The Adventures of Superman

Batman's Great Mystery

Chapter 5 of 11 - February 9, 1948

Dated Death
Go back in time to see what happened in 1948.

This 11-chapter adventure, 'Batman's Great Mystery,' aired in 1948. Bud Collyer played Clark Kent/Superman from the radio program's inception on February 12, 1940 until its season-before-last. From 1941-1943 Fleischer made 17 short animated movies. The radio cast voiced their characters for these movies.

Narrator

After disappearing mysteriously for almost two weeks, the famous Batman apparently reappeared in the Metropolitan Auditorium, and delivered a rabble rousing un-American speech. Then confronted by Robin, his young companion, Batman struck the bewildered youngster, knocking him out. A short time later, Robin, having been brought home by Superman, received a telephone call apparently from Batman, who told him to come alone to a shady hotel on the waterfront, where he would explain his strange actions, and when Robin arrived there, he walked into an ambush. Meanwhile, unaware of this development Superman, disguised as reporter Clark Kent, was at the Opera House in Willow Falls thirty miles away, where Batman was delivering another speech. As he left the stage and walked into the wings, followed by the applause of the crowd, Kent stepped forward to meet him:


Kent

Batman

Just a minute, Batman!

Kent! What are you doing...


Kent

I want to talk to you.


Batman

Yeah? What about?


Kent

About Robin, and other things.


Batman

Look, I haven't time to discuss this.



Kent

Batman

You're to take time. You and Robin are as close as brothers. You practically brought him up!


Well, what are you getting at?


Kent

A few hours ago at the Metropolis Auditorium you struck him and knocked him out.


Batman

So what? Little punk asked for it.


Kent

That's not like you, Batman. You never slugged Robin before, or talked like this about him. What's more you never made rabble-rousing, un-American speeches before. Something very fishy going on and I intend to find out what it is.


Batman

Look, Kent, I don't intend to stand here and argue with you. I told you I'm expecting some phone calls at my hotel. Good night.


Kent

No you don't Batman. You're going to stay right here until we straighten this out.


Batman

Take your hands off me, Kent, or...

Kent

Or what? Will you try to slug me too?


Batman

Ye-es, I might forget myself and do just that.


Kent

Batman

.

Kent

That wouldn't be smart, would it, considering who I am?


If you think I'm afraid of you just because you're a reporter for a big newspaper you're crazy.


Well, I didn't mean that, because I'm a reporter.

Batman

What did you mean, then?


Kent

Don't you know?


Batman

No. I don't know what you're talking about and I don't care. I'm going to the Willow Falls Hotel.


Kent

Wait a minute!

Music

Narrator

Steel fingers locked on the Bat-like costume of the man's arm, Kent holds him fast, and there's a strange expression in his eyes as he gazes into the masked face before him. Then he hears his own voice, the voice of Superman, talking to him.


Kent

Batman is the only man in the world who knows that I, Superman, am Clark Kent. But this man doesn't know it.


Batman

Say, what's the matter with you?


Kent

So, I was right!


Batman

What do you mean? Take your hands off me, Kent!


Kent

First I thought you were acting this way because you were afraid of Jones, the man who said he knew Batman's real identity. But now I think I've got this situation figured out.


Batman

You amuse me, Kent. Keep on talking.


.

.

.

.

Kent

Later. Go on to your hotel. I'll be seeing you again, very soon.


Music

It's dark enough in this alley, so out of these clothes. I need Inspector Henderson's help in a hurry. I can get back to Metropolis in two shakes as SUPERMAN. THERE WE ARE. ALL SET NOW. UP AND AWAY!


FLYING and music

Kent

I tell you , Inspector, I know what I'm talking about. Either Batman is mentally ill - Jones may have done something to him to effect his mind - or else that man in the costume is not Batman!


Henderson

Not Batman? Why that's ridiculous, Kent!


Kent

I know it sounds fantastic, Inspector, because this fellow certainly looks and talks exactly like Batman. But..well...I put him to a test.


Henderson

Yeah? What kind of a test?


Kent

There's a certain secret which only Batman and I know.


Henderson

Yeah?


Kent

That masked man doesn't know it!


Henderson

Hmm. What is the secret?


Kent

I can't tell you, but take my word for it, Inspector, the real Batman couldn't possibly forget it! That is, unless he was mentally ill.


Henderson

I see.



No two fingerprints are alike.


A fingerprint card, with a spot for each finger and the thumb.

Kent

Henderson

,

Kent,

.

Henderson

Look, you have a record of Batman's fingerprints, haven't you?


Certainly, certainly.


Fine. Now, this guy who says he's Batman is staying at the Willow Falls Hotel tonight. That's only thirty miles away. So why don't you find some excuse for walking in on him and picking up a sample of his fingerprints. Then you can check them with the prints in your file.


Well, I suppose I could do that.


Kent

Do it, Inspector! If the prints match we'll know he's the real Batman, but he's mentally sick. And if they don't match...

Henderson

Oh, but it all seems ridiculous, Kent..


Kent

I know, but...


The Adventures of Superman began as a simple adventure serial. During World War II Superman fought against the Nazis and Japanese. In 1946, the show took a different tact. ''It became a program with a message.''

