Action 442 (Dec. 74) has a perfect cover, and the story is exactly suited to it.
The Johnny Nevada Show is the location of this story by Bates, Swan and Schaffenberger. But Johnny is nowhere in sight, and Steve Lombard is struggling through as the guest host. Clark Kent is one of the guests for the evening, although he spends a lot of time super-speeding around.
Johnny Nevada had been kidnapped earlier in the day, and the ransom demand included the airing of a certain commercial during Nevada’s show, to tell the kidnappers that the ten million dollar ransom was ready. Inspector Bill Henderson is introduced in this story. Henderson was the policeman on the old Adventures of Superman tv series, but not used in the comics until now.
The story has an excellent climax. Unable to find the kidnappers, Superman goes on the Nevada show, to Lombard’s delight, but unmasks to reveal that he is Johnny Nevada, having traded places with Superman the previous day. The kidnappers don’t know what to think, but decide to kill the guy they have.
Which is exactly what Superman counted on. He listens for the click of the gun, and then flies, literally, faster than a speeding bullet, getting there in time to stop it hitting Nevada. Rounding up the bad guys is almost an afterthought.
The Atom story is also pretty good this month, using Professor Hyatt’s Time Pool. Pasko and Grell tell this story, in which a huge endowment to Ivy University relies on finding a missing page from the donor’s diary.
The Atom travels back to the late 30s, and finds that people think he is a Martian invader.
This was right after Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” hysteria. The scientist is embarrassed that he got caught up in it, and tears out the diary page in which he wrote about it, which is retrieved by his cleaning lady. Returning to the present, Ray pushes Jean in the right direction, and they get the page, and the endowment.
The one really dorky thing about this is that it was the man himself who tore out his diary page, and then made the endowment dependent on finding it.