Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1941: Doctor Deutch and the Radium MineReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Dates: May 26, 1941-June 21, 1941
"Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine"
When we last left Superman, he had recovered the stolen Grayson Submarine from the foreign agent Doctor Deutch. However, Deutch has escaped from the naval base's military prison with the aid of an agent within the facility, and Superman - in his guise of Clark Kent - is trying to discover if this same agent forged Naval Base Commander Leeds' signature on papers to send Doctor Deutch and his henchman Hans to prison before the enemy agents could be questioned.
In the offices of the Daily Planet, Clark Kent is trying to convince Perry White to let him help Commander Leeds track down Doctor Deutch and Hans. Perry, however, doesn't want to risk Clark's life because the whole world knows that the mild mannered reporter will be writing a report on Doctor Deutch for the naval department. Lois Lane and Perry could write the report, for Clark has told them everything he knows about the foreign agent. However, Perry is still against letting Clark search for Deutch, and Clark is about to disobey Perry's orders when Commander Leeds calls the editor. He asks Perry for a special favor. Leeds needs Clark's help in finding Doctor Deutch and Hans.
Meanwhile, unknown to Clark, Perry and Leeds, Doctor Deutch and Hans are listening in on the coversation between the naval base commander and newspaper editor. They know that Lois will be writing the naval department report on Deutch for Clark. They also know that a car driven by Secret Service Agent Lewis will take Clark to the naval base. Doctor Deutch believes Clark will never make it to the naval base. Clark will come to Deutch on his own, but the foreign scientist has other plans for Lois and Perry.
Disguised as a typewriter repairman, Hans is supposed to place a small and powerful bomb in Lois' typewriter. The bomb will be wired to explode once Lois types the name "Deutch." Once it blows up, the bomb will destroy Lois, Perry and the offices of the Daily Planet.
Deutch's plan seems to be going smoothly until Jimmy Olsen is suspicious of what Hans is really doing. Hans ties Jimmy up, gags him and locks him in the closet of Lois' private office.
Later, Lois is writing the report on Deutch. The keys on the typewriter seem to be jammed. Just then, Clark enters Lois' office while waiting for Agent Lewis to take him to the naval base. The two reporters debate on how to spell Deutch's name. Lois is two letters away from typing the foreign scientist's name when Clark hears moaning coming from the closet. While Lois gets a screwdriver to force open the locked closet door, Clark uses Superman's strength to free Jimmy, who tells Lois and Clark about the bomb that Clark soon disarms.
After Lois and Jimmy are safe, Agent Lewis arrives. While driving to the naval base, the secret service man decides to go with Clark to investigate the old house Deutch had used as a hideout. Their car nearly hits the caretaker that Superman had saved recently. He then tells Lewis and Clark of Hans and Deutch pushing the car that they had stolen into the water. The caretaker saw Deutch and Hans enter the old shack down by the cove. The old man leads Clark and Agent Lewis to the shack. However, Deutch and Hans wait in the darkness to attack them.
While Agent Lewis checks out the back of the shack, Clark and the caretaker investigate the front. The caretaker is then shot and killed by Deutch. Clark whistles three times to signal Agent Lewis of trouble, but Lewis is also in danger. Shots are fired in the direction of the secret service man. Despite wanting to tear into Deutch and Hans as Superman, our hero remains in his guise of Clark Kent. Lewis is nowhere to be found, but Clark allows himself to be captured in order to learn more about Doctor Deutch's gang and their plans.
Saying that Agent Lewis is somewhere safe, Doctor Deutch learns that Lois is still alive. The foreign agent now must find another way to deal with Lois Lane and Perry White. Deutch then takes Clark's police pass and orders Hans to tell someone named Schmidt that they'll send a seaplane within the hour. Now, Clark waits for the right moment for Superman to save the day while learning more of Deutch's organiziation's master plan.
At the the Daily Planet, Lois is still working on the report on Deutch for the naval department. Jimmy Olsen gives her an envelope maked "IMPORTANT" that is intended for Perry. Unable to contact Perry, Lois opens the envelope. There is a typewritten letter from Clark Kent inside asking for the editor's help. There is also a map to Doctor Deutch's shack enclosed. Jimmy decides to go to the shack despite Lois' objections.
While hitch-hiking in a thunderstorm, Jimmy finds a dog which he names Storm. Jimmy and Storm are picked up by a flour delivery man. They eventually find Old Ocean Road, where the cove and shack are located. Storm runs off and finds Deutch's radio controlled seaplane. The dog jumps into the cabin of the plane, and Jimmy bumps the flight controls while trying to catch him. The seaplane has now taken off. Jimmy and Storm are now heading for an unknown location.
