Sunday, February 11, 2018

Shadow Beware

Front Cover

Shadow Beware was the third Shadow paperback published by Belmont Books.  It was published on January 1, 1965.  Dennis Lynds authored the book and used the Maxwell Grant pen-name on the cover.

Back Cover

Compared with The Shadow Strikes, this was a much better story.  It's story-line was full of great twists, and it was written in a similar style to the pulp stories.  When I got to the last 60 pages or so, I couldn't put it down until I finished it.

Let me give a spoiler alert before I get into a brief review of the story.  I'm going to reveal information about the characters and the ending, so if you don't want to know them until after you read the book yourself, you may want to skip the next section!

The story begins in London - a bad part of London - and the murder of an American Peace Corps worker. George Paulson was a field supervisor with the Peace Corps stationed in New Guinea, so why was he murdered in an alley in the east end of London? And why would NY Police Commissioner Weston, Lamont Cranston and The Shadow be involved?  The murdered Peace Corps worker is George Paulson.  We soon learn that he was one of Commissioner Weston's homicide detectives, so Scotland Yard asks Weston to come and assist in the investigation.  Weston invites his friend and amateur criminologist, Lamont Cranston, to assist as well.

When Paulson was murdered, he was carrying a briefcase that had been stolen from his body.  He was found in an alley, smelling of booze, armed with a pistol in a waist holster, and had been shot once at point-blank range.  Paulson's Peace Corps supervisors knew nothing of his trip to London, and the US Embassy gets involved in the investigation as well when Embassy worker Jeff Byrd meets with Weston, Cranston and the investigators from Scotland Yard.

The Shadow's investigation leads him to travel to New Guinea, Australia, and Paris (disguised as Kent Allard).  And as Lamont Cranston/The Shadow he travels to Scotland where the mystery is solved and untangled.

We discover that George Paulson was actually working for the CIA undercover as a Peace Corps worker.  He uncovered a hi-jacking ring that substituted real drugs for watered down or fake drugs.  These were huge pallets of medicinal supplies used by the Peace Corps to help the people in New Guinea and various countries.  The fake/watered down drugs had caused the death of many people.  Paulson had found a clew on one of the last pallets and that is what lead him to London.  He was murdered by US Embassy worker Jeff Byrd, who was also a CIA agent working undercover in the Embassy.  Byrd murdered Paulson because he was in on the hi-jacking ring.  The mastermind behind the hi-jacking ring was Jasper Lorring, a Scottish businessman who once had a business deal with Lamont Cranston when he met him in the Cobalt Club in the past.

The Shadow deals death to the gang - using his bare hands and borrowed weapons.  In the end, The Shadow triumphs.  The Shadow says, "Evil begets evil and dies of its own horror."

In this book we learn that Lamont Cranston has an apartment and business office in London located on the top floor of a private hotel named The Lancaster.  It is in Kensington (west London).  In this office, in a secret room, is The Shadow's London sanctum.  It is described as "a room where a deep bluish light glowed from an unseen source..." (page 51).  In this sanctum he communicates with Burbank via a communication device activated by his girasol ring.  We also learn that when disguised as Kent Allard, he has an apartment in Paris on St. Germaine-Des-Pres.  It's also revealed that Lamont Cranston always takes a daily swim and he also smokes cigarettes (which was quite fashionable for James Bond type spies in the 60s!).

Cobalt Club - mentioned as the place Lamont Cranston previously met the villain Jasper Lorring.
The Burgoyne Club - Lamont Cranston visits this club to take a steam bath and his daily swim.
The Lancaster - Cranston's apartment and business office in London.

Lamont Cranston is chauffeured by Stanley in a Rolls Royce with a special engine.

1965 Rolls Royce

Lamont Cranston drives an Austin-Healy.

1965 Austin-Healy


Margo Lane.  We learn that Margo has blue eyes.  She does some investigative work and is kidnapped by Jasper Lorring and rescued by The Shadow.

Burbank.  Burbank does his usual role of facilitating communication between The Shadow and his agents.  He also spearheads investigative work in New York while The Shadow is in London.

Stanley.  Stanley chauffers Lamont Cranston around London in his Rolls Royce.  We learn he carries a .45 automatic.  Interestingly, Stanley disguises himself as Lamont Cranston so The Shadow can continue his investigation outside of London!

