Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1948: The Ghost BrigadeReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Dates: May 04, 1948-May 18, 1948
"The Ghost Brigade"
The ghost of Captain Kidd has been seen in the Metropolis subway tunnels. Chief dispatcher Joe Miller has been frightened by this vision. He was even cut by a pirate's sword and is currently in the hospital talking to mild mannered Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent. While his partner Dan O'Keefe went to get some coffee, the phantasm attacked and said, "Nobody can stop Captain Kidd." All trains in the system have not been moving since then, and a Spanish gold coin has been found where the specter had been seen. The strange thing is that the currency is dated 1745 - the same year Captain Kidd was still alive. Later, as Mayor Perry White ponders what to say to the people of Metropolis, Police Inspector Bill Henderson tells him that the Metropolis Bank had been robbed of half a million dollars by the infamous outlaw gang of Jesse and Frank James. Superman has his hands full with this strange mystery.
Bank president Mr. Presbie has told the police and Clark of the robbery. Kent then finds some wax on the floor and goes on to investigate further while Jimmy Olsen reports of Presbie's account of the theft to Mayor White. Meanwhile, Perry and star reporter Lois Lane are at the pier. Some ships carrying oil are burning. Lois and Perry witness something odd. The Roman emperor Nero is watching the blaze and disappears after the smoke clears. Afterwards Mayor White gets further news. The flames are going out into the tide and heading for some nitrate boats. Should they explode, Metropolis will be in grave danger.
Clark has found pieces of wax in the subway and the bank. While giving them to a police scientist, he sees black smoke coming from the harbor. Knowing that it was too late to put out the fire, Superman pulls the nitrate freighters out of danger. Later, things are more or less calm. Clark shows Jimmy and Perry a headline in the Daily Blade blaming the mayor for the odd incidents in the city. White is furious, but his anger will have to wait a bit. A trucker and his partner are heading into Metropolis and are assisting a car that is on the side of the road. Suddenly, an arrow hits one of the men. A group of Native American Indians is surrounding everyone on the highway. This attack could be connected to the mysterious Ghost Brigade.
Perry has reluctantly agreed to give a statement tomorrow in an effort to calm the citizens of Metropolis. Fourth District Councilman Albert Hammer demands to know the truth about the crimes in the city. However, he doesn't believe that the ghosts of various notorious figures in history are behind the incidents. The angry Hammer believes that Mayor White is either incompetent or mentally unstable. After Hammer leaves, White and Clark go to the hospital to interview the trucker that had been attacked by Native Americans. He suddenly remembers hearing the name Geronimo. Meanwhile, Mike Hickey is in prison speaking with his henchman Turkey. Everything is going according to his plans to discredit Perry White. Is Hickey controlling the Ghost Brigade from his prison cell?
Metropolis has become a hotbed of suspicion. The people blame Mayor White for the strange events of the past twenty-four hours. Clark Kent is looking over the highway in which the truck was attacked. He and Perry are looking for a piece of wax like the ones found at the previous crimes of the Ghost Brigade. They find one in the shape of a feather. Kent realizes that the substance is used to make mannequins and models of humans. Meanwhile. Mike Hickey's gang is trying to restart its various rackets in preparation for their boss' return. At the same time, Councilman Hammer wants to see Perry minutes before his press conference. A closed meeting of the city council was held this morning. An investigation has begun on White's Reform Party, the newspapers in town now know of the Ghost Brigade's attacks. This could mean the end of Perry White's political career.
Perry is speaking at a press conference. However, it seems the reporters are siding with Albert Hammer, who might be elected mayor in a special election. An hour later, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen go to see where the mysterious wax has come from. As Clark Kent does the same, he sees a tailor's shop being bombed. Superman then rushes to the scene. While attempting to save the elderly owner, a reporter from the Daily Blade overhears the man say to our hero that gangsters want him to pay protection money. This gives the rival newspaper more ammunition in their war against Mayor White. Later that night, Lois and Jimmy are in the closed Metropolis Amusement Park's wax museum. They see that pieces of the figures of the historic people seen in the Ghost Brigade crimes are missing. This includes Geronimo's feather. At that moment, Captain Kidd gets an evil gleam in his eye. This could mean certain peril for Jimmy and Lois.
