The Shadow's Agents...
Throughout The Shadow's war on crime, he employed a small, but efficient, network of agents. Functioning like a spy cell, these agents remained inactive- their lives were their own and they were free to enjoy whatever social life they may have. The only stipulation was that they NEVER discuss or mention the work they did for The Shadow. It is not known how The Shadow would've dealt with such transgressions- he may just have delved into the agent's mind and wiped out all knowledge of their work and life as The Shadow's agent with his hypnotic prowess. At any rate, it really doesn't matter: NO ONE defied The Shadow. Each man or woman was picked by The Shadow for whatever skills the potential agent possessed, and each member of the organization was paid for such skills and never asked to do anything outside of his or her field of expertise. To the agents, The Shadow never gave any kind of friendship or comradery, just fierce loyalty... of all the agents he employed for his campaign, only one died. There was an unspoken agreement between The Shadow and his operatives: they would be protected by The Shadow to the best of his abilities, and The Shadow's word was good. The agents listed below are from his pulp heyday. On radio, only Margo Lane appeared as an assistant. In the 1980's DC comic series, The Shadow had a new network of agents plus the surviving members of his old group; they will not be mentioned here as this site is dedicated to The Shadow's glorious pulp reign. Remember, this represents a PORTION of The Shadow's agents, and I used the terrific book "Gangland's Doom" by Frank Eisgruber Jr. as a blueprint for this list. The first group is the most active agents, the second group saw slightly less action than the first(but is still just as important to the war against crime), and the third is acquaintances who are not officially agents, but who played important parts nonetheless. It is hinted at several times that he had agents all over the world. One wonders just how big his operation was...
The Shadow's Most Active Agents...
- Harry Vincent: The most often used of the agents, Harry is who we are introduced to in the first novel. He is attempting suicide when The Shadow pulls him from the edge of the bridge that Harry was to jump from. Harry was offered a life of excitement, danger, and financial happiness, and he accepted. Harry was an everyman, he fit into many undercover situations. It is through Harry's eyes that we view many of the stories; in many ways, Harry Vincent is us, the readers, experiencing the adventures.
- Margo Lane: Nothing in The Shadow's history has ever been as controversial as the introduction of Margo Lane to the ranks of The Shadow's agents. Walter Gibson was pressured into her addition by Street & Smith, who wanted the magazine to reflect the radio program more closely. Before her addition, The Shadow was distanced and removed from his agents; after her arrival, things were more like a family rather than the efficient spy ring they had operated as for years. Originally, Margo was a ditzy-type character... she bungled frequently and The Shadow had to repeatedly pull her out of trouble. With time, Margo found operating in high-society circles to be her area of expertise. However, the magazine adventures would never be the same as they had in the beginning...
- Burbank: Perhaps more of an enigma than The Shadow is Burbank, the night communications and contact man of The Shadow's crusade. We know very little of him. We know he's a solemn faced individual who spends almost all of his time in his own private area, surrounded by the glow of his telephone and radio apparatus. We know nothing about his personality or personal life. We can speculate on how The Shadow knows him: in one story, The Shadow (as Cranston) refers to him as his old friend. It may be that he is an old friend of the millionaire, but it's more likely that Burbank is someone whom The Shadow knew during WWI, perhaps working in the same functions and capacity (communications), and possibly in the same spy group that The Shadow was in. At any rate, Burbank remains a mystery...
- Clyde Burke: A newspaper reporter who lost his job, Clyde was hired by The Shadow in one of his many aliases (this time as George Clarendon) to run a newspaper clipping service for him, saving and sending articles of well documented and researched cases. Eventually, his high intelligence showed through, and The Shadow brought him aboard his organization formally. Burke was a respected reporter, so when he was hired by the tabloid The New York Classic, many people wondered why. It gave Burke freedoms that he couldn't have as a full newspaper reporter, as the tabloid was managed poorly. His duties for The Shadow were to investigate, but was involved in several battles. He was friendly with police inspector Joe Cardona, who often trusted Clyde with inside information that went a great distance in furnishing The Shadow with facts and knowledge about a case. For his inquisitive nature and the depth of his investigations, Clyde Burke was one of The Shadow's most valued agents.
