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Narrator

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Narrator
Narrator-matineeidol
Debut radio series
Portrayed by Jackson Beck (primary); see appearances
Statistics
Classification narrative device
Abilities Omniscient storytelling, an authoritative voice
"Faster than a speeding bullet. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. More powerful than a locomotive!"
- Narrator, various productions

The Narrator, alternatively called the Announcer, refers to anyone who narrates Superman's adventures through dialogue. The tradition began on the radio show and continued with TV's Adventures of Superman and other productions (particularly in animation), as well as children's records.

On radio, while a thus far unidentified performer narrated the syndicated seasons, when the series moved to the Mutual Network in 1942, the initial narrator was George Lowther, who was also director and writer on the series. In 1943, when Lowther's other chores became too demanding, busy radio actor Jackson Beck (who had previously played the occasional bit part on the series) took over.[1] Beck would become the narrator most associated with Superman, continuing with the series until 1950 and later reprising the role on records and for Filmation's animated series The New Adventures of Superman.

On TV's Adventures of Superman, Bill Kennedy voiced the opening intro and, on rare occasions, supplied narration within episodes. However, Jack Narz (who narrated the "pilot" movie Superman and the Mole Men) narrated the origin episode, "Superman on Earth."

In the Comics

"For this was the day... that a Superman died".
-Text panel, The Death of Superman

In comics, text boxes in the third person serve the same expository function, but generally lack the specific characterization which vocal tones can lend. Just as with third person narration in a novel, text narration has been common in the comics long before Superman (from Prince Valiant to Mary Worth and all sorts in-between).

However, the voice-over narrator from the Superman theatrical cartoons made an "appearance" of sorts in Superman #19, in the story "Superman, Matinee Idol." Lois Lane and Clark Kent go to see the cartoon, and the narrator's dialogue is in quotation marks, to distinguish it from the regular text exposition.

Appearances

Sources

  1. Tollin, Anthony. Superman with Batman on Radio. p. 12-14. Radio Spirits Inc. Booklet accompanying tape/CD box set.

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