Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1949: Mystery of the Little MenReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Date: December 31, 1949
"Mystery of the Little Men"
Last night was frantic for Lois Lane. As she was sleeping in her bed, she was awakened by the sound of hideous, gleeful laughter. She turned on the lights to find three little men about one foot high standing on her window sill. They were dressed in top hats and frock coats. Clark Kent believes that she was only dreaming until Perry White and Beany Martin tell him that they also saw the little people. Kent believes that the staff of the Daily Planet is the target of some strange prank. He has just gone to the office of Police Inspector Bill Henderson to discuss this. What the mild mannered reporter learns shocks him. Henderson has also seen the tiny trio.
Private detective Candy Meyers has returned to Metropolis after being away for over a year. He had also seen the strange little men last night and has agreed to help Clark and the others solve this unusual mystery. Lois, Beany, Perry and Clark are all at the chief's home waiting for Candy to arrive when the creepy laughter begins. The three dwarves are on a window sill. This prompts Clark to change into Superman. The Man of Steel lands on the master of small people, whom he discovers is really Candy Meyers. Meyers had trained some miniature marmoset monkeys that he had found in Brazil because he wanted to give his friends an enigma that they could not solve. However, Candy himself was given a mystery without a solution. How did Superman arrive on the scene so quickly?
After the noir atmosphere of previous episodes, "Mystery of the Little Men" is a breath of fresh air with its light and humorous story. I found myself chuckling throughout various moments in the show. It was just pure fun for the ears. It will make the listener smile and forget his or her troubles for a bit. It's honestly delightful.
It's great to have Candy Meyers back in Metropolis. I don't think he's been in any of the thirty minute episodes of The Adventures of Superman that I have reviewed so far. That is unfortunate because he is a character with a lot of potential and should have been used more. In the right hands, Candy could branch out into other media. Alas, the final time we see him is in season one of the George Reeves television show. That's a shame. Maybe one day, DC Comics will come to their senses and put the private detective into some of the newer comic book stories.
Julian Noa is notably absent from "Mystery of the Little Men" for some reason. The actor portraying Perry White, quite honestly, makes him sound more like a cranky grandfather rather than a newspaper editor. Noa's delivery of Perry's dialogue makes the character seem more distinguished than what I heard in this episode. The listener could actually believe that Julian was an important person in Metropolis when he spoke. The opposite is true with the fellow in this broadcast. It doesn't bring down the show's quality, but it is a small flaw in the overall effort.
When one thinks of little men in the Superman universe, one automatically thinks of Mister Mxyzptlk. While the imp from the Fifth Dimension does not show up in "Mystery of the Little Men," Superman has his hands full with three tiny terrors. The monkeys that Candy brings with him really make the Man of Steel's friends believe that they are going mad. They technically aren't villains, but they do give the episode a mysterious, yet whimsical feeling. The fact that they were a part of Candy's practical joke makes this more fun and less predictable.
"Mystery of the Little Men," overall, is a complete change of pace from previous episodes, but that is what makes it so special. The light-hearted nature of the show made it a sheer delight. "The Ghost of Billy Baker" will haunt Metropolis in seven days or so. We'll see if Superman can figure out that strange mystery 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 wonderful articles and reviews on the Superman Homepage. You'll be glad you did.
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