- Claude Fellows: He was the daytime contact man for the agents, and also clipped articles for The Shadow to be left, along with messages from the agents, at the B. Jonas office (actually a secret drop for the agent's messages, but without the pneumatic tubes seen in the 1994 movie). Fellows was a chubby faced insurance broker who was probably one of the first agents The Shadow recruited. Fellows also has the dubious distinction of being the only agent ever killed- Fellows was murdered while in Chicago on a job for The Shadow. He witnessed a mob execution and therefore was killed also. Needless to say, his killers did not go unpunished, and his duties later fell to...
- Rutledge Mann: A carbon copy of Claude Fellows, he ran an investment office but fell on hard times. He was a member of the exclusive Cobalt Club (a social club for the rich) and it was there that The Shadow (as Cranston) kept watch on him, observing him. Fellows fell on financial hard times, and one night, depressed and alone, he went home from the Cobalt club and took a pistol from a drawer... but The Shadow had followed him home, and gave him his offer. From then on, Mann was financially well off, and the friendly investment man ran the clipping and daytime contact service for his mysterious benefactor. Rutledge Mann's funtion within the group was passive, and he was not called upon to fight.
- Cliff Marsland: A tough-guy, with the reputation among the underworld as a cold-blooded killer, Marsland is one of The Shadow's men in the world of criminals, who believe him to be one of them and are unaware of his true nature. Cliff Marsland has a mysterious connection to The Shadow: the first time Cliff appears, The Shadow engages him in conversation. He mentions that Cliff Marsland isn't his real name, and mentions several instances during the war. He also makes an allusion to himself being there as well as a Frenchman named Blanton. He brings closure to this conversation by saying that they will speak no more of the past. This is definiteley a mysterious key to The Shadow (and Cliff's) past, but there are no more mentions of it. The Shadow also lets him know that he's aware of Cliff's false reputation and that he didn't commit the crime that landed him in prison several years before. How The Shadow knew this is a mystery (then again, remember: The Shadow knows...). Cliff is married, and is one of the few agents to be so.
- Hawkeye: His real name is never made known to us. The scrawny, shifty-eyed fellow was a reformed spy from the underworld who was excellent at tailing people, following them and secretly observing them. He worked frequently throughout life of the magazine.
- Vic Marquette: A husky government agent, Vic sometimes is tipped off on a case by The Shadow, sometimes he tips The Shadow off. His actual agency affiliation is confusing: sometimes it is stated that he works for the Department of Justice, the Secret Service, and sometimes the FBI. One may be a cover for the other, but it is a definite that his contribution to The Shadow's work was priceless when needed.
- Moe Shrevnitz: An excellent driver who runs his own taxi service, Moe's main specialty was transportation. He was often needed to transport The Shadow or his agents surreptitiously and without notice. An intelligent man and keen observer, he became known as a cartoony cabbie from the Bronx named Shrevvy in the radio show and in most subsequent comic appearances (and eventually the pulps). This is a shame, for Moe Shrevnitz was an intelligent and worthy agent, not the stereotyped hack we have come to associate him with.
The Second Tier of Agents...
- Dr. Roy Tam: A Chinese-American doctor, Tam was not the stereotypical so velly solly Chinaman portrayed so often in books and magazines of the day. Tam was a progressive-thinking individual, who wanted the Chinese living in America to hold on to traditional values and culture while embracing the new asthetics of American life. For this philosophy, Dr. Tam had a large following in New York's and San Francisco's respective Chinatowns. Tam is not only The Shadow's main Chinatown contact, but also a close friend of The Shadow... an amazing feat only accomplished by two individuals. The two men had a deep and mutual respect for each other and like Vic Marquette, Dr. Tam works independently of The Shadow. Tam is also married, another rarity among the agents.
- (the real) Lamont Cranston: In a way, the real Cranston is the most active agent of all, being as his job is basically just to stay out of the country and in faraway places, just being a rich globetrotter, so that The Shadow can use his identity... what a helluva job. He never saw any action, and was only actively used when Cranston needed to be at the same place and time that The Shadow did. While away, The Shadow used not only his identity, but also his home and chauffer & limo driver, who were unaware of the deception.
