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Welcome to the four hundred and fourteenth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and thirteen. This week, learn whether Kryptonite was really added to the Superman radio show to give the actor who played Superman a vacation! Discover who was originally going to play the role in New X-Men that Grant Morrison ultimately gave to the Beast! And finally, find out Adam Strange’s strange origin!
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Kryptonite was first introduced on the Superman radio show as a way for the actor playing Superman to take time off the show.
I’ve written in the past about how Kryptonite actually first appeared on the Superman radio show before it appeared in the comics (although, as I have also noted, it is very likely that the radio show got the idea from an unpublished Superman comic book that introduced the idea of a metal from Krypton that negatively affected Superman). However, there has been a misleading piece of information about the introduction of kryptonite into the radio show.
As the story goes, the show added the metal to the program to give actor Bud Collyer, who played Superman, time off from the show (as there were no reruns back then)…
However, as noted in Glen Weldon’s “Superman: An Unauthorized Biography,” Collyer was actually present during the entire first storyline on the radio show featuring kryptonite in 1943.
I believe that the show later DID use kryptonite to give Collyer time off in a late 1945 sequence on the series (the introduction of “The Atom Man”) but it is fair to say that that is not how kryptonite was FIRST introduced on the radio show, which is how it is very often reported (luckily, never by me exactly, although I certainly have strongly implied it in the past).
Thanks to Weldon for the information and thanks to my pal Loren for suggesting this one!
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On the next page, who did Beast replace in Grant Morrison’s New X-Men?
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