Bombardier Bill Mace.  Bombardier is Shadow agent #109 and this is the first time he's mentioned.  He's a British army veteran and former English middle-weight boxing champion.  As The Shadow's agent, he portrays himself as a shady, punch-drunk former boxer.

Marcel Guyot.  Marcel is one of The Shadow's agents in Paris, this is his first appearance.  He is a taxi driver and his cab is equipped with a secret radio for communicating with The Shadow.

This story reveals that The Shadow has a network of agents worldwide.  Another interesting aspect of the story is his agents wear an opal ring that lights up and acts as a homing device to meet face to face with The Shadow.

The Shadow:
We learn a few new things about The Shadow.  We learn that he has the ability to see in darkness and through fog.  Even while sleeping he can detect the slightest disturbance in the air or hint of danger.  He can avoid detection from dogs.  He has extensive martial arts training and can kill with his bare hands.  He can use the power of his mind to open electronic locks, and to deaden the feelings of pain.  He uses his famous line, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit" (page 154).  His voice and laugh are described as eerie, chilling and hard.  One of the best descriptions of The Shadow is on page 88, "Two burning eyes turned toward him and the girasol ring glowed red in the dark with enough light to show a sharp, hawk nose beneath the slouch hat of The Shadow."

In this story The Shadow uses the disguises of Lamont Cranston, Kent Allard and Phineas Twambly.  In his London sanctum, Cranston accesses a file on Kent Allard that tracks Allard's whereabouts!

Shadow Beware was an exciting adventure that I enjoyed reading.  It introduces us to some new Shadow agents and reveals a few new things about The Shadow and his alter-ego, Lamont Cranston.  I hope you've enjoyed this brief review of the book!

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Shadow In Review

In this article I want to take a look at what has become my favorite The Shadow resource - one that I highly recommend to all fans and agents of The Shadow.  It is "The Shadow In Review" by John Olsen.  I consider John Olsen a Shadow scholar and you can find him on the Pulp Net and his The Shadow in Review site.

"The Shadow In Review" is a big book loaded with 519 pages!  The cover says it all - "The Ultimate Guide to the Pulp Magazine Series."  The cover has the classic The Shadow title, a stack of Shadow pulp magazines and a mysterious Shadow silhouette!

Front Cover

Inside the pages you will find a complete review of each of The Shadow's pulp magazine stories along with the published title, proposed title, date submitted by the author, publish date and author.  There are additional reviews of The Shadow stories written by Walter Gibson and published in the 1960s and after.  You get a total of 336 Shadow stories reviewed!

Not only do you get a review of the story, Mr. Olsen also weaves in extra information about the story or characters.  One thing I love is his rating of each story.  Each story is rated on a scale of 0 to 5 as indicated by The Shadow's .45 automatics!  Stories with 0 automatics are 'terrible' and the ones with a 5 automatics rating are a 'must read'!

Page Example

The appendices in the back of the book are invaluable.  Mr. Olsen provides a list of Shadow stories by subject, by story and by the aforementioned rating system.  He also provides information on The Shadow movie serial and the 1994 Shadow movie.  I've used the appendices quite often in my research and reading about The Shadow.  Here's an example of how I've used them.  Let's say I want to read about the character Steve Cronin.  Using the Index by Subject I can see a list of every Shadow story he was in and how many times he was referenced!  Want to know how many times the Cobalt Club is mentioned - it's there as well!  Not only are people and places indexed, you will also find lists of The Shadow's weapons, gadgets, and vehicles!

Back Cover

That's a brief look at The Shadow in Review!  (If you want more information on ordering a copy, please click here.)  As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, I highly recommend this resource to every Shadow fan and agent.  It's a tremendous resource that I refer to quite often and am very glad to have in my library.  

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Shadow Belmont Book Covers

Belmont Books printed a series of The Shadow stories in the 1960s.  Here's a look at book covers and brief information about each one.

Return of The Shadow was published September 1, 1963.  It was written by Walter B. Gibson who had penned the vast majority of the original Shadow stories in the pulp magazines.  Interestingly, Gibson uses his own name and not his pen name of Maxwell Grant for this book!

The Shadow Strikes was published October 1, 1964 and was written by Dennis Lynds.  Lynds used the Maxwell Grant pen name for this story and the rest of The Shadow stories he wrote.  (I've written two articles about this book which you can read here and here.)

Shadow Beware was published January 1, 1965 and was written by Dennis Lynds.

