her co-star three times over, across three mediums. Oh, except for the comic strip in April 1942, when she tells him that if he scoops her again, she’ll bash his brains in. The end.

A critique of Superman’s
relationship with Lois…
1.38: Unattainable You


For folks keeping track at home, the illustrations today came from these stories:

  • Header slap: Daily comic strip, “The Unknown Strikes”  (June 1940)
  • Wait, Lois: Action Comics #1, “Superman, Champion of the Oppressed!”  (June 1938)
  • I despise you & You contemptible weakling: Action Comics #9, “Wanted: Superman”  (Feb 1939)
  • New York-bound train: New York World’s Fair Comics #1, “Superman at the World’s Fair”  (April 1939)
  • Not poison ivy: Daily comic strip, “Superman and the Runaway”  (June 1939)
  • Wet blanket: Action Comics #22, “Europe at War, Part 1”  (March 1940)
  • You did this, you clumsy: Daily comic strip, “The Big Boss”  (April 1940)
  • Ruthless racketeer: Superman #5, “The Slot Machine Racket”  (Summer 1940)
  • I just remembered: Action Comics #26, “Professor Cobalt’s Clinic”  (July 1940)
  • Sock that bully: Superman #6, “The Construction Scam”  (Sept/Oct 1940)
  • Drive me to Brentville: Action Comics #31, “In the Grip of Morpheus”  (Dec 1940)
  • The Laurey girl: Action Comics #34, “The Beautiful Young Heiress”  (March 1941)
  • Not interested: Daily comic strip, “Pawns of the Master”  (Oct 1940)
  • That’s swell: Daily comic strip, “Pawns of the Master”  (Nov 1940)
  • Swell fellow or a heel: Daily comic strip, “The Scientists of Sudden Death”  (April 1941)
  • The greatest difficulty: Daily comic strip, “Superman’s Hollywood Debut”  (Nov 1941)
  • Bash your brains in: Daily comic strip, “Lair of the Leer”  (April 1942)
  • You needn’t hurry back: Action Comics #28, “The Strongarm Assaults”  (Sept 1940)

A critique of Superman’s
relationship with Lois…
1.38: Unattainable You

Movie list

— Danny Horn

21 thoughts on “Superman 1.37: The Invention of Lois Lane

  1. The radio show kept Lois’s name but changed the editor’s – I wonder why? Maybe their legal department couldn’t get clearance on “George Taylor.”

    Some have speculated that the name “Lois Lane” was inspired by The Shadow’s girlfriend Margo Lane, but I don’t know if Siegel and/or Shuster ever confirmed that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t cite a source for this, but somewhere I read that Lois Lane was an homage to the actress Lola Lane, who played daring girl reporter Torchy Blaine in B movies. On the other hand, it is often noted that the name Clark Kent combines the first names of Doc Savage (Clark Savage, Jr) and the Shadow (Lamont Cranston on the radio, but in the pulps he was actually Kent Allard, who assumed Lamont Cranston’s identity while Cranston was in Europe). The affinity for the Shadow might indicate the Margot Lane homage.


  2. They finally figure out the benefits of a more friendly Lois by Action Comics #31, in December 1940. In this story, Clark gives Lois a lift to Brentville, a quiet vacation town where it turns out some bank robbers are filling the streets with anesthetic gas to steal money that they use to build a deadly subatomic death-ray gun.

    This story was used in an early ep of the TV show. I am now trying to remember if TV Lois had the same attitude towards Clark.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I recall, Noel Neill’s Lois was always warm and friendly to Clark, an attitude that seemed to be grounded in the conviction that he was something of an idiot savant, a very sweet but very dumb guy who was somehow good at journalism. Phyllis Coates’ Lois couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to Clark at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a different memory of the differences between the two Loises on the Reeves show.

        Phyllis Coates paid attention to Clark because they had a working relationship with mutual respect for one another as equals. In moments when that respect would slip on Clark’s end, Coates’s Lois didn’t shy away from reminding him.