- Jericho Druke: A large African-American, Druke was another breath of fresh air in the less enlightened days of the '30's and '40's. He was not a typically portrayed African-American: he was not moon-faced, nor portrayed as stupid, and did not use words like mastah and such. He was an intelligent man who was community-conscious and ran an employment agency in Harlem. He was often called in for cases that needed his strength and size or as another fighter in large skirmishes. Otherwise, he was free to run his agency.
- Myra Reldon: The only other female agent (beside Margo Lane, who appeared later than Reldon), she was an agent for the Department of Justice. She had spent many years in Asia and had learned fluently not only the languages but also the customs of the Chinese. This came in handy when she was involved in cases involving the Orient, as Myra effectively disguised herself as a Chinese woman named Ming Dwan. It was on one of these cases that The Shadow came accross her and was impressed with her talents. Eventually the Justice Department ended Myra's participation in this work, but The Shadow brought her into the fold and made her an agent. She was used off and on throughout the life of the magazine, always in cases requiring her remarkable disguise as Ming Dwan. Unlike Margo Lane, Reldon was always portrayed as an intelligent, resourceful woman who was as skilled with her brain as she was with a pistol.
- Dr. Rupert Sayre: A doctor who ran a general practice, he was saved by The Shadow and later repaid him by treating The Shadow's bullet wounds. He was brought on board as a semi-agent, and his main function was to treat The Shadow or his agents when they were wounded and needed discreet medical attention.
- Miles Crofton: An ex-soldier of fortune and aviator, he was mostly used to fly aircraft when The Shadow was otherwise predisposed.
- Slade Farrow: A criminologist who had dedicated his life to reforming criminals, he also has the rare priveledge of being a close friend of The Shadow. This was probably due to their similar views on crime and criminals. His appearances are rare, and his main role is to reform the few criminals whom The Shadow feels can be saved from a life of crime.
- Chance LeBrue: A former demolition derby racer, he was used when extreme driving skills were needed.
- Pietro: An Italian immigrant who ran a vegetable push-cart, he was highly skilled at watching suspects, as well as being inconspicuous to those watching for watchers.
- Tapper: A reformed crook and expert safe-cracker, he was used seldomly to open safes when The Shadow was attending other matters.
Outside of the Agents...
- Joe Cardona: Ace New York detective, Cardona featured in many stories. He was a good, honest cop who relied on his intelligence to solve crimes. Cardona and The Shadow were unspoken allies, and they worked extremely independent of each other. Anything that Cardona learned of The Shadow or his organization, it was by accident. Joe recieved many tip-offs from The Shadow, and as good as he was, his reputation may not have been so sterling without those tip-offs.
- Commissioner Ralph Weston: He had wild theories, denied The Shadow's existence to the extreme, and was a social-climbing wannabe. He was looked down upon by most members of the cobalt club, but The Shadow (as Cranston) befriended him, letting the Commissioner unwittingly divulge information to him and using that info to his advantage. Although not an idiot, Weston was a blowhard who often made poor choices on vital cases. Good thing New York had The Shadow...
- Commissioner Wainwright Barth: He was acting Commish for a period while Weston was gone. Unlike Weston, Barth WAS an idiot, having none of Weston's good points and a heaping helping of the bad. He was stupid, Cardona hated him, and if he could, The Shadow manipulated events so that Cardona publicly embarrassed him. Barth was nothing more than comic relief.
- Eric Delka: Essentially the British Joe Cardona. He too worked independently of The Shadow, yet recieved help from him when The Shadow was in Europe on a case.
- Senator Ross Releston: Essentially, the Senator was The Shadow's contact in Washington, who tipped him off to cases involving foreign security and government crime that could use The Shadow's touch.
- Yat Soon: Arbiter of Chinatown, Yat Soon's chambers hide in a network of secret passages inside a curio shop. He is the last word in law among the warring Tong crime clans. He would tip The Shadow off to major criminal doings in Chinatown, and he and Dr. Tam often worked together. They butted heads because of their differing viewpoints (Yat Soon was a traditionalist while Tam was a progressive thinker), but always held each other in deep respect and worked around their differences.
- The Xinca Indians: A pair of natives that The Shadow brought back when he returned to the world as Kent Allard. The Xincas were loyal assistants to Allard and only appeared in a few stories.