Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1945: The Atom ManReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Dates: October 11, 1945-November 06, 1945
"The Atom Man"
The Scarlet Widow and Sniggers are hiding from the Metropolis police in the back room of a gift shop. Der Teufel, whose name means "The Devil," had stolen a quarter of the deadly Kryptonite meteor from the Widow. The Widow writes to her underworld agents. She has increased the bounty for Der Teufel to two hundred thousand dollars. The object of the Scarlet Widow's vengeance is going to Germany in the guise of Finance Minister of Belgravia Doctor Alexander Alofsky. He is in search of Professor Mirk, who can dissolve the Kryptonite into a material needed to create an Atom Man that can destroy Superman.
Clark Kent is at Metropolis Police Headquarters speaking with Inspector Henderson. One of Henderson's men calls to report a fire with green flame and a dead body. Clark and Henderson go to the tenement where the strange blaze occurred. The dead man is the real Doctor Alexander Alofsky. He had been stabbed, and his clothes had been taken. Next to him is the severely injured Fred Kraus, henchman of Der Teufel. The walls are all green as a result of the fire. Clark looks inside a test tube and finds Kryptonite residue. Doctors are trying revive the unconscious Kraus to learn what had happened to Alofsky.
Kraus has just come around. He struggles to say that Der Teufel killed Alofsky and took the Kryptonite to the Atom Man. Kraus dies before he can say more. Clark and Henderson debate the validity of Kraus' words about the Kryptonite and the Atom Man.
Count Bilavich of the Belgravian Embassy has just arrived. He identifies Alofsky's body. The count says that the financial minister left Metropolis three days ago. Clark then theorizes that Der Teufel, who is roughly the same build as Alofsky, disguised himself as the minister in order to leave America undetected. Henderson and Kent follow the Nazi scientist's trail via shortwave radio after taking Count Bilavich to his embassy. They now know that there had been no sign of Der Teufel since he was seen in Berlin, and Alofsky should have arrived in Belgravia.
Der Teufel is in an inn not far from the Black Forest. He shows the American military false papers and says that he's the owner's cousin. The innkeeper Gottfreid, member of the post-war Nazi underground, takes the scientist to the entrance to a secret underground passage just as sirens are heard. The tunnel goes through the Black Forest and will lead Der Teufel to Professor Mirk.
Clark Kent is in Berlin speaking with Colonel Greely, Chief of Intelligence at American Occupation Headquarters. His soldiers have searched all over for Der Teufel, but they have had no luck. A call comes in from Captain Nicolai Maiski of the Russian Occupational Police. He has a clue about Der Teufel and must speak with Greely in person. Maiski found a man wearing the clothes in which Der Teufel had taken from Doctor Alexander Alofsky. Der Teufel switched clothes with the man and took his documents.
Der Teufel is in a cave explaining his plans to Professor Mirk and the rest of the post-war underground. Mirk will dissolve the Kryptonite. Der Teufel will create a solution with the liquified meteor and place it in a converter. He will attach the mechanism to a human being. The Kryptonite will flow through the man's veins. In addition to the Kryptonite converter, Der Teufel will give the Atom Man some gloves that will emit Kryptonite energy like lightning from his finger tips. All Der Teufel needs is a volunteer to become the Atom Man.
Two American Occupation Policemen return to Gottfreid's inn after hearing the announcement of Der Teufel's new disguise. One soldier remembers seeing the German scientist two days ago. The innkeeper shoots both men. One of the military policemen, despite being wounded, calls headquarters about seeing Der Teufel at the inn.
Professor Mirk and Der Teufel are working on the Kryptonite solution. Mirk says that his son will be the perfect person to be the Atom Man. He was a soldier that was given the Iron Cross by Hitler himself. In one hour, the solution will be ready, and the downfall of the mighty Superman can begin.
A nearby military base has received the wounded American soldier's message about Der Teufel being at Gottfreid's inn. The installation's commanding officer Major Carol is now taking some men to investigate.
Clark Kent is in Berlin saying goodbye to Colonel Greely. He feels Der Teufel will not be found if he hasn't been caught by now. Kent now flies back to Metropolis as Superman.
