When Mark Waid concedes someone knows more than he does on a subject (in this case the 1940s ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN radio program), it gets my attention. Both at his BOOM! blog, as well as a review at Amazon, Waid wrote in praise of Michael J. Hayde‘s 536-page book, Flights of Fantasy: The Unauthorized but True Story of Radio & TV’s Adventures of Superman. So I tracked Hayde (a self-described “writer and researcher of radio & television history”) down to discuss his book in an email interview. In the interview, we also discuss his upcoming interview (tomorrow [August 28] at 11:30 PM [EST]) with Howard Margolin for Margolin’s show Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction over WUSB-FM.
Tim O’Shea: How satisfying was it when Mark Waid (popular comics writer and current EIC of BOOM Comics) wrote: “I’m as big a fan and student of the 1940s ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN radio program as anyone alive, and I thought I was the expert. I was wrong. Added bonus: I learned GOBS from Flights of Fantasy about the 1950s television show…The book is well-written, well put-together, detailed without being mind-numbing (YMMV), and a testament to stupendous research.”
Michael J. Hayde: That was a HUGE thrill! I didn’t know Mark personally, but people who did were plugging the book simply because he liked it. He wrote in his review for Amazon.com that he’d been researching the “Superman” radio show for 30 years. That’s about 27 years more than me. That I was able to uncover things he didn’t know doesn’t speak badly about his research, but about the sorry state of accessible information about the radio show. Very little material was available, so some bad guesses were made by a few historians and authors over the years. Anthony Tollin, the historian for Radio Spirits, tried to correct some of these myths in the booklets that accompanied the audio box sets back in the late 1990’s, but they didn’t reach a wide audience. Just last year, a radio-themed book mentioned a “limited regional run” of “Superman” radio shows during 1939. That’s a myth. The four episodes that have been cited as “evidence” of such a run were audition recordings that never aired. Superman’s radio debut was during the week of February 12, 1940, period.