Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1948: The Secret of the GenieReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Dates: August 02, 1948-August 13, 1948
"The Secret of the Genie"
During the war, Superman and Jimmy Olsen had saved a sheik from death at the hands of the Nazis. Now, a servant named Abdul has given a reward to the cub reporter. A locked box containing a statue of a horned man with the body of the ram is now inside the young man's hand. The idol is Shushayah, a genie that can grant anything desired by the owner at 6:00 PM everyday. There is only one catch. Jimmy is to speak with no one about this. Despite not believing this, Jimmy wants to be a great reporter that gets the best stories. The clock strikes at the appointed hour, and Shushayah begins to shake. Suddenly, something shocks Jimmy. Shushayah asks, "What is your wish, master?"
Jimmy has wished for a big scoop in the Daily Planet in order to become the greatest reporter ever. All Jimmy had to do is follow Shushayah's instructions. Copy boy Beany Martin tells Clark Kent that the cub reporter had been acting strangely ever since Abdul had left. Despite telling Beany that Jimmy is probably playing a trick, Clark is worried. Meanwhile, Jimmy is in the Metropolis sewer tunnels, where he follows what seems to be the voice of the genie. There is then a rumbling sound. An explosion has caused rock and earth to crack, and Jimmy has fallen. Clark is right to be preoccupied for his young friend.
Having heard the sewer explosion from Clark Kent's office, Superman has just built a dam before water can flood the adjacent subway tube. Jimmy is unconscious, but the Man of Tomorrow saves him and the rest of Metropolis from certain disaster. Jimmy is currently speaking with Mayor Perry White and Police Inspector Bill Henderson. The latter suspects young Olsen of being involved with the incident. Superman has proven that a bomb, switch and cable were found in the tunnel where Jimmy had been. A rat had tripped the wire and activated the device. Jimmy is clearly worried. The genie Shushayah had granted his wish and may have possibly sent the small creature to save him. This mystery has just gotten more unusual.
Lois Lane and Clark Kent are worried about something happening to Jimmy. It is clear that he wants speak to them about the mysterious events with Shushayah. However, a phone call from Abdul convinces him to do otherwise. The cub reporter must make another wish in the same place where he had spoken to the genie yesterday - Kent's office - at 6:00 PM. While Clark leaves to meet Inspector Henderson at the hour in question, the lad asks for another big scoop. Will Shushayah give Jimmy what he wants?
Shushayah has told Jimmy to go north on River Road for his next story. Lois goes with him when he sees bandits robbing the American Aircraft Company and killing a security guard. Jimmy and Lois are pursuing the criminals as Clark Kent gets a tip about the theft. As Superman streaks away to investigate, Jimmy and Lois' car speeds down a hill toward a river along with the thieves' vehicle. Superman may not make it in time to rescue his friends.
Superman has caught Lois and Jimmy's car and fished the thieves from the river. Jimmy believes that Shushayah sent the Man of Steel to save him as he phones in another story for the Daily Planet. Later, Perry White wants to give Jimmy a raise in his salary. However, Clark believes that someone may be trying to kill the lad when giving him scoops for the newspaper. The mild mannered reporter may not have long to wait to discover the truth. Shushayah intends to grant another wish that may prove to be dangerous for young Olsen.
Clark has gotten nowhere in learning who has given Jimmy his stories. After questioning the boy's mother, Clark is given a letter from a lawyer named Lucius Tuttle in Pine Valley, Vermont, the area where the cub reporter's late father had grown up. Jimmy's Uncle Lem has died and left him ten thousand dollars. Still feeling that his friend is in danger, Kent makes Lois promise to watch over the cub reporter without mentioning the lad's inheritance. Soon after Clark leaves for Pine Valley as Superman, Jimmy enters Kent's office to get Shushayah to grant a third wish for another big news story. Superman may not be able to help the young man out of danger this time.