Meanwhile, in the shack, Doctor Deutch is planning to use the seaplane to take Clark to Volcano Island, the headquarters of the foreign scientist's organization. However, Hans tells the doctor that the plane is missing. Neither knowing nor caring that Jimmy is on board the plane, Deutch programs the plane to crash into the heart of Volcano Island's volcano. Clark makes his escape from Deutch after Hans shows the mad doctor Jimmy's cap. Shots are fired, but the bullets bounce off as Clark Kent changes into Superman.
Moving with great speed, Superman grabs the seaplane and lands it in the ocean. He smashes the plane opened in order to save the unconscious Jimmy. Jimmy wakes up on Volcano Island to find Clark Kent, who claims to have been trapped in the back of the plane. Jimmy suddenly worries about his dog Storm, but the persistant pooch swims to shore to greet the copy boy and Clark.
Afterwards, Clark asks how Jimmy got in the radio controlled seaplane. However, before Jimmy can answer him, an airplane carrying Hans and Doctor Deutch flies into a cliff on Volcano Island. The strange thing is that the plane does not crash. An unusual door opens in the cliff, and the aircraft enters. This leaves Clark and Jimmy to wonder what is within the strange door on Volcano Island. Clark looks for answers on the island while Jimmy and Storm hide. However, the copy boy is captured by Hans not long after Clark leaves.
At the naval base, Commander Leeds and his men are on a frantic search for Secret Service Agent Lewis and Clark Kent. Lewis suddenly arrives in Leeds' office. He narrowly escaped Deutch's men with his life and had to hitch-hike back to the base. Not knowing the whereabouts of Clark, Lewis asks Commander Leeds to trust him in the same manner in which he trusts the mild mannered reporter. Lewis believes that he knows where to find Doctor Deutch and Clark Kent. However, Lewis must work secretly for three days, and the search for the secret service agent must be called off.
On Volcano Island, Superman finds a tunnel that leads to a prison cellblock. Jimmy is inside one of the cells. Resuming his guise of Clark Kent, our hero frees Jimmy. Both Clark and Jimmy then run from the approaching guards. They find a ladder that leads to another tunnel where men are chained together. These men are using picks and shovels to dig for radium pitch blend in the solid rock, and Clark believes that radium is connected to the master plan Doctor Deutch mentioned while the reporter was held prisoner in the shack.
Suddenly, Jimmy falls through a hole in the floor. Clark jumps through the hole to follow Jimmy. They both then explore the rest of the radium mine. They find a large iron door and discover an old man. The old man is Professor Julius Browning, a radiology expert and explorer who wanted to use the radium to help medical science. Deutch posed as a fellow researcher and later forced Browing to run the radium refinery's machines.
Meanwhile, an enraged Doctor Deutch scolds Hans for letting Jimmy and Clark escape. He also demands more radium, but Hans says that more men will be needed to mine the pitch blend. Deutch wants more men working in the mines by midnight. The master plan depends on it.
At the same time, Professor Browning is showing Clark and Jimmy how Deutch brings men to Volcano Island. There is a secondary tunnel leading to the beach. There are moving buoy lights on the waters between Volcano Island and Dead Man's Reef. Doctor Deutch moves the buoys that tell where ships can find safe passage through Dead Man's Reef. After ships crash on the rocks of the reef, Deutch uses the crews as slave labor to mine the radium pitch blend. Deutch then sinks the ships after high tide so authorities cannot find them.
Now, a ship is approaching Dead Man's Reef. Clark leaves Jimmy and Professor Browning to save the boat as Superman. The Man of Steel turns the freighter around in the nick of time just before it can crash into the rocks. Clark Kent returns to Browning and Jimmy with tar from the vessel on his hands. He tells them it was on some drift wood that he had sat upon on the beach.
Afterwards, Clark asks if Professor Browning knows Doctor Deutch's master plan. He doesn't, but the radiology expert leads them to Deutch's room, which is in tunnel number seven. Clark believes he can learn of the foreign scientist's plans for the radium there. Deutch's men discover the trio as they round a corner. Browning hurries with Jimmy and Clark into a room full of books.
Meanwhile, Hans tells Doctor Deutch of the ship turning before it can crash on Dead Man's Reef. The furious doctor orders Hans to make the slaves work for fifteen hours daily - instead of the normal ten hours - until he has the twelve ounces of radium he needs for the master plan.
Just then, a phonecall interrupts Deutch. A guard tells him of Professor Browning's escape. Deutch then orders that all the exits must be sealed, and the air must be taken out of tunnel number seven, where Clark, Jimmy and Professor Browning examine the books.
