Bud Collyer was an American radio actor/announcer who became one of the nation's first major television game show stars. He is best remembered for his work as the first host of the TV game show To Tell the Truth, but he was also famous in the roles of Clark Kent and Superman on radio and in animated shorts. Collyer was born Clayton Johnson Heermance, Jr. in New York City, to Clayton Johnson Heermance and Caroline Collyer. He originally sought a career in the law, attending Williams College where he was a member of Psi Upsilon fraternity, andFordham University law school. Though he became a law clerk after his graduation, making as much in a month of radio as he did in a year of clerking convinced him to make broadcasting his career, changing his surname and becoming a familiar voice on all three major radio networks by 1940.
Among others, his radio roles included Kate Hopkins, Angel of Mercy (Tom), Pretty Kitty Kelly (Michael Conway) Terry and the Pirates (Pat Ryan), Renfrew of the Mounted (the title role), and Abie's Irish Rose (the title role, again), not to mention announcing for a number of radio soap operas—including The Guiding Light and The Goldbergs, which was actually a serial comedy with dramatic overtones. Collyer's best-remembered radio role arrived in early 1940: the title role in The Adventures of Superman on the Mutual Broadcasting System, a role he performed in the 1940s radio drama and subsequent Superman cartoons. Collyer supplied the voices of both Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent. A highlight of every Superman episode was the moment when Clark Kent changed into his Superman costume, an effect which Collyer conveyed by shifting voices while speaking the immortal phrase "This is (or "looks like") a job for SUPERMAN!!" (Collyer's voice shifted by an octave whenever he made the transition from the one identity to the other.)
Collyer got his first helping of game shows when he co-hosted ABC's (the former NBC Blue network) Break the Bank with future Miss America Pageant mainstay Bert Parks; and, when he was picked to host the radio original of the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman team's first game, Winner Take All—the latter also becoming, in due course, the first hosting seat for another game show titan, Bill Cullen. Collyer went on to host the television versions of both shows, but in 1950 he got the job which genuinely made him a household name: Beat the Clock, a stunt game show which pitted couples (usually, but not exclusively, married) against the clock in a race to perform silly (sometimes messy) tasks, which were called "problems" but could with more accuracy be called "stunts." The grand prizes for these usually came in terms of cash or home appliances. (When Monty Hall hosted the program in the 1980s, the "problems" did indeed come to be called "stunts.") Collyer hosted the show for eleven years (1950–61), and he also co-produced it for part of its run.