Monday, April 23, 2018

Cranston, Arnaud, and The Shadow



I really love the cover to The Shadow magazine's July 15, 1935 edition.  It features The Shadow front and center, but it also shows him in two of his disguises!  The man on the left is Lamont Cranston, that is the primary disguise The Shadow uses in his pulp stories.  The man on the right is Henry Arnaud, which is another great disguise used by The Shadow.

According to an article by Will Murray in the reprint of this Shadow magazine, "George Rozen's triple portrait cover was intended as a gift to the loyal readers who hungered for a Shadow pinup, for it depicted The Shadow and his two main identities."* 

While Lamont Cranston is probably the more better known disguise of The Shadow, I was surprised that in a few stories, it is the Henry Arnaud disguise that The Shadow uses.  For example, in Green Eyes and The Romanoff Jewels, Cranston is not mentioned at all while The Shadow opts for the Arnaud disguise.

This is a great cover and I'm sure fans appreciated it when it was first published!

*“INTERLUDE by Will Murray.” Atoms of Death and Buried Evidence: Two Classic Adventures of The Shadow, by Maxwell Grant et al., vol. 44, Sanctum Books, 2010.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Chronology of Shadows: A Timeline of The Shadow's Exploits



Chronology of Shadows: A Timeline of The Shadow's Exploits by Rick Lai is a great resource for fans and agents of The Shadow.  Author Rick Lai provides us with a dated chronology of The Shadow's adventures in the pulp magazines.  

The book is 119 pages long and has some great information on The Shadow's exploits as well as The Shadow's activities before he became The Shadow.  The book's introduction clearly explains the book's purpose, "This article is an attempt to create a coherent chronology of the published exploits of The Shadow."  While there are references to The Shadow radio show, there is no significant information on them nor does Mr. Lai try to reconcile the activities and adventures of The Shadow on radio and in print.

One of my favorite sections of the book is a highly detailed look at the early years of The Shadow.  Mr. Lai definitely did his research and I found this section very helpful in understanding the activities of The Shadow as well as his world travels and abilities he learned overseas.

The biggest section of the book looks at each Shadow pulp story and gives it a date when the events occurred.  For example, The Living Shadow, the first Shadow story, is noted as having occurred in November of 1929.  The events in Gangdom's Doom, the fifth Shadow story, are dated to have happened in March of 1931. There are some interesting notes in this section as well, but there are not extensive notes on the story plot.  Some stories just have a date listed as when they occurred with no additional notes.

I don't have a hard copy of the book, but I did purchase an eBook copy for my Kindle.  I've enjoyed reading it and I recommend it as a good resource for fans and agents of The Shadow!


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Currently Reading: Green Eyes


I'm currently reading The Shadow story "Green Eyes."  It was originally published on October 1, 1932 and was the 15th Shadow story.  I'm reading the Pyramid paperback edition.  I'm only a few chapters in and it is awesome!  So far, The Shadow has traveled to San Francisco using the disguise of Henry Arnaud.  He is there to uncover the mystery behind the murder of a man on an East bound train.  

The paperback cover was illustrated by Jim Steranko and it is a beautiful illustration.  I like the paperback cover better than the original pulp magazine cover!  Here are a few pictures of the book.







I have been reading The Shadow stories in the order they were printed and have been taking notes to write about them here on the blog.  But I'm reading Green Eyes for entertainment - just for the thrill of reading a page-turning, action packed adventure of The Shadow.  I know eventually I'll re-read the story and write about it, but for now, I'm just enjoying the adventure!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Shadow Electronic Video Game

I wasn't aware there was a hand-held video game made for the 1994 Shadow movie until recently while I was doing some research on the movie.  I found a few pictures of the game, but couldn't find much else about it.  Finally I was able to track down one of the games still in the package and got it in the mail this past weekend.  Boy, was I excited to open it up and start playing!

