The Official Adventures
- 33 1/3 RM Album
Leo the Lion Records, #CH-1022
Every summer of my childhood, Mom and Dad spent one week
out of town at a conference, leaving my brother and me at
our grandparents' house. This welcome break from routine
was always an adventure in itself, but the capper was that
at week's end, the folks would return bearing gifts, souvenirs
of their travels.
One year we hit the jackpot with a pair of groovy records
recounting classic adventures of Superman and Batman. The
records dated to 1966 and doubtless owed their existence
to the Batman craze of that year, but by the time they landed
in our grubby little mitts it was the early 70s. We spent
many a rainy day playing these records over and over, to
the point where I still have the stories memorized even
now, in my dotage. Only years later did I realize they were
adaptations of actual comic book stories, sometimes with
embellishments but often word-for-word.
The albums had some talented voice artists and the kind
of professional sound effects you'd expect from vintage
radio shows. Some of the cast were in fact veterans of Superman's
radio days. Joan Alexander provided the voice of Lois Lane,
as she had for years on radio's "Adventures of Superman,"
in the 17 animated Superman shorts from Fleischer Studios
and in Filmation's "New Adventures of Superman"
cartoon series in the 1960s. Also appearing on this record
was Ms. Alexander's cast-mate from the 60s show, Jack Grimes
as Jimmy Olsen. Providing narration is the incomparable
Beck, another alum of Superman radio and cartoon adventures.
I grew up hearing Beck's booming voiceovers in countless
TV ads and cartoons, and also knew him as the voice of "Bluto"
in the Popeye cartoons. Beck had the kind of voice that
imparted a sense of vital importance and desperate urgency
to just about anything; he probably could have kept me on
the edge of my seat with a reading of the Yellow Pages.
Certainly nobody announced our hero's arrival like he did..."It's
the role of the Man of Steel himself is broadway actor Bob
Holiday, who at the time of this recording was starring
in the musical, "It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's
Superman." If he seems a bit stiffer and less sure
of himself than some of the radio vets here, Holiday definitely
has the kind of deep-chested, heroic delivery you'd expect
in a Superman.
My original copy of the album went missing a long time
ago, but thanks to the modern miracle of eBay, I was able
to track down a nearly pristine copy, complete with original
shrinkwrap and scratch-free disc. That other internet miracle,
Google, turned up a bit more information on the mysterious
The Lion" record label under which this album and
two volumes of Batman recordings were produced.
These are great tracks that really should be re-issued
in a new package. But as that's not likely to happen, and
as I don't want you to have to spend as many years as I
did tracking down an original, I've done a conversion from
vinyl to digital files and made the MP3's available for
download here on the site. Just click on the links and voila!
It's 1966 all over again. The turntable spins, the needle
lowers, and the fun begins. Up, up and away!