Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1946: Counterfeit MoneyReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Dates: October 17, 1946-November 05, 1946
Jimmy Olsen has just been arrested, and Perry White is at police headquarters. Jimmy could possibly get at least five years in a federal prison. Clark Kent has arrived to find his editor and Metropolis Police Inspector Bill Henderson at each other's throats. Once things have calmed down, everything is explained. Jimmy has been passing counterfeit money to five businesses in his neighborhood.
Perry and Clark are now speaking with Jimmy. He claims to have only cashed his salary check and paid some bills for his mother. He doesn't know how he got the false currency. However, Clark can see that Jimmy is lying to cover for somebody. The cub reporter confirms this, but it's clear that Jimmy is too scared to reveal more to Perry and Clark.
Jimmy has been bailed out of jail. However, he still won't reveal what he knows about the counterfeit money even in the privacy of Clark Kent's office. It isn't until Lois Lane is arrested for giving a fake five dollar bill to a cab driver that the cub reporter decides to talk, but he must prepare Clark for a shock. Mary Hinick gave the false currency to Jimmy, but she remembers that she had seen Biff Morgan, a former friend that used to steal things with her for Al Vincent, on Saturday on her way to work for the Daily Planet. He asked her to join his gang for easy money and had given her fifteen dollars that he owed her, which worked out perfectly because Sunday was her mother's birthday. Mary then asked Jimmy to give her a ten dollar bill for two fives and Lois needed the other five. The cash Biff had given Mary was bogus, but she didn't know this.
Clark has a plan that can help clear Lois that will require Inspector Henderson's cooperation, but first, Mary must tell the police everything she knows. Plus, Clark's idea could be dangerous for young Mary. She's to join Biff's gang and go undercover to bring down the counterfeiting ring. Henderson reluctantly agrees to do this, but there's only forty-eight hours to solve this case. Otherwise, the mayor will have Henderson replaced- Can Mary and Superman do everything in time?
Mary has gone to Biff's hangout to join his gang. After much convincing, Biff lets her become a member of the group, but first, the big boss Mister Pearly must meet her. Herman, burly henchman of Pearly, tells them to go see his chief. Pearly says that he runs a messenger service to deliver messages, packages, etc. However, some of the clients are in trouble with the police. Mary is given two hundred and sixty dollars in counterfeit money to pay for two compartment reservations on The Limited to California for a client.
Mary is now at the Eastern Railroad Station calling Clark Kent. She is unable to finish telling him everything she knows, even her location. Biff and Herman had followed her as Pearly had ordered. She has just been taken away in a car. Can Superman get Mary out of danger before her cover is blown?
Inspector Henderson is angry with Clark. He believes that Mary has returned to her criminal ways. Meanwhile, Mary is in Mister Pearly's office saying that she called her mother because she doesn't know that the girl quit her job at the Daily Planet. She examined the money because she had never seen that much money before. Herman and Biff think she's lying, but they never heard her telephone conversation. So someone Pearly calls the Big Shot doesn't get into trouble, Mary is temporarily let go. How will the counterfeiting ring be stopped now?
Herman is speaking with Pearly. The latter doesn't want Biff Morgan to know too much. Pearly then decides not to eliminate Mary yet, but once she's away from the offices, she'll be dealt with - especially if the police raid Pearly's Reliable Messenger Service.
Mary has told Henderson and Clark of Pearly's suspicions. The inspector gets some men to go to the offices of the Reliable Messenger Service to arrest Pearly. Unfortunately, Henderson is unaware that he has just signed Mary Hinick's death warrant.
Superman has stopped Henderson from raiding Pearly's offices as everything has been removed. He then suggests that Henderson follow Clark Kent's plan further. The mild mannered reporter only wants Henderson to act like he's investigating the entire neighborhood in search of some kids that had fake money with them. Mary is to tip Pearly off about this in order to gain his confidence. The plan works, and Mary is later ordered to meet Pearly at the Adams Hotel Coffee Shop on Fourth Street for details on a new job. Despite Pearly's believing in Mary, the ape-like Herman does not trust her. He has followed her and is about to place a knife in the young girl. Superman is unaware of Mary's peril. Can anyone prevent tragedy from happening to her?
Policeman Officer Murphy has escorted Mary to a bus. This has left Herman unable to stab the girl. She is now meeting with Pearly. She is to bring two kids to become new messengers for him. Biff Morgan will get another one giving Pearly a total of five delivery persons. The new offices, which will be called the Dependable Messenger Service, will be on 225 Front Street. She and the juveniles she recruits are to be there at 9:00 AM tomorrow. Jimmy Olsen and Beany Martin, copy boy for the Daily Planet, volunteer to help Mary. Their plan almost works, but Beany realizes that the boy with Biff named Monk, who just entered Pearly's office, knows him because they used to be neighbors. The youthful trio's cover may have possibly been blown.