Der Teufel has injected the Kryptonite solution into Professor Mirk's son. The converter will be attached to the young man's body, and the gloves that will shoot green Kryptonite energy shall be placed on his hands. However, something seems to have gone wrong. Mirk's son's heart is no longer beating. The Atom Man seems to be a failure, but Der Teufel says that the Nazi soldier is not dead. In the scientist's eyes, the Atom Man is still alive.
Two hours have passed since the Kryptonite solution had been injected into Professor Mirk's son. Mirk is crazed with grief over the supposed death of his son. He wants to bring the American Military Police to the secret cave hideout of the Nazis. Taking a gun from a soldier, Der Teufel pursues the chemist into the dense Black Forest.
Major Carol and some soldiers have arrived at Gottfreid's inn. A military doctor is tending to the wounded men that had been shot by the innkeeper. Gottfreid too has been shot. The dying man tells Carol where to find Der Teufel. However, he has led the Americans onto a false trail.
Der Teufel has returned to the Nazi cave. He shot Professor Mirk twice in the back thirty minutes ago. The members of the German underground doubt Der Teufel's sanity. They are about to sentence him to death and dig a grave for Mirk's son when the young man begins breathing. The Atom Man now lives!
The converter has now been attached to the Atom Man's throat and the metal gloves placed on his hands. The Nazi underground leaves the cave while the Atom Man tests his immense power. Emitting great mounts of energy from his gloves, the Atom Man destroys the Nazis' cave hideout and creates a canyon-like hole just before some American soldiers enter the Black Forest.
After making the young man believe that Americans killed his father, Der Teufel now gives young Mirk his orders. Using the name Henry Miller that he used when he went to college in America, the Atom Man is to go Metropolis to secure a job at the Daily Planet. Once there, he is to learn how the reporters contact Superman and destroy the Man of Steel. With Superman out of the way, the Atom Man can rid Germany of all of its enemies.
Doctor James Millicent is discussing the Kryptonite with Superman. The sliver of the meteor he had examined was destroyed while it was being tested in a cyclotron. Millicent has not yet found a way to help Superman against the Kryptonite, but he has been able to work on the detection device that can help Superman find the meteor through its radiation. The Kryptonite detector should be ready later this afternoon.
Superman now asks Millicent about Der Teufel's Atom Man. The scientist believes that the Atom Man is practically impossible, but Der Teufel is a scientific genius.
Perry White is yelling at Jimmy Olsen. The editor is clearly angry because Clark Kent hasn't been seen around the offices of the Daily Planet much since the Kryptonite was stolen from the Metropolis Museum two weeks ago. To teach Clark a lesson, Perry hires a new reporter to take his place. The reporter's name is Henry Miller. Perry even gives Miller Clark's office.
Henry Miller is being introduced to the Daily Planet staff by Jimmy. This includes Clark Kent, who has just arrived and learned of his replacement. Upon shaking hands with Miller, Clark becomes as pale as a ghost and weakens. The Kryptonite in Miller's blood works even though he is not wearing the converter and gloves. Superman has now met the lethal Atom Man. However, neither man is aware of the other's secret identity.
Lois has suggested that Clark go into Perry's office. She then tells the chief to keep Kent there. Believing Clark is having a nervous breakdown, Lois calls a rest farm. Two burly men are to take Clark there. Both Clark and Perry protest as the men try to grab Kent, but the mild mannered reporter eventually stops resisting.
Henry Miller is meeting with Der Teufel. The scientist cannot meet with his Atom Man very often because the police, the F.B.I. and the Scarlet Widow's men are searching for him. Miller is to work on his own. He's to go through the desks of Lois Lane, Perry White and Clark Kent to get information about Superman after the evening edition of the Daily Planet is printed and everyone leaves the building after 7:00 tonight.
It is now 7:00 in the evening, Clark Kent is in his room at the rest farm. He uses Superman's tremendous strength to bend the window's bars. Superman flies to the Daily Planet. He enters through Clark Kent's office. He's about to leave a note for Jimmy Olsen when hears someone going through Lois Lane's desk as if to search for something. Superman finds that Henry Miller is in Lois' office.
Placing his hands in his jacket pockets, Miller is about to put on the converter and gloves to attack Superman. The arrival of Lois and Jimmy interrupts the Atom Man's plan. Lois and Jimmy explain who Miller is and tell the Man of Steel about Clark. Miller said that he was looking for his gold cigarette case. In the dim light, Miller thought Lois' office was his. Superman says that he's looking for Clark and will help get him out of the rest farm. Miller leaves now that the "misunderstanding" has been cleared up.
