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Dr. John Whistler was a leading meteorologist and head of the astrophysical department of the Metropolis Museum, according to radio's The Adventures of Superman. When a green-glowing meteor lands on earth, Dr. Whistler takes custody of it for study. Clark Kent is assigned to interview Dr. Whistler, but finds himself strangely weakened, even rendered unconscious, by the artifact.
Switching to his identity as Superman, the Man of Steel arranges a secret meeting with Dr. Whistler, to understand the meteorite chunk. Dr. Whistler has dubbed it Kryptonite, based on his own studies of the planet Krypton thirty years before through the museum's telescope, when he actually observed the planet's destruction. The light rays of the kryptonite, while disorienting Superman, also bring back dim memories of Krypton and make Superman fully aware of his Kryptonian parents Jor-L and Lara.
Superman thanks the scientist: "I am in your debt, Dr. Whistler. I know now, for the first time, who I really am, where I came from." However, due to the threat it poses to Superman, he begs the doctor to destroy the kryptonite. Dr. Whistler refuses, due to the rock's scientific importance, and his belief that "analysis of this piece of kryptonite may lead to the discovery of how to give Earth dwellers your strength and power."." As a compromise, however, realizing the threat and Superman's importance to the US war effort, Dr. Whistler secures it in his own private, lead-lined vault within the museum. He assures Superman that it "will not, cannot be opened until my death-- except by myself alone."
In the September 4, 1945 broadcast, however, it is revealed through an afternoon edition of The Daily Planet that Dr. John Whistler "died at the city hospital this morning, following a brief illness." This circumstance visibly shakes Clark Kent, in the presence of Lois Lane and Perry White. His fears prove warranted when a robbery occurs at the Metropolis Museum, and the kryptonite is stolen by the Scarlet Widow. The death of Dr. Whistler, his sole witness, also makes it more difficult for Clark to convince others of the genuine threat of kryptonite.