Snapshots of Jimmy Olsen #40: Radio Jimmies

Source: The Adventures of Superman radio show (1940-1951)
Type: Other media
Jimmy Olsen from the Adventures of Superman radio show is, in fact, the original Jimmy Olsen, conceived so Superman would have someone to talk to. He made his debut on April 15th, 1940, and was only retconned into the comics later, with fans pointing to an unnamed office boy from Action Comics #6 as a precursor. He really wouldn't show up in the comics with a name and personality until 1941's Superman #13.

So who was the voice of Jimmy in the halcyon days of radio serials? Two people, actually. Radio actor and stand-up comic Jackie Kelk was first, playing the role from its inception to 1947(!). Jack Grimes took him the rest of the way to 1951, and then reprised the role in the 1966 Filmation cartoon The New Adventures of Superman, adding another 4 years to his stint as Jimmy's voice (he also played Chim-Chim and Sparky on Speed Racer). His was a squeakier tone, as if Jimmy was going through puberty, while the steadier Kelk gave it a more standard heroic and youthful breathiness.

Not sure which I like more, not if I'm obligated to choose.


Brendoon said...

Aha! So I was wrong in thinking he was played by Marvin Miller.
In one serial where Robin was the Focus Jimmy was conveniently on assignment elsewhere! Same actor, no surprise. But boy, batman sure had no clue back in those days. Clark was an infinitely better detective. He's dumbed down a lot since...
And the Kellogg's sponsor ads are well worth hearing, over an over again. Catchy!


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