Cry Shadow! was published April 1, 1965 and was written by Dennis Lynds.   As you can see, it uses the same Shadow silhouette on the cover as the previous book.

The Shadow's Revenge was published October 1, 1965 and written by Dennis Lynds.  This cover uses artwork from the November 1, 1936 The Shadow magazine! 

Here's the original artwork from the
Nov 1, 1936 Shadow magazine

Mark of The Shadow was published May 1, 1966 and was written by Dennis Lynds.  This cover features a more classic looking Shadow!

Shadow-Go Mad! was published September 1, 1966 and written by Dennis Lynds.   

The Night of The Shadow was published November 1, 1966 and was written by Dennis Lynds.  I like the back cover with the big yellow question mark!

The Shadow-Destination: Moon was published March 1, 1967 and was written by Dennis Lynds.   Interestingly, it wasn't until July 20, 1969 that man first landed on the moon!

It's interesting to see how the covers started with a more modern (1960s) look but by the end of the series they had transitioned to a more classical Shadow artwork covers.  I've not been able to find a lot of information about the series and how well received it was - but I'll keep digging and sharing what I find.  

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Mail-In Premium From the 1994 The Shadow Movie

When The Shadow movie was released in 1994, there were all sorts of movie tie-ins to go along with it.  For example, there were The Shadow board game, jigsaw puzzle, and action figures.  If you bought two action figures and mailed in the proofs of purchase, you would receive a free Shadow Agent hologram ring!

I happened to find one of these mail-in rings on eBay and quickly purchased it!  (I was secretly hoping I could wear it, but it is definitely made for kids!)  Here are pictures of the ring.

The Shadow hologram

"Darkness/Evil" symbol

"Light/Good" symbol

I'm sure this was a grand prize for any kid that wanted to be an official agent of The Shadow!

According to what I found on eBay, here is what the symbols on the ring mean:  "The symbol that looks like a check mark represents all that is dark, not just in ones heart but in the world as well. Evil abounds in everything and it is only a safe balance that makes us men.  The other symbol represents the light or good. The ring itself is a representation of our daily struggle to quell the evil in all of our hearts and to cultivate the good. The check mark or dark symbol should be worn to the outside of your body whatever hand you wear it...away from the heart in other words."  Now this is according to one eBay listing so I do not know the source or if it is accurate - I'll have to keep researching!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Shadow Magazine #225

Recently I was able to add another original Shadow magazine to my collection.  It is the July 1, 1941 issue (the 225th issue in The Shadow series) which features the story, "The Star of Delhi."  

What's unique about this issue is it is only the second Shadow story to include Margo Lane.  As you may know, Margo Lane is a character that was created for The Shadow radio show which began airing in 1937 and it wasn't until 1941 that Margo's character was included in The Shadow magazines.  Margo's first appearance in The Shadow magazine was in the June 15, 1941 issue in the story "The Thunder King."

The cover features a great action scene with The Shadow fighting a muscular man and a policeman shooting from a window.  The cover art was by Graves Gladney.  It shows that The Shadow was published twice a month, and had a cover price of 10 cents.

The table of contents announces that it contains a complete Shadow novel entitled "The Star of Delhi" as wells as two short stories and regular Shadow magazine features of codes, The Shadow Club, etc.

Here are some of the pages featuring some great artwork, including pictures of some of The Shadow's agents!

These are pictures of Highlights on The Shadow, The Shadow Club and Codes.  These were regular features in The Shadow magazines.  I really wish they would reprint the Codes in The Shadow story reprints!

Here's the back cover which is a full-page ad for Chesterfield cigarettes.  Inside the magazine are ads for products that are still on the market today - Pepsi, Listerine, and Gillette razors to name a few!

On final interesting note about this issue is the information in The Shadow Club section.  It tells the readers to keep their eyes and ears open for "Fifth Columnists" that may seek to sabotage or spy on our country.  Remember, this magazine was published in July of 1941.  At this time WWII was being fought in Europe but the US had not entered the fight.  The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor would happen in just a few months, propelling our nation into the war.  It's always interesting to me to read things from around this time as it gives us a little insight into what was happening in our nation and how it influenced even the information printed in The Shadow magazine!

Monday, December 25, 2017

The Shadow's Christmas Episodes

I found that there were quite a few Christmas episodes of The Shadow radio show.  I've only been able to listen to two of them (Cold Death and Joey's Christmas Story).  Here's a list of The Shadow's Christmas radio programs.

