Superman on Radio & Audio
Superman Radio Series - Story Reviews
1949: The Mystery of the Walking DeadReviewed by: James Lantz
Original Broadcast Date: October 29, 1949
"The Mystery of the Walking Dead"
This is dedicated in memory of Joan Alexander, who passed away on May 21, 2009. She was one of the first actresses to play Lois Lane and will be missed by all of her fans everywhere.
Chrishna, an East Indian man sentenced to the death house, wishes to see the prison warden. Meanwhile, Daily Planet reporter Lois Lane is nervous. She is responsible for Chrishna's being arrested for using his religious rituals in a confidence scheme that led to the murder some women. Warden Reed has just called the newspaper offices. Chrishna wishes to see Lois before he dies. Accompanied by Superman in his guise of Clark Kent, Lois agrees to the convict's request.
Lois and Clark have just arrived at the state penitentiary. Clark wishes to accompany her when she sees Chrishna, but Warden Reed assures him that two guards will be nearby. While he feels no ill will toward her, Chrishna's claims of his soul returning from the dead frighten Lois. Her fears increase when she hears the Indian's voice on Clark's car radio. The mild mannered reporter takes the agitated Lois home, where she answers an eerie telephone call from Chrishna saying the same words about rising from the grave. Fearing for Lois' safety and sanity, Clark calls Warden Reed. Chrishna was not executed at 11:00 PM. However, he did die of a heart attack in his prison cell. Afterwards, the telephone rings again. Clark answers to hear the unusual. Chrishna is speaking to the Man of Steel.
Lois has had a fitful, sleepless night. It is now the next morning. Clark is speaking with Warden Reed. A brother named Ali Satanga Nabith claimed Chrishna's body at the Midtown Mortuary. Chrishna was embalmed and then taken to the Temple of Truth. Lois, however, is still not convinced that he is really dead. Clark has just taken her to the Temple of Truth to prove otherwise. Unfortunately, only members can enter. Desperate, Clark knocks the doorman out and hides him. As the rest of the people pay their respects, something strange occurs. Chrishna is rising from his coffin.
Clark has left the Temple of Truth to assume his true identity of Superman. His superhuman eyes tell him that Lois is now missing from the audience of people paying their respects to Chrishna. The figure of the Indian convict stands erect as two men confront the Man of Steel. Chrishna's body is bathed in bright light before it disappears. Meanwhile, Lois has a gun in her back and is face to face with Chrishna. He is about to kill her when Superman bursts into the room. He forces the Indian to reveal that he is fact Chrishna's twin bother, the same one who had claimed the body at the mortuary. A false bottom was placed in the casket so Ali could impersonate Chrishna. He had also telephoned and broadcast his voice on the radio to scare Lois. Now, Ali Satanga Nabith, like Chrishna, will spend time in a prison cell thanks to Lois Lane and Superman.
Having aired two mere days before Halloween, "The Mystery of the Walking Dead" provides the audience with an eerie atmosphere similar to that of The Shadow or Inner Sanctum Mysteries while, at the same time, working perfectly into The Adventures of Superman. The story itself is very well written and performed. I was pleasantly impressed by the entire episode.
"The Mystery of the Walking Dead," unlike previous episodes in the half hour series, does not feel like it was originally intended for the serial story arcs. While the previous shows reviewed were good efforts, it felt like that some elements of suspense were compromised to compress the stories into thirty minutes. That is not the case with this episode. It gives us the adventure in one complete story. Perhaps the writers have finally mastered the change in direction for the series.
"The Mystery of the Walking Dead" gives the listener's imagination a workout throughout its entire story. One scene that will always be burned into my mind begins when Lois and Clark are in the Temple of Truth. That part of the episode gave me visions and sensations of tension and creepy mystery. This was the main reason I really could not find anything wrong with this adventure. I hope future episodes reviewed are this good.
I mentioned earlier that "The Mystery of the Walking Dead" had an atmosphere similar to The Shadow. One of the reasons for this is the episode's villain Ali Satanga Nabith. He could very well have been a worthy nemesis for Lamont Cranston, but he also is perfect for Superman's Rogues Gallery. Ali helped put fear into both Lois Lane and the audience. The actor's performance was astounding. This is yet another element that makes this story so incredible.
"The Mystery of the Walking Dead" is perhaps the best of the thirty minute episodes so far. Will "One Minute to Death" be as good? We'll find out in seven days or so, Superfans. Until next week, don't touch that dial, and remember to keep smiling and look up in the sky. Now, go read some of the other incredible articles and reviews on the Superman Homepage. You'll be glad you did.
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