Clark is in Pine Valley talking to Lucius Tuttle. Uncle Lem was sick and wanted Abner Quinn, his actor nephew on his mother's side, to stay on his farm while the older man was sick. Quinn refused and has been cut out of Lem's estate. Jimmy will inherit all the money unless something happens to him. Now, Superman must race to the Broadway Hotel in Metropolis to find Quinn before the will is probated. Otherwise, Jimmy may be in grave peril. Back at the Daily Planet, Lois is trying to keep an eye on Jimmy, who has the box containing Shushayah in his hands. He is doing everything to avoid the star reporter. Now, Jimmy is in Clark's office. Lois has been watching the door ever since, but when Clark returns, there is no sign of the boy. What has happened to Jimmy?
Nobody seems to know where Jimmy Olsen and Abner Quinn are. As Clark and Lois discuss this, they find Shushayah and a shortwave radio receiver. It is Clark's theory that Quinn had transmitted to Jimmy to make him believe that the genie Shushayah could grant wishes. Worried, Superman begins an intense search for Jimmy, who is at Riverside Amusement Park's Tunnel of Fear. The young man is confronted by none other than Abdul. Inside the amusement park attraction, according to both Abdul and Shushayah, Jimmy will find his next scoop and immortality. Jimmy could very well be walking into a trap.
Superman has had no luck finding Jimmy until Lois tells Clark Kent that private detective Candy Meyers has found Abner Quinn dressed as an Arab in Riverside Amusement Park's Tunnel of Fear. Superman then speeds there in time to save Jimmy from his mad cousin. Abner Quinn will now be going to jail for attempted murder thanks to Superman. However, there isn't much time to celebrate as Perry White wants to fire Jimmy for creating a hoax. Clark Kent convinces him otherwise by saying that Jimmy has a third scoop for the Daily Planet about the arrest of Abner Quinn. This time, the cub reporter got the story without the aid of the genie Shushayah. All is well once again for Superman and his friends, but a new adventure awaits them next week. Be here for "The Mystery of the Letter," gang. Don't miss another minute of The Adventures of Superman.
It's difficult to top last week's serial, but despite being predictable in spots, "The Secret of the Genie" is a very good adventure. I do have one problem with it that technically has nothing to do with the story. It has more to do with something that's been going on in The Adventures of Superman for quite some time. Read on, MacDuff, and I'll tell you in the next paragraph.
Perry White is the editor of the Daily Planet, yet he is also the mayor of Metropolis. How can he do both jobs? I know I've asked this before, but It's difficult for me to believe that when one is a city official that he has time to do the job he did before entering into politics, especially if one has to be in charge of an entire city. There is also the risk that news could be manipulated in the Reform Party's favor. There has not been anyone at the Planet questioning policies or disagreeing with Perry since he won the election. Things in the Superman radio show would have been more interesting if Lois Lane or Clark Kent took Perry's place in the newspaper. Lois did take Perry's place in a Lois and Clark episode. However, it sure would have broken some ground had she done so in 1947-1948. Clark doing White's job could have provided some fascinating conflict with his secret identity. I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I think this was done briefly in the 1990s comic books. Anyway, I really feel the ball was dropped on this whole "Perry is Mayor" thing.
I have mentioned on several occasions that The Adventures of Superman radio series has had an atmosphere similar to its television counter part starring George Reeves as the years get closer to that show's original airing, and "The Secret of the Genie" is no exception to that rule. I honestly felt like Jackie Kelk's dialogue could have easily come from Jack Larson. This helps the listener have fun and enjoy the story more in a way that can make it feel more familiar to them.
Normally, the villains in these radio serials are trying to destroy Superman or kill a member of the supporting cast because their plans were discovered. However, in the case of "The Secret of the Genie," Abner Quinn wanted to kill Jimmy Olsen for his late uncle's inheritance. This kind of plot can be seen everywhere from EC Comics to any murder mystery, but it works well in this serial. The scenes in the amusement park in particular made it have an atmosphere similar to that of The Shadow, and this helps make the story so enjoyable for me. It's done some things that other forms of media have produced a bunch of times, and one is able to figure out that somebody eventually is out to get Jimmy. Still, "The Secret of the Genie" is a decent story that gives the audience some adventure and action. In roughly seven days or so, Superman and his friends must solve "The Mystery of the Letter." We'll see what happens 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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