        By contrast, Neill’s Lois tried to hold her own with Clark, but she used a cutesy baby talk and her feminine wiles to make her way in man’s world. As a result, she was more air-headed and a bit of a pushover in comparison with Coates’s version.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I always remember Noel Neill’s Lois looking delighted every time Clark or Jimmy did something useful, and looking disappointed when one of them did something dumb. I particularly remember her dismayed exclamation “Oh, Clark!” when Clark made naive remarks.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Lately I have found a treasure trove of old Superman radio shows on YouTube, while I am decluttering my home and room. I have just recently listened to the shows you’ve mentioned. I too was very surprised by Lois’s initial outright hostility toward Clark on the radio show. However, I thought Lois did have a reasonable motivation for her attitude – professional jealousy. To her, Clark was an upstart yokel, who was stealing scoops away from her, and she was just plain jealous. The initial radio Lois was very ambitious, wanting to make a name for herself and fighting to get ahead in the man’s world of newspaper journalism in the 1940’s. While I agree that such outright hostility would be unsustainable for the characters, it was an interesting, if not somewhat surprising, twist, at least to me.

    The other thing that has surprised me about the radio serial is how Superman is seemingly managing to keep his existence secret or mostly secret. He’s rescuing people, fighting bad guys as Superman, yet he’s still more of a rumored character, not well known by the public, despite even Perry White asking Clark if he knows anything about this Superman.

    Also, as yet, no one has expressed any suspicion whether or not Clark is Superman. Clark even sometimes takes credit for just finding someone that Superman rescued (who luckily fainted, not realizing they were being rescued by Superman). It’s an interesting balance that the radio show is playing – secrets within secrets – not just the secret that Clark is really Superman, but even the existence of Superman himself, despite some seemingly miraculously unexplainable events (a dam being fixed and flood waters re-routed) or even Clark being able to hear phone conversations with his super hearing. When someone asks Clark, “How did you hear that?” He just says, “Oh never mind about that.”

    On some of these radio shows, the announcer says that are directed by George Lowther. George Lowther is also the name of the guy who wrote a Superman back-story novel in the 1940’s, which you have mentioned in a prior post, Danny. Some interesting connections.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s so long since I watched The Adventures of Superman, but I don’t remember Lois being as interested (or sometimes outright obsessed) with proving that Clark was Superman as the Lois of the comics was.
    But I do seem to recall a somewhat adversarial attitude, particularly when they were both working on the same story. Lois wasn’t above ditching Clark or sending him chasing after a wild goose (or is it wildly chasing a goose?); naturally this only made it easier for him to switch to The Man of Steel and rescue her from the peril that she immediately got into (usually as a result of her thinking that she could handle things herself.)
    I can actually see the original incarnation of Lois Lane being able to fend for herself, but I don’t see how the later versions managed to survive before there was a Superman.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “I had crushes on several attractive girls who either didn’t know I existed or didn’t care I existed.” -Jerry Siegel
    Perhaps it was a matter of “write what you know.”
    I was surprised to see the hostility of the early Lois. She seems unreasonable. The issue that comes across to me is that they had no idea how to write a female character. I think we owe the writers of the radio show for creating the Lois we know today. They contributed more than “Up, up and away!” I’m interested in finding out who they were. I guess I’ll be checking out YouTube. Thanks, Tim,for letting me know about that.
    I remember Phyllis Coates as “the other one” on Superman. As a child, I found Noel a more interesting actress, cute and more fun as Lois, though her constant need to be rescued annoyed me. I remember Clark seemed to always beat her to the scoop, apparently much like original comic book Lois . Or am I misremembering? I guess I’ll be looking up Superman tv shows, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know the most of season 1 full episodes of the 1950’s TV show “The Adventures of Superman” can be found for free on, the Internet Archive, but it takes some persistence to find it. Because many items are user-submitted, in my opinion, there are not always good consistent subject headings or finding tools on uploaded items on – a good librarian would better ensure multiple access points for the materials. If you have trouble finding the 1950’s TV show, let me know, and I will try to re-create my search and pull up the exact link. If you don’t mind paying for episodes, I believe you can buy or rent 1950’s Superman TV show episodes on YouTube and Amazon Prime.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the hint about I was surprised to find that the episodes were not easily available for free either on one of the many nostalgia tv channels or through my library. There was one posted on YouTube which was largely an ad for U. S. Savings Stamps! They seem to be readily available if I want to pay for them, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Rollie Bester was married to scifi writer Alfred Bester, who also wrote a few radio episodes of THE SHADOW and spent some time writing for DC Comics (though some online sources claim he wrote for Superman, he worked mainly on the Green Lantern and scripted adventures or the Spectre and others).