At that moment, the trio discovers that two inch squares have been cut from the middle of book. The holes are big enough to hide a small lead cylander full of radium. Professor Browning theorizes that these books will hide the radium for Deutch's master plan. Only one ounce of radium could destroy the United States, and Doctor Deutch needs twelve ounces for whatever use he has intended for the material.
Suddenly, the door of the book room is locked, and the voice of the mad Doctor Deutch comes over a speaker. He has given Browning and the others a choice: Die when the air runs out, or push a button under the speaker if they wish to live. They have one minute to decide. Professor Browning wants to push the button. However, Clark makes him realize that Deutch will know where the professor, Jimmy and the mild mannered reporter are hiding. Clark tells Browning and Jimmy to get down onto the floor before Deutch cuts off the air.
With Jimmy and Professor Browning unconscious, Clark changes into Superman. He's about to break the door down when the voice of Jimmy's dog Storm indicates a secret trap door that leads to an abandoned passage way. The tunnel goes to a beach of Volcano Island. Both Jimmy and Browning wake up to find Clark Kent, who asks them to wait with Storm while he goes back to see if he can learn more about Deutch's plans.
Returning to his true identity of Superman, our hero learns that Deutch will be sending a radio controlled seaplane to meet a boat about ten miles off shore from Volcano Island. Hans will be loading the plane full of the books that Clark Kent and the others had discovered. Superman goes back to Professor Browning, Jimmy and Storm disguised as the mild mannered reporter. Clark then tells them of his plan to escape the island in the plane.
In the hangar, Clark, Professor Browning, Jimmy and Storm find Hans preparing to load the radio controlled seaplane full of books. They attack Doctor Deutch's henchman and prepare to board the plane. However, Professor Browning has been wounded in the fight with Hans. Clark carries the injured radiologist onto the plane, but Browning dies from his injury before the seaplane arrives at the boat of which Doctor Deutch had spoken.
When the plane arrives, two men find it empty of the cargo it's supposed to carry. They discover Jimmy, Storm and Clark, but the mild mannered reporter - much to Jimmy's surprise - knocks them out. Clark later interrogates the two men. He gets no answers, but Clark forces them to tell where the shortwave radio, which the men claim is broken, is located. Clark then ties up the two men and locks them in the stern compartment before trying to send a message to Commander Leeds' naval base. However it is unknown if the message was sent because two of the radio's six tubes don't seem to be lit.
After a few moments, Clark decides to wait for the boss of the organization, whom the two crewmen mentioned to Clark, to come to the boat. The reporter thinks that the boss will come to the boat if it doesn't arrive at its destination.
Meanwhile, the two crewmen were able to cut the ropes that bound them. They are now using kerosene to set the boat on fire. They then prepare to escape in a lifeboat.
Not long afterwards, Jimmy and Clark leave the radio room after hearing the radio controlled seaplane leave the ship. They find Storm, who warns them of the fire started by the two crewmen. With the crewmen gone, Clark and Jimmy try to put out the fire. Clark asks Jimmy to take Storm to the front of the boat. This gives him a chance to change into Superman. The Man of Steel uses his fireproof cape to smother most of the flame. but it's not enough to stop the fuel tanks from exploding. After a frantic search, Superman finds Jimmy, but Storm seems to be lost at sea. Our hero then flies the unconscious Jimmy to the shoreline.
Later, Jimmy wakes up to find that both he and Clark Kent are alive on shore. Clark tells him he swam while carryng Jimmy. They both learn that the shore on which they have arrived is the same one where the shack hideout was located. Doctor Deutch burned down the shack before going to Volcano Island. Jimmy is distraught over the loss of Storm, but he goes with Clark to find a ride back to Metropolis. However, before they reach the main road, the reporter and copy boy see a man in the shadows dragging a speedboat to the shore. Clark knocks him out only to discover that the man is none other than Secret Service Agent Lewis.
At that moment, both Clark and Lewis recount all the events that occurred for each of them. Now that the location of Doctor Deutch is known by Lewis, he and Clark can find the foreign scientist and his organization in order to make them stand trial for their crimes. However, once Clark calls Perry about Lewis' plan, the editor insists on going to Volcano Island with the secret service agent and the mild mannered reporter.
With Jimmy Olsen tagging along, Lewis, Perry and Clark are now flying to Volcano Island. Lewis says that the water around the west side of the island is deep. Clark is now suspicious of Lewis, but he thinks nothing of it when he and the others are on Volcano Island. On Lewis' suggestion, Clark goes on ahead to make sure everything is okay. However, had he stayed, Clark would have learned that his suspicions were not unfounded. Lewis points his gun at Jimmy and Perry. Now, according to Lewis, Jimmy, Perry and even Clark have now stepped into a trap.
