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Make no mistake folks, it all began here. No really, I mean it. Before this radio show – Superman only super-jumped. There was no kryptonite, no Perry White, no Jimmy Olsen. Nada. It was on the original radio show that Superman first met Batman. So with all these firsts, it should be no surprise that actor Bud Collyer set the tone for all superheroes ever forth in history. With radio and animation acting, there is one singular focus – the voice. And Collyer knew exactly what to do. He understood the psychology of the character(s). Clark Kent was one man, while Superman was entirely another. And the voice change reflects that. Even in a single sentence there would be the transformation from one character to another
Clark Kent: This must be…
Superman: …a job for Superman!
And it was as simple as that. Not only did he separate the two characters, but he spoke of their attributes as well. Clark’s speak is that of the everyman, where as Superman was very eloquent, strong and intelligent. He was morally certain of everything he said, and said it with conviction. Now, on the flip side of the coin, there really isn’t much going on in terms of character development in this show.
Superman has 8 minutes per episode to set up what he and Lois are doing, leave, Lois finds trouble, Superman shows up and saves the day. I encountered an episode in which Superman and Lois were at a circus, a gorilla breaks loose and then Superman shows up and fights the gorilla, a panther and two lions. But of course, he doesn’t harm them, just puts them in a full nelson (no, I’m not being theatrical, he literally puts the panther in a full nelson) and then places it back in it’s cage.