Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1950: The Story of Marina BaumReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Date: November 23, 1950
"The Story of Marina Baum"
In response to an urgent telephone call from Jimmy Olsen's mother, Clark Kent is about to leave his office at the Daily Planet when he receives a visitor. It is Marina Baum, Jimmy's girlfriend. She wishes to speak with Clark about the same thing in which Mrs. Olsen had discussed. After a boy made some cruel comments about Marina's ethnic background, Jimmy had gotten into a fight with the lad. Not only that, the cub reporter's own mother believes that he shouldn't see Marina because she worships God differently. Clark is shocked by this and begins to tell Marina's story to her
We now go back in time to Poland during the Nazi invasion. Marina's father saw that it was dangerous for his two children. Not long afterwards, German soldiers had made Marina, her brother Peter and other children orphans. Many of the boys and girls were killed by the stormtroopers, but Marina and Peter survived. An elderly wood cutter took them to convent, where the Catholic nuns allowed her to pray in the way she wishes. A few months ago, a Polish family in Metropolis had adopted the Baum children.
Despite her bigotry, Mrs. Olsen believes herself to be a tolerant person. However, hearing Marina's story has made her see the error of her ways. Suddenly, Jimmy, who had gone for a walk to calm down, frantically bursts into the house to give his mother and Clark some shocking news. Marina Baum had never returned home.
As Superman searches Metropolis for Marina, Jimmy's mother apologizes to him for her behavior. Just then, the Man of Steel arrives to let the Olsens know that Marina is coming by with a friend. It is Father Damien from the local Catholic church. He assures Jimmy that the boy he had punched understood that he made a mistake. His parents will continue the lesson that the cub reporter had started, only they will be less physical about it. Now, Marina, Father Damien and Superman have been invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with the Olsen family in order to enjoy the true spirit of the holiday.
So far, this is the only episode in Michael Fitzmaurice's run on The Adventures of Superman that exists.
The movie serial The Atom Man Versus Superman starring Kirk Alyn is promoted at the end of this episode.
"The Story of Marina Baum" kind of hits close to home for me. Jimmy is in love with a girl who worships differently from him, and his mother cannot accept this at first. In 2001, I met a gorgeous Italian woman and left the United States to be with her. Some of my relatives weren't crazy for this. They never said anything directly, but their attitudes made me believe that there was some prejudice involved. However, like Jimmy, I followed my heart. I went on to marry this beautiful lady in 2003 in spite of the family. In fact, had it not been for my wife, I would not be writing these reviews. She encouraged me to contact Steve Younis about doing them, and I cannot thank her enough for that.
The true villain in "The Story of Marina Baum" is bigotry. Throughout mankind's violent history, people have always feared those who were different from them. This is because they do not understand the unknown. Instead of embracing it, folks tend to lash out at it. As Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry have said many times, as long as there is prejudice and intolerance, the spirit of hate will always be in the human race.
"The Story of Marina Baum" is reminiscent of the post-war serials like "The Skin Game" and "The Clan of the Fiery Cross" from the fifteen minute episodes of The Adventures of Superman. It teaches its lesson without pushing it down the audiences' collective throats. It entertains and delivers a message of racial and religious tolerance as timeless as the series itself. The cast and crew did a fantastic job giving us a wonderful story with a moral in it.
Admittedly, I was ready to give "The Story of Marina Baum" a bad review merely for the fact that Bud Collyer was replaced in the series by Michael Fitzmaurice. Collyer is definitely the quintessential voice of Clark Kent and Superman, and the radio series without him can be a bit jarring to one has heard the existing episodes with him in the role of our favorite hero. However, once I listened to the show from beginning to end a couple of times, I realized that Fitzmaurice did a fine job as the Man of Steel. He's no Collyer, but he handled the part well. Had more of Fitzmaurice's run on The Adventures of Superman existed, perhaps the fans could become more used to his style of performance.
"The Story of Marina Baum" was an informative and entertaining episode. It was the perfect way to end this series of reviews. After this, there are no other episodes available for now. That's right, Superfans. This is the last time you will be reading my opinions on The Adventures of Superman radio show. It was fun listening to every minute. I will be more than happy to review any of the missing programs should they ever surface. Until then, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky.
I honestly had a great time writing about The Adventures of Superman on radio. Some serials and stories were great, and others were not so good. However, the overall efforts of the writers, producers and actors made it fun to listen to every moment. Reviewing the series was a challenge and joy for me. I'll miss hearing the voices of Bud Collyer, Joan Alexander, Jackie Kelk, Julian Noa, Jackson Beck, Mason Adams and everyone else involved in the cast. Thank you to my wife (again), Steve Younis and everyone out there who actually reads my words (all two and a half of you.) Without you, none of this would have been possible. I'll continue to ramble on about the Man of Steel in my reviews for the TV series starring George Reeves, but be sure to check out the other super articles and reviews on the Superman Homepage. You'll be glad you did.
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