    Joan Alexander spent much of her radio career alternating between soap operas (usually a secondary or replacement heroine; she was the ex-wife on THE SECOND MRS. BURTON, later phased out, and the second wife of YOUNG DR. MALONE) and playing Lois-esque gal Friday sidekicks (Della Street on PERRY MASON which on radio was *also* a soap, Ellen Deering on PHILO VANCE). She’s one of my favorite Loises.

    As for radio conservation of actors and one or two line roles, that’s why they usually had the regulars double. Thus most bit operators/secretaries are usually Alexander doubling (unless there’s also a guest actress in a larger role, i.e. the Scarlet Widow’s appearances). Most male bits were filled by narrator Jackson Beck (taking over from original narrator/director/writer George Lowther, mentioned above, who wore a lot of hats but wasn’t vocally versatile, and besides he just plain got too busy). Beck was the only cast member at every recording session; even Clayton “Superman” Collyer had the occasional day off when influences by Kryptonite, while Batman took the spotlight, or during a “meanwhile back at the ranch” outing. If a guest actor as a featured arc-specific character couldn’t come in for a small scene, Beck filled in for those too, especially if there was a teaser first appearance (at the end of a different storyline) or conclusion before setting up the next plot. His character of high-pitched adenoidal copy boy Beany Martin was created to assume Jimmy Olsen’s lines and function when Jimmy’s actor Jackie Kelk was doing his weekly rehearsal for his prime time show THE ALDRICH FAMILY, though the two eventually met up on occasion.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I’m listening to the Superman radio show on YouTube, it seems like some of the villains or even some of the other character voices will change from episode to episode. I’m wondering why this was, if this was the case? Did they think the audience would not notice a different voice actor?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Conflicts and/or budget consciousness were the reason. The show was broadcast from New York, and almost all of the actors also worked the rounds of the daytime soap operas or other kids adventure serials (Mark Trail, Dick Tracy, etc.) The bulk of the actors were also doing Broadway shows. The other reason is having Jackson Beck or someone else already in an episode fill in saved them paying an additional actor.

        These aired as a Monday through Friday fifteen minute serial, not back to back, with no reruns, and the main audience was kids. So it was assumed if they did notice a voice switch, they’d pay less attention to it than to the cliffhanger or the endless plugs for Kellogg’s Pep premiums.


  7. Some people are sensitive to voices. I’m one of them. I have a 3 year old granddaughter and I can tell when the same voice actor is voicing different characters on the same show and notice when voices change.

    OTOH, I’m mildly face blind and spend a lot of time when I start watching a new show saying things like “which of the 3 brunettes is she?” I guess my ears compensate for my visual quirks.


  8. The difference I remember from the 1950s TV show is that Phyllis Coates episodes are more serious, with a real sense of menace– slightly more adult. And the Coates Lois is similarly serious, focused on getting her story, frustrated when Clark scoops her, etc. But maybe they found that local TV stations wanted something lighter as a kids’ show? Because the later episodes are lighter, with more comic bits, and a Lois that is much softer–it’s not just Noel Niell’s performance–it’s the scripts.

    What I really like about that show is that Clark Kent doesn’t act like a wimp much at all. It diminishes Lois–makes her more like a little sister who gets into trouble, and sometimes it’s Clark, not Superman, who has to get her out of it.


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