Cover illustration of the comic book Action Comics No. 1 featuring the first appearance of the character Superman, June 1938
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February 12, 2015 7:00 AM EST

It’s a bird, it’s a — well, you know.

By now, Superman’s legendary introduction needs no introduction. But, on this day in 1940, when the Man of Steel made his first foray into the audio serial format, listeners heard them emerge from the radio for the first time.

Though Superman (introduced in print form in 1938) would have several on-air incarnations, he started his radio days in a thrice-weekly show, The Adventures of Superman. At the time, he also appeared in comic form in dozens of U.S. newspaper, in addition to dedicated issues of Action Comics and Superman Quarterly. There were 100,000 members of his fan club, but not everyone loved him equally, as TIME reported in the Feb. 26, 1940, issue:

Neither Superman nor Clark Kent appeared in the first episode, however. Instead, it tells of the destruction of Krypton — as you can hear for yourself below, via the Internet Archive:

[archiveorg id=superman_otr width=500 height=30]

Read original coverage of the debut of Superman’s radio serial, here in the TIME Vault: H-O Superman

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Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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