Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1941: The Grayson SubmarineReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Dates: May 12, 1941-May 23, 1941
"The Grayson Submarine"
Charles Grayson and Captain Denning are testing Grayson's new submarine that can go at depths of four hundred feet and possibly better. As they descend, they discover that unlike other submarines, this one can go deeper than two hundred and fifty feet without hull leakage or destruction. As they reach three hundred and fifty feet, the captain and Grayson hear a sound that seems like iron chains scraping on the hull. All efforts to move the submarine are in vain as it seems to be held or blocked by something. The engines are running at full speed, but the underwater vessel still doesn't move. Grayson's new submarine is trapped.
At the naval base, crowds of reporters mill about to know what happened. Only Clark Kent, who just returned from his adventure on the nitrate ship, is allowed to see squadron leader Commander Leeds because of his special press pass. Leeds has been in constant radio contact with Captain Denning for the past hour or so. The commander contacts the Grayson Submarine while Clark is with him. Despite low battery power, the vessel has enough oxygen for twelve hours, and there is no damage to the hull. Suddenly, Captain Denning says that something is dragging the submarine. Commander Leeds has now lost contact with the Grayson Submarine.
Just then, Clark asks for the submarine's location. Commander Leeds does not give it to him, but he permits Clark to go with him in another submarine to search for Grayson's ship. However, once Leeds' vessel reaches two hundred and fifty feet, the commander, the crew and Clark all hear the same scraping noise that was heard by Grayson and Captain Denning.
At the Daily Planet, Perry White has received the news about the submarines and Clark Kent. Perry and Lois Lane drive to the naval base to learn more. However, they take a wrong turn in a fork in the road. Lois notices an old, abandoned house on a hill. She and Perry investigate it and hear the sound of an electric motor or dynamo. They are then found by someone ponting a gun at them. Once he learns who Lois and Perry are, the gunman takes them into the house and says Clark Kent will be joining them soon.
Meanwhile, as Commander Leeds is talking to the diving officer, Clark goes to the escape hatch to investigate what's blocking the ship as Superman. However, Leeds stops him before he can change. There is much debate between Leeds and Clark about the risks of going out to see what's causing the trouble. Clark is willing to take the risks and goes out into the depths of the waters. Superman can now see what has stopped the submarine.
Five minutes later, Commander Leeds believes that he's sent Clark Kent to his doom. He and his first officer Lt. Evans then hear the scraping noise just before the depth gauge shows that the submarine is making its ascent to the surface. Cammander Leeds' vessel is free of the trap that has taken the Grayson Submarine. However, Clark has not returned to the ship.
Meanwhile, Lois and Perry's captor, a foreign agent named Doctor Deutch, is convinced that the editor and star reporter are in the old house to interfere with his plans to take the Grayson Submarine. Lois tells him that she and Perry were lost and only wanted directions to the naval base, but the mad doctor doesn't believe her. Perry opposes Deutch and strikes him. The foreign agent has a henchman take White away. Lois is scared about the fate of Perry and continues to try to tell Deutch that they found the doctor by accident.
Just then, a power outage occurs. An angry Doctor Deutch sees that the submarine carrying Commander Leeds and Clark Kent is free of the huge steel net that Deutch's dynamo placed on it and Charles Grayson's ship. The enraged foreign scientist has now decided to bring Lois and Perry with him to his next destination - the Grayson Submarine.
In Metropolis, news of Clark Kent's disappearance has spread like wildfire. Superman flies to the Daily Planet building and waits in the shadows as Clark Kent to secretly tell Jimmy Olsen of the events leading to his disappearance. When the young copy boy leaves the building Clark tells him that Commander Leeds' submarine escaped the steel net, but Charles Grayson's vessel is still trapped. It was taken through a cove under the house used by Doctor Deutch. Clark then tells Jimmy that he wants the agents behind the traps to believe that the mild mannered reporter is dead for now. Clark asks Jimmy to tell Perry that he is alive, but the editor is not to make this publicly known just yet.
At that moment, Jimmy tells Clark that Perry and Lois went to naval base, but they never arrived there. Perry's secretary has been calling the base every ten minutes since eight o'clock. Clark asks Jimmy to stay at the newspaper offices in case Perry and Lois call. After Jimmy returns inside, Clark changes back into Superman to search for Lois and Perry.
On the Grayson Submarine, Doctor Deutch is gloating about the capture of the new vessel. The captain, his crew, Lois Lane and Perry White are being held hostage along with Grayson. Deutch is going to test the Grayson Submarine's torpedoes on an approaching ship of unknown origin and type. Grayson tries to fight against Duetch's act of brutality, but he is killed by the foreign scientist. With the submarine's creator dead, all hope seems lost for the hostages and the coming vessel as Deutch's men prepare the submarine's weapons.
