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Poco

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Poco
Debut The Adventures of Superman (November 1944)
Created by Ben Peter Freeman
Portrayed by Jackson Beck, Gilbert Mack
Statistics
Classification Utopian
Abilities rhyming speech

Poco was a comic relief character who appeared exclusively on radio's The Adventures of Superman. He's an alien, native to Planet Utopia where he originally served as court jester, but he later became the personal cook to Perry White. A short, fat individual, Poco is humanoid in appearance. His primary quirk is that he speaks in rhyme at all times.

Poco debuted in the 1944 serial "Planet Utopia." No copies survive, but the story was retold as "The Mystery of the Lost Planet" in 1947. Poco initially accompanied the Utopian Anthar, who came to earth to warn Superman of an invasion by Utopia's dictator Zoram. Anthar knew Clark Kent had contact with Superman, but settled for Jimmy Olsen, who he abducted to Utopia in order to prove his tale.

Poco and Jimmy become friends, but Jimmy and Anthar are sentenced to death by Zoram. Pretending to side with the ruler, Poco is able to escape in a plastic spaceshell, where he returns to Earth. Back at the Daily Planet, Poco meets Clark Kent and Perry White for the first time and informs them of Jimmy's plight. Poco then accompanies Superman but they have trouble finding the planet. Eventually, Zoram's plot is foiled, but the planet Utopia is destroyed (and Anthar and Zoram are both killed). Superman rescues Jimmy and Poco, however.

Returned to earth, Poco featured periodically in the series, as comic relief or as a dupe, and gained employment and a home as Perry White's chef (though later plots often had the gullible Poco seeking other opportunities). In 1945, Poco and Jimmy battle Nazis who have taken over the North Pole, using a Utopian "space shell." Jimmy and Poco went to space again in 1946, aboard Professor Twiddle's rocket to the moon.

Due to his own gullibility but also his connection to Perry White, Poco was often in danger or violently victimized in subsequent plots. During "The Clan of the Firey Cross," when Perry White and the Planet are crusading against a hatemongering Klu Klux Klan-like society (one of many which periodically infested Metropolis), Poco is found beaten in Perry's garage, as a warning to "lay off." Poco later became the victim of "The Phony Song Publishing Racket" at the end of the year, endangering the lives of himself and Perry, but he did manage to write the song "Dizzy Lizzie."

Appearances

  • "Planet Utopia" (November 16-December 4, 1944)
  • "The Space Shell" (February 1945)
  • "The Mystery of the Talking Cat" (January 17, 1946 installment)
  • "The Radar Rocket" (Feb. 15-March 14, 1946)
  • "The Clan of the Firey Cross" (June 1946, brief installments)
  • "The Phony Song Publishing Racket" & "The Phony Housing Racket" (December 4-December 27, 1946)
  • "The Mystery of the Lost Planet" (remake of "Planet Utopia"; April 09-April 25, 1947).

Sources

Tollin, Anthony. Superman with Batman and Robin on Radio. Booklet. Radio Spirits Inc, 1999.

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