Meet the Aussie Superman
The Man of Steel has had many faces – and voices. Lesser known than his fellow Supermen – Henry Cavill, Christopher Reeve and George Reeves – is the Australian Superman. Yes, you read that correctly. More accurately, Queensland Superman!
Those growing up in the late 1940s–early 1950s might remember the locally-made radio series, starring Brisbane native Leonard Teale (best remembered for his performance in the television series Homicide) as Superman and Margaret Christensen as Lois Lane.
In this version, the character first arrives on Earth as an adult, and his Clark Kent persona is conceived by a man and a boy he has rescued from a certain death.
At least 1040 15-minute episodes were produced and broadcast between 1949 and 1954 (Monday to Thursday at 6:30 pm on 2GB). The NFSA holds selected scripts, as well as an incomplete collection ranging from episode 1 to 1020.
The synopsis reads: ‘An adventure radio series for children. This American-inspired series was based on the exploits of Superman, a superhero whose real identity is Clark Kent, reporter for the newspaper The Daily Planet.’
The following news story was published in The Standard on 10 March 1949:
"Superman, the recently-acquired AW 6 o’clocker, not only makes a better radio serial than a newspaper strip, but it is also more healthy for children than most of the serials currently broadcast. Of course, our magnetic friend, Clark Kent, still performs miracles, but then you expect that sort of thing in Superman, and it merely seems part of the fun. It is also so fantastic as to present no worry to mothers with sensitive youngsters."
Another pleasing feature about the AW show is that while we still recognise the script as American, the serial is recorded by Australian voices.
Courtesy of the Macquarie Radio Network, we’ve published episodes 1 and 2 on our Soundcloud page: