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The Shadow - Doc Savage Quest

The Shadow
by Bill Laidlaw
The 1994 movie has little to do with the 15 part 1940 serial or the print version, though there are elements of both the radio series and the print versions of the Shadow in it.

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

The Shadow movie

Alec Baldwin starred in this, Hollywood's only big-budget version of The Shadow (1994). It is easily the best version ever seen in theaters in terms of cinematography, special effects, the script and even seems to have been taken seriously by those involved. The Shadow movie

While an excellent film, let's get the negatives out of the way at the start. People say "My God" about a million times in this movie, I don't know if the script writer lost a bet or what. The only other major problem is that an opening sequence was invented in which Lamont Cranston (The Shadow) is a brutal drug lord in Mongolia, is captured and turned into a good guy by Tibetans, who also teach him how to be invisible and force people to do things using telepathy. Why Hollywood decided to make him a former drug lord, I don't know. In the radio version, The Shadow wa a former adventurer named Lamont Cranston who learned the power of invisibility willingly. The print version is even more mysterious - The Shadow's true identity is never revealed to the readers: Lamont Cranston (an adventurer, pilot and WW1 spy) is simply a name he uses as his identity whenever a click here to continue movie review,
or here for the Shadow movie page on the MonsterVision/Mystery Science Theater 3000 website
click here for history of The Shadow pulp magazine & radio series
click here for a short history of pulp magazines

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TV Listings for fans of science fiction, fantasy & horror on
Tribute to Edgar Allen Poe
the Star Trek page
The Shadow movie review by Bill Laidlaw
A Short History of the Pulps
A Look at Western Pulps
The Shadow on Radio, who knows what evil lurks
The Lone Ranger Code
Nick Carter, the first Dime Novel Detective
Lights Out and Suspense on the radio
The Shadow Magazine, 1931-49

Trivia Question:

Name the Shadow adventure in which Lamont and Margo are passengers who are hijacked, learn that the hijackers are planning to put bombs in airplanes and fly them into New York City, and overcome the hijackers? Answer

There have been 16 issues of the Doc Savage Quest, send SASE to Bill Laidlaw, 524 Printz Rd, Arroyo Grande CA 93420 (home address) for price list until I figure out how the computer scanner works...
If you have an article for the next issue, email it below or mail it the old-fashioned way to the mailing address.


Click here to hear The Shadow laugh again.
The Shadow movie themesong has been moved to the Shadow movie page (you will need to click the password to enter)

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