Thrill to the 1975 Fantastic Four radio show, starring Bill Murray

I'm shocked to learn that there was a 1975 radio show based on the Marvel comic book The Fantastic Four, and it featured a 25-year-old Bill Murray as Johnny Storm / The Human Torch.

This was before Murray was a Saturday Night Live cast member. He was a finalist to become an original cast member when the show started in October 1975, but was cut from the cast at the last minute (he'd go on to join the cast in January 1977, replacing Chevy Chase). Depending on the timing, getting cast as the Human Torch in The Fantastic Four radio show must have been bitter consolation.

You can listen to all thirteen episodes:

I forced myself to listen to the first of the episodes, and it's pretty rough. Narrated by (Fantastic Four co-creator) Stan Lee, the show is basically like listening to various people read The Fantastic Four #1 comic book to you, line by line, without being able to see the Jack Kirby artwork. The line readings are so flat, it's hard to discern Murray's personality in the performance. The closest I came to hearing Murray's ironic persona was when he said, "Things are gonna get kinda warm around here!"

Murray acknowledged this performance in an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! a couple of years ago, saying, via two translators for no reason, "That's true." He said, "All I remember saying is… 'FLAME ON!'"

h/t Dan Slott

See more Fantastic Four stories on Boing Boing.