While Hans and some men search for Clark, Lewis has taken Perry and Jimmy to Doctor Deutch. Deutch, while speaking with Jimmy and Perry, receives word that Hans and his men were unable to capture Clark. He then sends Lewis to go back to the area where Clark had left him, Perry and Jimmy.
Pretending to be attacked by Deutch's men, Lewis leads Clark to the tunnel where Doctor Deutch is located and shortly thereafter captures the reporter for Doctor Deutch. Gloating in front of Clark, the mad foreign scientist now has Jimmy and Perry trapped in a cell. Should Clark try to take Deutch, he will flood the cellblock and drown the copy boy and editor. It's at this point that Doctor Deutch reveals the master plan.
Firing a mini-cannon full of one tenth of a grain of radium, Deutch destroys a water pitcher. The master plan is to use two grams of radium to destroy the city of London, England. Should the destruction of London be successful, the rest of the countries allied with London in the war in Europe will be destroyed.
Now that he knows of Deutch's fiendish plans, Clark attacks the mad scientist, but this proves fatal for Jimmy and Perry. The cellbock where they are imprisoned is now flooded, and the lever to stop the water is jammed. Using Superman's tremendous speed and strength, Clark saves Jimmy and Perry.
Later on Volcano Island, Commander Leeds' soldiers have arrested Doctor Deutch and his army of foreign agents. Agent Lewis reveals that he pretended to be part of Deutch's organization in order to be able to learn the villain's master plan. He had to capture Clark and the others to convince Deutch that he was working for the madman. He also pretended to be the boss of the organization.
Now, Doctor Deutch's villainous plot has been foiled, and Clark Kent and his friends are going back to Metropolis with the help of Commander Leeds' men. However, a mystery in the frozen north awaits Superman as he heads for home. Tune in next week for "The White Plague" in The Adventures of Superman, boys and girls.
I hope everybody reading this had a spectacular holiday season and that 2008 turns out to be a great year for all of you. I have a feeling it's going to be great for us Superman fans with the 70th anniversary of the character coming up. Now, on with the review...
I only have one small complant about "Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine." It's minor, but I feel I should get it out of my system. The title gives a little too much away. Maybe "Doctor Deutch and the Master Plan" would have worked better as a name for this story arc. Then again, that's just how I feel about the title. I really loved hearing the story itself. It was a great adventure tale.
There are elements of "Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine" that are very similar to "The Curse of Dead Man's Island." In fact, there are moments where the former feels like a second draft of the latter. Many of the rough spots in "Dead Man's Island" seem to have been worked out in this serial. While "Dead Man's Island" was a good serial, "Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine" is better and has a more emotional hold on the listener. I found myself actually caring about the guest characters and asking why Jimmy had to lose his dog.
The identity of Doctor Deutch's inside helper really surprised me. I was expecting the double agent to be Lt. Evans. However, revealing him as Agent Lewis did make sense as "Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine" progressed. While it isn't mentioned in the end, certain things mentioned in this serial lead me to believe that Agent Lewis sent the map to Doctor Deutch's shack to the Daily Planet.
I don't know about the rest of you reading this, but I love when the serials in The Adventures of Superman make the listener ask themselves about certain things going on throughout the story. It gives them a feeling like they're part of the action, rather than just listening to the story. The announcers have often played a key role in the audience participation in the story arcs by asking, "Have you guessed how this was done?" or "Who is the mysterious ______?" This is one of the many things, in general, that makes The Adventures of Superman radio serials so much fun for me.
Another thing I loved about "Doctor Deutch and the Radium Mine" is the fact that the ending of "The Grayson Submarine" leads right into the beginning of this story. It kind of felt like one of the comic book stories of the 1990s that had the triangle numbering system. I know I'm not the only one that misses that. Anyway, the ending of "Grayson" gave the first chapter of this serial a sense of continuity, which is something the recent comic books are lacking of late. Maybe the creators of the comics should listen to more of the radio serials. Despite some goofs in dialogue throughout various story arcs, The Adventures of Superman radio show seems, in my humble opinion, to make more sense than what I've been reading in the Superman comic books since Infinite Crisis ended.
Doctor Deutch is a very good villain that seems to be a lot like the scientist from the first Fleischer cartoon. (Check those out if you haven't had a chance yet. They're fun to watch.) I really found him to be a great nemesis for the Man of Steel. In fact, he's right up there with the Scarlet Widow and the Yellow Mask when it comes to my favorite evil doers from the radio serials. I'm hoping he finds a way to escape prison and become a thorn in Superman's side again in future stories.
Next week, Superman faces "The White Plague." What will it bring for the Man of Steel and his friends? We'll have to wait and see. Until next time, Superfans, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky.
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