Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1949: The Case of the Double TroubleReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Date: March 09, 1949
"The Case of the Double Trouble"
Some paintings valued at fifty thousand dollars have been stolen from the home of Mrs. Van Dyke last night. Daily Planet reporters Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen are at police headquarters waiting to get some news from Inspector Bill Henderson. Mrs. Van Dyke didn't see the thief's face, but she would recognize the voice anywhere. The criminal is not in the police line-up, but she has found him. She is accusing none other than Clark Kent himself of the robbery.
Clark is trying to explain his whereabouts the previous night to Inspector Henderson. He had gone to Bayville after his editor Perry White had ordered the mild mannered reporter to meet him at the Bayville Hotel. Jimmy, however, has said that he received a telephone call from Kent inviting him to go to a boxing match. Clark claims to never have even talked to the young man. Confused, Inspector Henderson, Jimmy and Clark go to speak with Perry, who was in the office until midnight. He doesn't recall ever even contacting Kent, but the chief seems to have forgotten that he ordered coffee that he had ordered from Willy's Coffee Shop not too long ago. This mystery gets stranger by the minute as Perry receives more shocking news. Lois Lane has been arrested on the charge of suspicion of robbery.
Lois has been bailed out of prison and has returned to the offices of the Daily Planet. She was incarcerated because two mink coats were stolen at a residence on Ridgewood Drive. The thief was wearing a gray suit like the one on Lois' person. The star reporter was found three blocks from the robbery. The butler and maid never saw the robber's face because she was wearing a dark veil, but her voice was described as the one belonging to Lois. Miss Lane's only alibi is that she was waiting for Clark because he had called her to meet him two hours ago. However, Clark and Jimmy were at police headquarters at the time. Baffled, Inspector Henderson has given Lois and Clark an ultimatum - prove they didn't commit any crimes by tonight, or be sent to prison.
Lois and Clark are in Willy's Coffee Shop trying to put together the pieces of this strange mystery. The stolen items were all covered in articles written by both reporters in the Daily Planet some days ago. They also are confused by the recent telephone calls that may or may not have been done by Clark and Perry. Now, Willy has decided to step out for a bit when Jimmy calls to ask Lois and Clark to meet him. Unfortunately, when they arrive at the address the lad had given them, they find an abandoned building and the police with Perry White. The editor/mayor had received a call from Inspector Henderson to go there with some squad cars. As a result the west side of Metropolis is left without any officers on duty. Clark then remembers that Jimmy had done a story on the Carver Mansion's diamond collection on Blackburn Avenue. Another theft may occur soon, and even Superman may be too late to stop it.
Lois and Perry have just encountered Inspector Henderson and some trucks from the fire department on the way to Blackburn Avenue. He is claiming that Perry called him and the fire marshall, whereas the chief is saying that he was the one who was telephoned by Henderson. Superman arrives with Jimmy Olsen just then to clear up this baffling mystery. He has just helped get the cub reporter after Mister Carver accused him of stealing the diamonds. Carver had claimed that he recognized Jimmy's voice as that belonging to the thief, but Clark Kent will reveal the truth to his friends.
Everyone is asking Clark a bunch of questions. Once things quiet down, he gives them the pieces to the puzzle. Someone had impersonated Lois' voice to tell Jimmy to go to Carver Mansion. The same person had imitated Clark, Perry, Jimmy and Henderson on various occasions during the recent robberies. Clark is about to give the culprit's identity to his friends, but first, they must hide in Kent's office while Willy gives him some coffee. When the restaurant owner leaves, Lois, Jimmy, Perry and Inspector Henderson all follow Clark to the chief's office, where they all hear the voices of Henderson and White telephoning to arrest Lois and Clark for all the thefts. It is really Willy framing the star reporters, and he won't give up without a fight. Clark knocks him out much to the surprise of Lois. Clark later tells everyone that the voice artist had overheard every aspect of every article written while everyone would eat in the diner. Now, Willy will spend his days in a prison cell thanks to Superman and his friends. Next week the Man of Steel will have another exciting mystery for us, gang. Be here for a look back at 1942 with "The Headless Indian," another thrilling story in The Adventures of Superman.
While it's predictable in spots, it's a pity that "The Case of the Double Trouble" could not have been done in the fifteen minute serial format. It would have been nice to see what twists and turns the writers would have come up with for it in that way. Still, I was greatly entertained by this episode.
One thing that might have been done to improve "The Case of the Double Trouble" is if the writers had put something in where Clark could not have an alibi for his whereabouts because he was somewhere else as Superman. There could have possibly been more tension in the story had the Man of Steel's double identity been at risk. If Clark couldn't tell Henderson or Perry where he was, more suspicion would be placed on him. This could have easily been written into the episode while everyone was wondering about Lois and Jimmy's involvement in the crimes. Despite liking the story, I feel that Clark and Superman should have been in a sticky situation to make things even more interesting.
Superman kind of takes a back seat to Clark Kent in "The Case of the Double Trouble." Sure, we see the Man of Steel for a few minutes, but Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen seem to be more of the focus of the story. This is not a bad thing. In fact I do enjoy the occasional spotlight on the supporting characters. I'm merely making an observation. Someone once pointed out to me that Clark Kent tends to be in more of The Adventures of Superman. Granted, I hadn't noticed this that much in the serialized arcs, but in three thirty minute shows, including this one, Superman maybe appears a total of 20 minutes. This isn't a complaint, but it did feel like he was used more in the quarter hour broadcasts.
Willy is portrayed excellently by Jackson Beck. His delivery makes one honestly believe that he is a merely a quiet coffee shop owner, but his change in character is equally astounding as "The Case of the Double Trouble" reaches its conclusion. Granted, Willy's leaving the coffee shop while Lois and Clark are talking about the recent crimes made me understand that he was the villain. Still, Beck's incredible acting helps to make the entire story move along at an even pace and become fun for the audience.
Despite needing to get some things about it off my chest, "The Case of the Double Trouble" was an overall fun and engrossing episode in The Adventures of Superman. In seven days or so we'll see if Superman can figure out how to stop "The Headless Indian," We'll find out next week, Superfans. Until then, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky. Now, go read the other amazing articles and reviews on the Superman Homepage. You'll be glad you did.
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