As the Daily Blade continues its editorials against Mayor White, Clark has found Lois and Jimmy in the amusement park wax museum. The trio notices that one of the statues - Lucretia Borgia - is missing. She was seen in a Metropolis restaurant sometime before the dinner hour. Afterwards, many patrons had fallen ill. The Ghost Brigade has struck yet again.
The people of Metropolis now believe that phantasms have attacked the city. Clark has talked to a security guard who believes that the amusement park wax statues are alive, and Lucretia Borgia has returned to her pedestal as if to prove this. Kent is telling his findings to Mayor White when Councilman Hammer enters the office. He will halt the investigation on Perry if he agrees to make Hammer deputy mayor. White refuses. As a result Hammer threatens him. Meanwhile, Mike Hickey is in his prison cell plotting the demise of Lois Lane and Clark Kent. Tension his building up for our hero and his friends.
Clark Kent is making his third visit to the amusement park's wax museum. This time he has brought Mr. Bravon, creator of the figures, with him. Kent's eyes them notice something shocking. The statue of one of the most notorious murderers in history is missing. Jack the Ripper is loose on the streets of Metropolis, and he wants to spill blood. His intended victim is Lois Lane. Can Superman find the killer before he reaches his target?
Lois has become paralyzed with fear as Jack the Ripper approaches her. A car's headlights shine on the serial killer, and Superman hears her scream. He grabs Lois and Jack to fly them to Mayor White and Inspector Henderson. It is then revealed that Turkey Morgan, Mike Hickey's right-hand man, is the person disguised as Jack the Ripper. However, before he can reveal who is the mastermind behind the Ghost Brigade, a shot rings out. Superman swiftly moves Morgan out of the way. The shooter is then confronted by our hero. The Man of Steel prevents the assassin's suicide, but for now, his identity remains unknown.
Turkey Morgan has pointed an accusing finger at the man who had attempted to kill him. That person is none other than Albert Hammer. The councilman was the partner of Mike Hickey and the leader of the Ghost Brigade. Mayor White has just broadcast this information on the Daily Planet's radio station. The Ghost Brigade and Mike Hickey's plans have been stopped by Superman and his friends.
Perry has taken Lois, Jimmy and Clark on a fishing vacation with him. They are all on the mayor's boat The Marauder when they see something in the sky. What is it? "The Mystery of the Sleeping Beauty" will answer that question next week, gang. Be sure be here to see what happens in The Adventures of Superman.
The movie serial Superman starring Kirk Alyn is promoted at the end of each chapter.
Like last week's arc, "The Ghost Brigade" is pure fun and action. This was one of those tales that really made me happy to be doing these reviews. That's how incredible it is.
I had mentioned in previous reviews that the radio serials are starting to have the atmosphere of the 1950s television series as it got closer to the time of the George Reeves show. "The Ghost Brigade" is no exception to that rule. My mind's eye had even created images of the first season cast as each chapter was playing. This made the story more entertaining, and it gives the audience a sense of nostalgia. That is how the best Superman tales should be no matter what form in which they are told. It's one of the many reasons why the character is so appealing to so many people around the world.
Admittedly, I was extremely harsh on the character of Mike Hickey when I reviewed his first appearance in "The Ruler of Darkness" story arc. I still stand by what I said back then, but it feels like the writers had tweaked and improved him a bit. Hickey seems less of a parody and more of a force to be reckoned with in "The Ghost Brigade." I sincerely feel this change helped the serial progress so well.
While we are on the subject of the antagonists of "The Ghost Brigade," I want to point out one minor problem with the story. It is a bit obvious that Councilman Albert Hammer is working with someone to destroy Mayor White and his Reform Party's government in Metropolis. When it's revealed that Hammer is one of Hickey's men, there is no suspense or shock. The audience sees the revelation coming from miles away.
Despite this, "The Ghost Brigade" is an entertaining tale of the Man of Steel that can appeal to listeners of any age. It will help anyone escape their troubles in a fun way and entertain them. In seven days or so, we'll see how the rebroadcast of "The Mystery of the Sleeping Beauty" treats Superman and his friends, Superfans. Until next week, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky. Now, go check out the rest of the articles and reviews on the Superman Homepage. You'll be glad you did.
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