  • Cold Death (Season 1, episode 13 aired 12/19/37)
  • Give Us This Day (Season 2, episode 18 aired 12/25/38)
  • The Stockings Were Hung (Season 3, episode 14 aired 12/24/39)
  • Joey's Christmas Story (Season 4, episode 13 aired 12/22/40)
  • Merry Christmas by the Thousand (Season 8, episode 14 aired 12/24/1944)
  • Three Crimes on Christmas Eve (Season 9, episode 16 aired 12/23/45)
  • A Gift of Murder (Season 11, episode 15 aired 12/21/47)
  • Murder Marked Merry Christmas (Season 12, episode 16 aired 12/26/48)
  • The Christmas Ghost (Season 13, episode 15 aired 12/25/49)
  • Out by Christmas (Season 14, episode 15 aired 12/24/50)
  • The Case of the Santa Claus Killer (Season 16, episode 15 aired 12/21/52)

From what I can see, some of these episode recordings have been lost so they are no longer available to listen to.  I really enjoyed listening to Cold Death and Joey's Christmas Story - each one was different but awesome Christmas stories.  Cold Death was along the lines of Scrooge and A Christmas Carol while Joey's Christmas Story was a bit more light-hearted.

Hopefully you can find time to listen to one of these Shadow Christmas episodes this holiday season.  Let me wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Silent Avenger

"The Silent Avenger" was first aired on March 13, 1938 and it was the 25th episode from season 1 of The Shadow radio show.  This story is thrilling, compelling and unique.

The story begins in a courtroom where Joe Brecker has just been found guilty of first degree murder and receives the death sentence.  Joe Brecker then gives his own judgment by passing sentence on Judge Wilson, the prosecuting attorney, and the jury saying that they will all die.  And, if his sentence isn't commuted to life in prison by the Governor, the Governor will die!  Joe also passes sentence on the man who caught him - The Shadow!

Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane are witnesses to Brecker's outburst in court.  As people leave the room, comments are made about what just happened and how worried people would be if The Shadow was on their trail.  Lamont opines, "Unfortunately the mystery surrounding The Shadow inspires fear and terror in the innocent as well as the guilty."

Joe Brecker is in prison, waiting to be moved to the death house, and is visited by his brother, Danny.  (Throughout the story we will learn Danny Brecker is a decorated veteran of World War I.)  Joe has given Danny a mission - Danny is to kill the people responsible for sending Joe to jail and to the death sentence.  Joe tells Danny that the same people that sentenced him to death are the ones responsible for Danny being drafted into the Army and being sent to fight in France during World War I.  They are responsible for Danny getting "shell shocked" so that he can't remember things.  Then Joe warns Danny about The Shadow.  He tells Danny that The Shadow will come after him and he will only hear his voice but will not see him.  Danny asks if The Shadow is dead, like his buddies that still talk to him.  Joe tells him that The Shadow is very much alive and when Danny hears The Shadow's voice he is to throw a hand grenade at the sound of The Shadow's voice and that will kill The Shadow!  Danny indicates that he will fully carry out this mission assigned to him from his brother.  After Danny leaves, Joe says about Danny, "That poor dope!"  In other words, Joe has taken advantage of his own brother to exact his vengeance.

After Danny left, Joe received a new visitor, a visitor he didn't expect and didn't want.  Joe is visited by The Shadow!  The Shadow knows Brecker is willing to carry out his murderous threat, and now he's trying to find out how Brecker will do it.  Using his telepathic powers, The Shadow reads Joe Brecker's mind and learns Brecker's plan.  But now The Shadow must find Danny Brecker in time to prevent the murders of innocent people.

The Shadow is searching desperately for Danny Brecker and members of the jury that put Joe Brecker in jail are beginning to be killed - killed by a highly trained sniper.  Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane discuss these tragic events as Cranston has exhausted himself searching for Danny.  Cranston tells Margo that he looked up Danny Brecker's war record and found him to be a decorated sniper in WW I, and he also learned Danny is suffering from "shell-shock."  Cranston tells Margo, "Society trained him (Danny) to kill men.  They told him they were enemies and he should kill them off.  And now, with a shell-shocked mind, he's remembering what society taught kill.  To the people who have been through this experience, life is cheap.  He is a product of our own folly:  teaching men to kill in time of war and yet expecting them to respect life in time of peace."