Superman had been feeling the strange weakness that he had felt as Clark Kent. Thinking it's caused by the green stone in a ring that Lois is wearing, Superman asks Jimmy to take it to Doctor Millicent for examination. Millicent later tells Superman that the jewel is only a milky jade. The scientist also gives Superman some bad news. There have been some major setback with the Kryptonite detector, and it looks like it may never be finished.
Henry Miller is on the phone with Der Teufel. He tells the Nazi madman that he knows exactly how to reach Superman whenever Der Teufel decides that he wants to eliminate the Man of Steel. Miller says that Clark Kent can contact Superman. The Atom Man and Der Teufel argue about how to get Clark to get a hold of the Man of Tomorrow. Der Teufel then orders Henry Miller to become friends with Kent. Miller then remembers something. Superman was weak in his presence, but Clark had also felt that way earlier in the day. This makes both villains understand that Clark Kent is Superman. However, they require proof.
Knowing that lead can block the Kryptonite radiation, Der Teufel will create a lead vest that will keep the Kryptonite in Miller's blood from harming Clark. To make sure the vest works, Miller is to remove it to see if the Kryptonite will have any ill effects on Clark. Der Teufel and the Atom Man will know Clark and Superman are one and the same if their plan works.
The next morning, a cable message arrives for Clark at the Daily Planet. The authorities in Berlin believe that Der Teufel is dead. A German soldier tried to save himself by revealing Der Teufel's experiments with the Kryptonite, which was thought to have been destroyed in the Black Forest explosion. Clark is more at ease now, and Perry has given him his job back because of Der Teufel's death being a big scoop. Clark only needs to advise the approaching Henry Miller that he'll be moved to a desk in the city room.
Henry Miller is wearing the lead vest. The Kryptonite isn't weakening Clark, but it certainly does so after Miller's garment has been removed. Miller calls Der Teufel to tell him what he has learned. The madman orders the Atom Man to take Jimmy Olsen to a beach house a few miles north of Grant Crossing in the guise of going out for a news story.
Jimmy and Lois have returned to the newspaper offices after taking Clark to a doctor. He tells Miller that Clark probably ate something that didn't agree with him. Miller, or Hank as he wants Jimmy to call him, then goes with Jimmy on the newspaper story dreamed up by Der Teufel.
Miller has brought Jimmy to Der Teufel and calls Clark to say that he and young Olsen are in trouble. Clark says Superman will arrive to help. The Man of Steel has come to Jimmy and Miller only to get the shock of his life. Miller has placed the converter and meshed metal gloves onto himself. He activates the mechanism. The gloves emit the Kryptonite energy. The Atom Man has made his first attack on Superman!
Bolts of Kryptonite from the Atom Man's gloves are striking Superman repeatedly. Mustering what little strength he has, the Man of Steel escapes and struggles to get the converter off Henry Miller's throat. His efforts are unsuccessful. The Atom Man shoots more Kryptonite in various directions to try and kill Superman. Our hero tries to lift an uprooted tree to defend himself, but he doesn't have enough power within his body to do so. The unconscious Man of Steel is trapped under the tree. The Atom Man strikes again like a panther ready to kill its prey.
Jimmy Olsen is in a shack in the nearby forest. Der Teufel's henchman Willy is guarding him. The fight between the Atom Man and Superman causes the shack to shake and tremble. Willy makes to escape, but the roof caves in and kills him. Jimmy runs to the beach. Not knowing that the Atom Man's victim is Superman, Jimmy sees the crazed German attack someone trapped under an uprooted tree. The panicked young Olsen runs back into the woods to search for help. He eventually finds a trapper's cabin. Unfortunately, the man doesn't have a telephone, but he takes Jimmy to the forest ranger's station so he can call someone.