Beany has run back to the Daily Planet in order to keep Mary and Jimmy's mission a secret. They are doing deliveries for Pearly while Beany explains everything to Clark. Meanwhile, the leader of the gang, someone named Mister Paradise is angry because of the newspaper stories of the counterfeiting ring. One article tells of Jimmy and Lois being arrested and later released. Thinking that Mary gave both reporters the false money, Mister Paradise intends to eliminate the girl, who is with Jimmy on the way back to the offices of the Dependable Messenger Service, and Superman is in his guise of Clark Kent at police headquarters.
Mary explains that the fake currency came from Biff last week. Mister Paradise and Pearly punish him by not allowing him to work for a period. Jimmy, who is using the last name Miller, overhears everything. Mary leaves Pearly's office, and both she and Jimmy hear that Mister Paradise and Pearly will not be printing anymore false money until Inspector Henderson's forty-eight hour deadline has expired. This means Mary will go to prison for passing counterfeit bills. Pearly and Mister Paradise are leaving to close the offices for a few days. Because it's too late to contact Clark, Mary and Jimmy must follow the two men to the area where the bogus cash is printed even if it means certain death for both of them.
Jimmy and Mary are unable to contact Clark from the office building's phone booth. He answered their call in his office just as Pearly and Mister Paradise hailed a taxi. The two youths follow them in another cab that later takes them to the foggy waterfront. The mist is so thick that they can barely see. Just as the two teenagers continue their search for the counterfeiting ring's hideout, the burly Herman grabs them. Jimmy and Mary are now helpless in the henchman's steel grip. Can anyone save them from this peril?
Mary and Jimmy have been placed in a room as ordered by Pearly and Mister Paradise. If they so much as scream, they will be eliminated. Jimmy tries to signal a tugboat by hurling his Superman Crusader Ring, but his throw misses its target. He later tries with Mary's ring on another ship. This time, it flies from the window to the deck of the vessel. Meanwhile, Herman is taking Biff Morgan from the Dependable Messenger Service to Paradise's waterfront hideout. Pearly and Mister Paradise want to kill Biff for giving Mary the fake money that was in Lois and Jimmy's possession. They also think that police will question Biff about Mary and Jimmy. Three youths are now about to meet their doom, and unfortunately, Superman does not know this because he's searching for Pearly at the office from which Biff and Herman had exited mere seconds ago.
As Herman takes Biff to the waterfront in a taxi. A reporter named Nicholls tells Clark that a tugboat captain found Mary's Superman Crusader Ring. Man of Steel gave the rings out at Unity House recently. Now, Clark must speak with the crew of the ship about the object. This helps him get a clue to Jimmy and Mary's whereabouts. He searches for them in his true identity of Superman. Meanwhile, Biff is trapped with Jimmy and Mary, and all three teens are in danger of becoming the gigantic Herman's next victims.
Superman has heard Herman's gunshots intended for Biff, Jimmy and Mary. The Man of Steel makes short work of Herman, Pearly and Mister Paradise along with their counterfeiting ring. Even though Biff Morgan must serve his time in a reformatory, Mary Hinick's probation has been lifted because of her aiding the police. She and Jimmy will even get new Superman Crusader Rings. All is well once again in Metropolis thanks to Superman.
Some days have passed since Mister Paradise's gang was arrested. Beany has given Jimmy a letter from Clark. The contents the note shock the cub reporter. Kent says he's leaving, and he may never see Jimmy, Lois and Perry ever again. "The Disappearance Of Clark Kent" is sure to be a great mystery for his friends at the Daily Planet, boys and girls. Be sure to tune into The Adventures of Superman next week to see what happens.
The Superman Crusader Ring was written into this serial's story as an effort to begin promoting an offer for the same object from Kellogg's Pep.
"Counterfeit Money" was a basic "Superman Versus The Metropolis Underworld" kind of serial, but it was very well done. I would have changed the villains names in the story had I written it, but aside from that small complaint, this is an entertaining arc.
I happened to notice in my review of "Al Vincent's Corrupt Political Machine" that I didn't mention much about Mary Hinick. That's because I wasn't expecting her to return. Is she a good character? It's still too soon for me to make a judgement about that. I'll have to wait and see if she'll return for future story arcs. All I can say for now until that happens is stay tuned for more on Mary should she be back for another serial.
I had mentioned before that the writers of "Counterfeit Money" could have used different handles for the villains in this serial. The names Mister Paradise, Pearly and Herman sound more like members of a 1960s rock group than a band of criminals making fake money and passing it around Metropolis. However, in the writers' defense, it is difficult to come up with a moniker for a character sometimes. At least, it is for me. Still, this doesn't excuse the fact that it would be easier to take the bad guys seriously if they were called something else.
It was nice to see a prize from Kellogg's Pep be a part of "Counterfeit Money." I think this was done before with the sun dial watch some time before "Doctor Blythe's Confidence Gang." Anyway, it's rather fun to have the Superman Crusader Ring be used in the serial while it's being promoted. It makes the audience feel like the characters are just like them, which adds to the enjoyment of the story.
Overall, "Counterfeit Money" was a very good serial despite some problems I had with the villains' monikers. Let's hope "The Disappearance Of Clark Kent" provides the same enjoyment in seven days or so, Superfans. Until we meet again next week, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky.
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