Henderson

Kent

How could a phony, clever as he may be, do such a perfect job of impersonation that could fool even Robin?


I don't know. I've heard that everyone in the world is supposed to have a double somewhere.


Henderson

Yeah, I've heard that too, but you can't..


In 1946, the story line ''Unity House'' aired. Superman took up the battle of racial and religious intolerance. ''Remember this as long as you live. Whenever you meet with anyone who is trying to cause trouble between people- anyone who tries to tell you that a man can't be a good citizen because he is a Catholic or a Jew, a Protestant or what you will - you can be sure he's a rotten citizen himself and an inhuman being. Do't ever forget that!''

Kent

,

Henderson

Kent

Now this fellow could look enough like Batman naturally, not to need much fixing, and he could be trained to imitate his voice and manners and so forth...


But who would go to all that trouble, and why?


Fanatics! And we're dealing with a bunch of Isolationist fanatics here. Fanatics will go to any amount of trouble to gain there selfish ends. And then there's another thing.


Henderson

What's that?


The story line was successful, and further 'message story-lines' aired - on juvenile delinquency and school absenteeism, among others.

Kent

Br...Batman is a very rich man. If he were out of the way an impersonator could make off with a fortune.


Henderson

Uh huh. Now that makes sense. Now maybe you've got something, Kent.


Kent

You'll go through with the fingerprint test, Inspector?


Henderson

Well, I can only do it on one condition, Kent.


Kent

What's that?


Henderson

That somebody closely connected with Batman, in this case Robin, makes an official complaint, including a statement of his belief that the real Batman has met with foul play, and is now being impersonated.



Alfred in the late 1960s cartoons on tv

Kent

Okay, Robin will do that! Come on, Inspector, we'll go out to his house right now.


Music

Where's Robin, Alfred?


Alfred

(Cockney British, old). I don't know, Mr. Kent, sir.


Kent

What?


Alfred

He left about an hour ago, after receiving a phone call. In a jolly hurry he was, too.


Kent

I don't like that.


Henderson

Where did he go, Alfred?


Alfred

All he would tell me, Inspector, is that he was going to meet a man at the waterfront, somewhere.


Kent

On the waterfront?!


Alfred

Yes, sir, and the way he was gaily chirping, and singing, I'm rather sure it was Batman who called him.


Henderson

Batman!


Kent

Did he say that?


Alfred

No, sir, he wouldn't say, sir. But when I asked him if it was Batman he was going to meet he simply winked and said, 'Musn't talk, Alfred.' But everything's all right again now.'


Kent

That's funny. Batman is supposed to be in Willow Falls.


Alfred

Willow Falls, sir?


Kent

Yes!


Henderson

Say, that's right, Kent. Why should he tell Robin to meet him on the waterfront?


Kent

He wouldn't. Unless...


Henderson

Unless what?


Kent

Unless he is a phony as I suspect. Look, Inspector, you better get your men to the waterfront to look for Robin.


Henderson

Right


Kent

I'm going back up to Willow Falls to shake the truth out of that fellow who calls himself Batman. So long.


Music

Narrator

Kent

Racing outside the house, Kent pauses beside a dark hedge and quickly resumes his true identity as Superman.


UP, UP AND AWAY!

FLYING

Narrator

Then the man of steel leaps high into the starry sky and streaks northward, bound for Willow falls and a shocking surprise.

Music

After streaking to Willow Falls, Superman has secretly resumed his disguise of Clark Kent, mild-mannered and bespectacled reporter, and as we join him now he is speaking to the clerk of the Willow Falls Hotel.


Kent

What room is Batman in, please?


Clerk

Batman is not here, sir. He checked out.


Kent

Checked out? When?


Clerk

Oh, about a half hour ago, I'd say.


Kent

Where did he go, do you know?


Clerk

No sir, I don't know. As a matter of fact I did ask him. You see, I wasn't able to hear him speak tonight, and since I'm off duty tomorrow I was hoping I might hear him, if he was speaking somewhere nearby.


Kent

Well, what did he say?


Clerk

He said he'd been called away on important business, and I..well, he wouldn't be making any more speeches for a while.


Kent

Hmm. Did he leave a forwarding address?


Clerk

No, sir, no sir, he didn't.


Narrator

Dismayed, Clark Kent who is Superman stands in the small hotel lobby and feels utterly helpless as the true state of affairs becomes crystal clear in his mind.


Kent

Of course, I might have known this would happen. He is a phony. Now he's got rid of Robin and gone into hiding. Now what do I do. How can I find them?


Narrator

Is Superman right in believing that the man who reappeared in Metropolis yesterday is not the real Batman, but a clever and villainous impersonator? If so, WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE REAL BATMAN, AND TO ROBIN? WE'LL LEARN THE ANSWERS TO SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS in TOMORROW'S spine tingling episode, fellows and girls. So be sure to listen. tune in same time, same station, for Chapter 6 of Batman's Great Mystery on the adventures of Superman.


Superman is a copyrighted feature appearing in Superman DC Comics Magazine, and is brought to you Monday through Friday at this same time.

This page last updated on February 2, 2002.

Sources/Links
DC Comics Official Superman radio site
SupermanCollectors and SuperPlanet Chronicle
The Adventures of Superman

Thank you
so much

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