The Adventures of Superman: "The Baby from Krypton," (2/12/1940)

One minute into the first Adventures of Superman radio show, the announcer's narration goes past the bombastic introduction ("Faster than an airplane! More powerful than a locomotive! Impervious to bullets") and straight to the narrative.

This Krypton is a race of supermen, and within the great scientific hall, a stern Jor-L addresses the members of the council. "As much as I dread uttering these words, I come to the conclusion that Krypton is doomed!" 

"The sun is gradually pulling Krypton closer to it. Within a month, possibly only a week, the gravitational pull will be so tremendous that Krypton will not be able to weather the strength. Then, our planet will explode like a giant bubble, destroying every living thing on it."

He is met by laughs and derided. Even his plans to transport the population of Krypton to Earth is blown off: "If Krypton is to die, we shall die with it," the head of the council quips. Jor-L responds, with no shortage of drama:

"When Krypton is shattered into a thousand million stars, when the glorious civilization we have built is no more, when you and your families are swept from Krypton like dust!"

As he leaves, he vows to build his own spaceship for the salvation of his wife, Lara and their infant son.

Lara acknowledges how "terribly hot" the surface of Krypton has started to become, because of the proximity to the sun, before Jor-L elaborates on his new spaceship model, aimed to land on the planet Earth. It is the only planet with an atmosphere "similar" enough to Krypton's for them to breathe.

But bedtime will not come for the couple about to retire: the fatal quakes begin, and Lara makes the fateful decision to send their son Kal-L instead. The sky is fiery red, the mountains "fall in," and explosions and quakes rock the planet.

The rocket takes off as the quakes intensify, with Lara screaming his name. The narrator describes the destruction of Krypton, left as "stars to go off forever into the night sky." But what of the child? Will he make it to Earth?

The second episode, "Clark Kent, Reporter," (February 12th), features Superman landing on Earth and stepping out of his rocket "fully grown." He saves a professor and his son from a runaway trolley, which is about to crash into a tree knocked across the tracks. 

He tells them he has no name, and how some would call him "a superman." They promise to keep his existence a secret, and suggest he becomes a news reporter to observe mankind up close. 

The writers put all the emphasis on the action on Krypton, but stuck on the landing. Along with the newspaper strip 13 months prior, Superman was making greater inroads as a media figure; in trying to craft his appeal beyond the comics page, new twists and liberties were taken. It's a constant in most every version of the Man of Steel outside the comics page.


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