Meanwhile, Superman has found Perry White's car parked on the road near the old house Deutch used as a hideout. Superman finds the house's caretaker bound and gagged. After Superman frees him, the caretaker tells him of Deutch renting the house. The foreign scientist has taken Lois and Perry aboard the Grayson Submarine, and he and his men have taken the ship out to sea. Leaving the caretaker, Superman searches the waters of the Atlantic for the Grayson Submarine, Lois and Perry.
On board the captured submarine, Doctor Deutch fires the torpedo at the approaching boat, but the projectile is captured by Superman. The Man of Steel makes the torpedo explode at the bottom of the sea. Seeing the submarine's periscope, Superman follows it until it gets to the surface.
Thinking the torpedo missed, Deutch tells Captain Denning of this. The captain is relieved, but his joy is short-lived. Deutch orders his men to take Denning to his quarters. If the captain tries anything, they are not to kill him. They are to just render him helpless
Suddenly, Superman arrives and knocks out the villainous Doctor Deutch and his henchman Hans. Our hero then searches for Captain Denning. He finds the captain's quarters being guarded by one of Deutch's men. He punches the guard before resuming his guise of Clark Kent. After the captain is free, he helps Clark take care of Deutch's men and free the hostages. Duetch and his men have now been arrested, and the Grayson Submarine is now out of enemy hands. However, celebration of this does not last long. Doctor Duetch and Hans have escaped, and they want revenge on Lois Lane, Perry White and Clark Kent.
Leaving in a car, Doctor Deutch reveals to Hans that someone at the naval base is their ally and arranged for their escape. The two foreign agents find a hidden shed near the telephone wires that are conected to the naval base. Inside the shed is a laboratory, a shortwave radio, a dark room, and a trap door that leads to an underground switchboard. After showing Hans the shed's set-up, Doctor Deutch helps his henchman dig for the cable connecting the telephone wires to the naval base. By connecting the cable to the equipment in the shed, Deutch can spy on phone conversations throughout the naval base. Deutch can continue working on the master plan of the organization for which he works.
At the naval base, Clark Kent is confused by the fact that Deutch and Hans were taken to the military prison because Commander Leeds wanted to question the foreign agents first. Leeds questions Ensign Carter, who was the yard officer when Deutch and Hans escaped. Carter says that Lt. Evans brought Hans and Deutch to the prison. Sometime afterwards, either Hans or Deutch hit Cater on the back of the head. The two foreign agents then took a car to get away.
One thing is unclear to Commander Leeds: in order for Deutch and Hans to be sent to prison, a written order must be given. Leeds wants to know who signed the order. Carter shows the written order to prove that the commander signed the paper himself. However, Leeds has no memory of signing such a document. Clark inspects the order closely and reveals that Commander Leeds' signature on the paper a fake. Who forged the commander's signature? Was it the same ally Deutch had mentioned to Hans? Who is helping Doctor Deutch's organization? Only "Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine" holds the answers to those questions, boys and girls. Be sure to tune in to The Adventures of Superman next week, and find out.
In the beginning of "the Grayson Submarine," the vessel's designer's first name is Charles. However, the announcer calls him Walter Grayson in the start of chapter four.
I do wish that a little had been said about Pug Flannigan's fate before being so abruptly pushed into the action of "The Grayson Submarine." Aside from that, I really liked the story, and I'm willing to wait and see if more will be said about Pug in future serials. That being said, I was really happy with how "The Grayson Submarine" turned out. In fact, if you exclude certain parts of "The Howling Coyote," I've enjoyed the Superman serials from 1941 that I've heard so far.
Once again, Superman must battle German agents. Now, I'm thinking that maybe (and this is just a theory) the writers were trying to put a hidden message in the story by saying to listeners, "Hey, if we remain neutral too long in this time of war, we'll be a target for Axis Annie." The message isn't overt. This is perhaps due to the censors of that time. However, the message can be seen. In my opinion, it's easier to put messages like this in a science fiction program such as Superman, The Twilight Zone and Star Trek than it is to put them in a police drama like Dragnet. This is because the main elements of the story are fantasy based. A flying superhero fighting foreign agents is easier for the public to take because nobody in real life has the powers of Superman. Jack Webb taking on the same Germans before America was in World War II would probably have been harder to swallow because it hits too close to home. At least, that's how I feel about the serious issues put into a story.
Some people might find this annoying, but I liked how the last chapter of "The Grayson Submarine" leads into "Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine." It reminds me of the Superman comic books in the 1990s. Say what you want about the triangle/shield numbering system, but there was a tight continuity in it that is much like these radio serials. Sure, there might be some goofs here and there, but I find myself looking forward to the next serial when there is a lead-in like the one in the final chapter of "The Grayson Submarine," much like I looked forward to "The Death of Clark Kent" when the "I Know" messages kept popping up in the comics before that story had started. This kind of storytelling gets me more interested in what will happen next.
Did you guess who Deutch's mysterious ally is? I have an idea who it is, but we'll have to wait until next week to see who is in "Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine." Let's hope that whoever he or she is goes to prison with the not-so good doctor thanks to Superman. Until we find out together, Superfans, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky.
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