The Shadow determines they need to set a trap for Danny so he and Margo put that plan in motion.  Margo goes to the home of Danny and Joe Brecker's mother, posing as a reporter, on the day Joe is scheduled to die in the electric chair.  The Shadow is there as well, but he is unseen.  Just a few minutes before 5pm, when Joe is scheduled to die, Danny appears and talks with his mom.  Mrs. Brecker knows in her heart that Danny is the one that's been killing people.  5pm comes and there was no action by the Governor to save Joe Brecker and so the death penalty is carried out.  Danny mentions that he will be going to a tower in the city to take care of the Governor.  The Shadow confronts Danny, but Danny is prepared and throws a hand grenade at where he hears The Shadow's voice.  The Shadow is able to throw the grenade out a window before anyone can get hurt, but Danny escapes in the turmoil.

Cranston and Margo are pouring over a map of the city trying to find what tower Danny was speaking of.  They determine it can only be the Wardman Tower which is still under construction but would be a perfect sniper's nest for Danny to shoot the Governor who will be in a parade.

The Shadow finds Danny on the 30th floor of the Wardman Tower.  The Shadow speaks to Danny and is able to get him to put down the rifle.  But then Danny pulls the pin on the hand grenade he has and threatens to throw it into the crowd below.  The Shadow is able to use the powers of his mind to have Danny hold on to the grenade, but then Danny drops it and it explodes, killing Danny.

Police Commissioner Weston has finished talking about the case with another officer when The Shadow speaks to him.  Weston says The Shadow was too late to take care of Danny Brecker and asks if The Shadow now wants to take credit for solving the case?  The Shadow responds, "There is no credit, no glory in the death of Danny Brecker, Commissioner Weston.  He was a victim, a human weapon of destruction, fashioned by mankind that teaches men to kill their enemies in time of war yet expects them to forget their murderous art in time of peace.  Danny Brecker was an enemy of society - a killer - but only because you, and I, and countless thousands made him one.  No Commissioner, there is no glory in this for you, or The Shadow, or for any man."

I listened to this episode many times to prepare for this article.  Each time I listened, I found a different nuance to it that might be missed with just one listening.  For example, Lamont Cranston spends many secluded hours away from Margo Lane in his attempt to find Danny Brecker.  This case demanded a lot physically from The Shadow.  I also noticed how Joe Brecker took advantage of his war-traumatized brother to exact his vengeance.  To me, that is shameful and indicates the type of criminal Joe Brecker really was.

In this story, The Shadow used his mesmeric powers to read Joe Brecker's mind, similar to what he did in the episode, "Death House Rescue."  The Shadow also used his ability to cloud people's minds so as to be invisible to them.

As part of preparing for this article I also did some research into World War I as Danny Brecker is a veteran of the war.  There were 4.7 million Americans that fought in WW I.  204,000 were wounded in action and 116,516 were killed in action.  There are still around 3,000 soldiers that are missing in action/unaccounted for.  The war began in 1914 but the US didn't enter the war until 1917, and the war ended in November of 1918.  At the height of US involvement, around 10,000 US troops a day were being sent to France.

World War I introduced us to the first use of chemical warfare and the first use of snipers.  It also introduced us to a condition called "shell-shock" which we would later know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Here's some information I found on the US Department of Veterans Affairs website:  "In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first observance of Armistice Day, the day World War I ended. At that time, some symptoms of present-day PTSD were known as "shell shock" because they were seen as a reaction to the explosion of artillery shells. Symptoms included panic and sleep problems, among others. Shell shock was first thought to be the result of hidden damage to the brain caused by the impact of the big guns. Thinking changed when more soldiers who had not been near explosions had similar symptoms. "War neuroses" was also a name given to the condition during this time."  WWI veterans with "shell shock" were characterized as having a lack of courage, character flaws, etc. and were not treated as the heroes they were.

Six years prior to this radio episode airing, another event happened involving WW I veterans.  In 1932 approximately 17,000 veterans and their families marched on Washington, DC asking the government to pay out immediately the bonus money promised to veterans.  The demand was rejected and the veterans were forced out of Washington by the Army and the police.  You can read more about these veterans here.

Knowing some of these facts helped me put this radio program into an historical context.  It has become one of my favorite Shadow radio episodes and I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at the show and some of the history behind it.  I also want to thank Pete Blatchford for bringing this radio show to my attention!