The Shadow was first heard on the radio in 1929. An uncredited announcer* calling himself The Shadow introduced dramatized radio versions of love stories from Street & Smith romance magazines. This series flopped and only lasted one season, though I'm sure it had nothing to do with causing the stock market crash... No recordings exist but one can imagine a certain unintended sleazy quality, "Hi, I'm The Shadow. Here's a story of young lovers that I watched from the shadows."
When the series returned in 1930, gone were the romance stories. Instead, the Shadow (possibly the same actor/announcer*) introduced stories adapted from Street & Smith's Detective Story magazine. This format was a hit and ran through 1936 on the Mutual radio network, though again no recordings are known to exist of the Detective Magazine radio version of The Shadow.
* According to Ruthrauff & Ryan Advertising Agency, the first actor to play this role was announcer/narrator of Detective Story on the radio only lasted 2 weeks, then went back to Broadway and was replaced. However, the second one was so good, his voice was used for the opening and closing credits even later when Orson Welles and others played The Shadow. It was this uncredited voice from 1930 that opened each radio broadcast with, The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men? The Shadow knows." This was followed by The Shadow laugh, which was so distinctive that not even Welles was able to duplicate it. Click here for more on The Shadow pulp magazine & radio series
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