Der Teufel and the Atom Man are in a heated argument over the fate of Superman, Metropolis and the entire world. The Atom Man also knows the truth about who really killed his father Professor Mirk. Miller no longer needs Der Teufel. The mad scientist told him earlier that the Scarlet Widow has more Kryptonite, which Miller will need when his energy is exhausted. The Atom Man uses the Kryptonite energy within him to kill Der Teufel. He then hears sirens in the distance. Miller has buried Superman in the ravaged beach's sand and made it look as if lightning had struck Der Teufel. Henry Miller then heads for Metropolis to destroy Superman's beloved city
Jimmy has brought Sheriff Simpson and a deputy to the scorched beach. They find the dead body of Der Teufel, a gun and pieces of red cloth. Not knowing that the shreds belong to Superman's cape, the sheriff and deputy dig a little in the sand. However they don't go deep enough to find Superman. Jimmy tells Simpson that he saw Miller shoot green lightning, but the sheriff only thinks that a storm damaged the beach. Jimmy's then ordered to give a description of Miller to the authorities in Littlewood. Inspector Henderson and a doctor should arrive soon to investigate the beach further. Jimmy wishes Superman were there to stop Miller. Little does young Olsen know that the Man of Steel is under the young man's feet.
Inspector Henderson and his men have left the beach. Two duck hunters named Joe Nelson and Mark Andrews have arrived just before sunset. They are shocked to see the destruction caused by the Atom Man's battle with Superman. The hunters' dog digs in the spot where Superman had been buried. The dog's barking irritates Joe, but both men find a foot in the sand. Superman has been found, but his costume is torn beyond recognition. Nobody knows who he really is. Nelson then leaves to call an ambulance.
Superman is now in a hospital. He is in a coma. Doctors believe that only a blood transfusion can save him. Unfortunately, his invulnerable skin prevents the needles used for this from entering his body. Everyone thinks the lightning created by the Atom Man has petrified Superman's skin. Without the necessary blood plasma, the doctors assume that Superman is doomed.
Henry Miller has arrived in Metropolis shortly before 11:00 PM. He is riding an elevator to the top of the Metropolis Bank Tower, the highest point in the city. He puts on the converter and metal gloves. The Atom Man intends to use the atomic energy from the Kryptonite in his blood to destroy every building, man woman and child in Metropolis. Will his mad plan of genocide succeed? Can Superman awaken from his coma in time to save Lois Lane, Perry White, Jimmy Olsen and all the innocent citizens of his beloved city? Tune in next week, fellows and girls, for "The Atom Man in Metropolis" to find out because something exciting is sure to happen in The Adventures of Superman.
During "The Scarlet Widow," the doctor examining the Kryptonite was named John Millican. Now, Doctor James Millicent is trying to find a way to neutralize the lethal meteorite.
Before Metallo and the Kryptonite Man, there was "The Atom Man." Overall, this serial was incredible. However, there is one thing in the story that troubles me. Der Teufel tells Henry Miller that the Kryptonite energy in the Atom Man's blood will be exhausted. Now, I'm no expert on the subject, and I hope somebody corrects me if I'm wrong. Don't the cells reproduce themselves after blood is taken from a body to perform tests? Shouldn't the Kryptonite in Miller's veins do the same thing if it's part of the Atom Man's bloodstream? Maybe I'm missing something here, or perhaps I'm just thinking too much. The writers probably wanted some way to make the story more interesting if Miller's power had its limits.
In every case, "The Atom Man" is an enjoyable story arc despite the possible plot hole. It goes at the speed of a Flash/Superman race. If your mind's eye blinks, it misses all of the action. The serials from 1940-1942 that had more than twelve chapters tended to lose their direction about halfway through the middle of the saga. This, so far, hasn't been the case with the radio shows done after World War II. ("Doctor Blythe" up to this one.) The writing seems more focused in the past few tales.
I haven't discussed this much, but Jackson Beck does a tremendous job as narrator for The Adventures of Superman. His dramatic delivery for the dialogue is what really helps keep the audience on their toes and makes them want to tune in for more to find out what will happen next. I honestly don't think the past few serials would be the same without Beck's narration. Mr. Beck, thank you for such wonderful work. You will be greatly missed.
Mason Adams gives a spectacular performance as the title character in this serial. While his voice doesn't change to the extent of Bud Collyer's when he's playing Clark Kent and Superman, Adams has a way of saying his lines in different ways that make the listener believe that he's two separate people. As Henry Miller, he's a man trying to make friends and do a good job until the Atom Man shows his true colors. His only interest is crushing Superman and the free world for the Fatherland. Adams pulls off the evil of "The Atom Man" in ways nobody else could do it.
Next week, the fate of Superman's city hangs in the balance in "The Atom Man in Metropolis." Tune in for that serial in seven days or so, Superfans. Until we meet again, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky.
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