Batman in Old Time Radio

The back-stories of popular Comic Book Heroes complicated enough to make TV and Radio Soap Opera Serials look like "Dick and Jane" stories.

The comics provided a good deal of material for mystery radio theater  producers and writers to work with during the Golden Age of Radio. Just give a listen to Little Orphan AnnieSupermanTerry and the Pirates, or Blondie to see what we mean. These shows are all well done and enjoyable, but they raise the question "What about Batman?"

While Superman enjoyed a great deal of success on the radio, Batman remained a side-kick for Superman, joining the series in Sept 1945 (years before the two heroes would pair in the comic pages) and sometimes taking over the story later in the series (to allow Superman star Bud Collyer some vacation time). Some have conjectured that the Batman/Superman tie-in was intended as promotion for a proposed Batman radio program that was under development in 1943, but never made it to the air.

Batman and Robin did make an audition program in 1950, The Batman Mystery Club, and Batman fans will breathe a sigh of relief that the project died a quiet death.  (The Batman Mystery Club broadcast can be heard in the Adventure Detectives Rarities Collection.)

The audition opens with Robin calling to order the "103rd meeting" of the club, and introducing Batman, also known as Bruce Wayne. "ALSO KNOWN AS BRUCE WAYNE????" One of the basic tenets of the Superhero genre is the protection of the hero's 
identity, but here Batman is "outted" in the first minute of the program. Perhaps that is OK because the Club is for kids (they can be trusted) and he is not chasing bad guys, but debunking ghost and supernatural stories. Batman sounds more like a stuffy old man than a dashing playboy or dynamic crime fighter. As the meeting progresses Batman exposes the hokum used in a fake séance and then begins the main tale of the evening.

Update: Old Time Radio Catalog
now has a 230+ episode collection of
all of Batman's appearances during the
 golden age of radio.
Bruce Wayne and Robin travel to England to visit the estate of Sir Alfred Dumphrey (not Alfred Pennyworth, trusted butler and confidant of Batman and Robin). We learn that Sir Alfred wants to sell his manor, but cannot find a buyer because the place is "Haunted". To prove that the fear is ridiculous Sir Alfred locks himself in "the Death Chamber" but promises to keep talking so his guests will know he is all right. He comments how stuffy and close the room feels. When the closed room goes silent the door is opened, revealing Sir Alfred's body, but Bruce Wayne will allow no one to enter.
He points out that no one but Sir Alfred could have entered the room, and then ends his story, promising to reveal the solution to the mystery in the next meeting, which, perhaps fortunately, was never recorded.