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The Atom Man (radio serial)

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Atommanradio

1999 Smithsonian/Radio Spirits CD release

"The Atom Man" is a 1945 serial story from The Adventures of Superman, written . The storyline immediately followed "The Scarlet Widow" story, which set the events in motion leading to the creation of Superman's most powerful radio adversary, the Atom Man. The storyline consisted of thirty-eight 15 minute chapters, which ran from October 11 through December 03, 1945. The next serial, "Looking for Kryptonite," addressed the loose-ends from the aftermath of this and "The Scarlet Widow" story.

The Atom Man was one of the very few, if not only, super-powered beings faced by Superman on radio (where his foes tended to be mortal mob bosses, con men, political grafters, bigots, and the occasional madmen out to rule the world). The storyline was the best remembered from the radio series, frequently cited in nostalgic articles and radio histories (including Jim Harmon's 1967 book The Great Radio Heroes) and it loosely inspired the 1950 film serial Atom Man vs. Superman."

Though various fan radio logs have occasionally split the 38 chapters into two (as "The Atom Man" and "The Atom Man in Metropolis"), both the 1999 DC-authorized audio collection Superman vs. Atom Man on Radio and the 2001 script book The Super Man Radio Scripts Volume 1: Superman vs. the Atom Man consider it all a single story, titled "The Atom Man." The radio script collection omits the October 11 broadcast (in which the Scarlet Widow fumes over the theft, Der Teufel returns to Germany, and Clark Kent tries to track down the villain). Several circulating collector/fan copies have done the reverse, counting the concluding "Scarlet Widow" chapter as the first episode (in which Superman escapes the Widow's penthouse and has the Kryptonite fragments studied, but which then shifts to Der Teufel and the first mention of his "Atom Man" scheme, as a cliffhanging teaser).

Plot

Chapters 1-4:

The narrator announces that Superman's "fight to destroy the one power on earth that can destroy him is now taking a new turn." Superman searches desperately for the Scarlet Widow to recover the kryptonite, unaware that a fragment had already been stolen by Der Teufel. The Widow, in her bookshop hideout, fumes at the failure of her agents to locate Der Teufel (who she wants dead for his betrayal), while her Cockney henchman Sniggers tells her not to worry (since they still have three pieces) and he'd rather sell off and leave while they can. Meanwhile, Der Teufel has escaped to Lisbon, disguised as the bearded Belgravian finance minister Dr. Orlowsky, en route to Germany (and chemist Professor Milch, the only man who can dissolve the kryptonite).

Clark Kent is waiting with Inspector Henderson, as the police hunt down the four villains at the Widow's auction. Kent worries about the danger of the kryptonite, but he's alerted by news of a tenement basement fire with green flames, and a corpse therein (the real Orlovsky, stabbed in the back), while Teufel's henchman Krauss is nearby, dying of the burns. His cryptic dying message mentions the Atom Man and kryptonite, while a Belgravian ambassador firmly identifies the body as Orlovsky.

In Germany, Teufel makes his way to an inn on the edge of the Black Forest, run by the hesitant Gottfried. Teufel identifies himself and demands to be taken to the cellar where the Nazi remnants are hiding. A US sergeant walks in (while the innkeeper passes Der Teufel off as his cousin). Meanwhile, Clark Kent has arrived in Germany and explains the situation to a less skeptical Col. Greeley of Occupation intelligence. The man whose clothes Teufel bought has been brought in, while the real Teufel meets the remaining Nazis, a band of about one dozen, including Gestapo, scientists like Professor Milch, and General Bromburg, who acts as leader of the "last few loyal followers of the Fueher." Teufel explains his Atom Man plan, and that it will not involve a robot but a human being. The men are mostly skeptical, as Teufel begins to rant and exudes contempt for the failed general and his kind, but Prof. Milch is persuaded.

Cast

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