Obviously the game was a tie-in for the movie and was made by Tiger Electronics.  Remember, this was in the early 90's before PlayStations and X Boxes were around.  (There was a SNES Shadow game though!)  Here are some pictures of the packaging.



When you play the game, you always play as The Shadow!  On the right hand side of the game you have a punch and kick button to fight the villains with, and you also have a Shadow button that allows you to become invisible to the bad guys.  It's pretty cool because just like in the movie, if the villain has a flashlight, you can be seen!  (Using the Shadow button also drains your energy supply, so use it wisely!)  On the left hand side is your directional buttons so you can move The Shadow to the left and right and jump up in the air.



There are 5 stages to the game.  You are always fighting either Farley Claymore or Shiwan Khan's Mongol villains.  They are armed with guns, knives, flashlights and crossbows.  In levels 4 and 5, you can have help from the lovely Margo Lane!  The game instructions say, "Your powers of telepathy are also felt by her.  When you move over to the far left or far right of the screen, you are able to touch hands with her, which restores your energy level to full."  Also in levels 4 and 5 you face the deadly phurba - the knife Shiwan Khan has power over to make it attack you.





In the final level, you face the invincible Shiwan Khan.  There is a timer counting down to the detonation of an atomic bomb so you must beat Khan before time runs out!  To defeat Shiwan Khan, you must dodge the deadly phurba 10 times.  The game instructions tell us, "If you are able to dodge the phurba 10 times, the phurba will turn on Khan instead of you!  It will plunge itself into Khan and you will WIN the game!"



For such a simple hand-held game it incorporated a lot of the movie into the game play and plot!  I really like the inclusion of Margo Lane and how she can help restore your energy level.  I could imagine a kid loving this game after watching the movie!  I've been having lots of fun playing the game.  I'm not that great at video games, but I finally beat Shiwan Khan - twice!  

Besides the action figure movie tie-ins, there was also this little handheld game.  I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at it!  


Sunday, March 18, 2018

Death to The Shadow!



A man bent on revenge accidentally learns the true identity of The Shadow and now he's offering to sell that information to gangdom!  Will his nefarious plan fail?  That's what we have to learn in The Shadow radio episode of "Death to The Shadow!"  This episode originally aired on March 12, 1944.

The story begins with Professor Petro showing of his latest invention to Howard Crane.  Crane leads us to believe he represents a group of wealthy investors who might want to purchase this invention.  Professor Petro's invention is a television-like apparatus that enables him to see things by dialing in street addresses or coordinates.  Wherever there is a tiny bit of light, he can look at that location and watch what is happening there on a small screen.  Crane gives Professor Petro the address to one of his so-called business associates, Dan Gordon.  Petro's invention allows them to look and listen in on Dan Gordon as he gives the combination of his safe to his personal secretary.  In the safe they have just locked up half a million dollars!

Howard Crane seems to pick an address at random and Professor Petro adjusts the dials and they look in on gangster Finger Fenton.  They see another man in the room but Finger doesn't see him!  They listen in as The Shadow warns Finger Fenton that he must stay on the straight and narrow since he just got out of jail and so he doesn't end up in the electric chair like his brother, Killer Fenton.  Crane and Petro are astonished that Finger can't see the other man in the room (The Shadow) and come to the conclusion that Fenton must be hypnotized!  Crane recognizes Lamont Cranston, and hears him talk as The Shadow - now Crane knows the true identity of The Shadow!!!

Crane kills Professor Petro and steals his invention.  He sets up a meeting with Finger Fenton and lays out his plan for profiting off of Petro's invention.  He will give Fenton information on where to steal and rob, and they will split the profits.  And, for a nice sum of money, Crane will tell Fenton who is The Shadow!  Fenton wants to know so he can avenge the death of his brother who was sent to the chair by The Shadow.  The felon Fenton agrees to the plan and the first job is to remove the half million dollars from Dan Gordon's safe as well as exact revenge on men that Crane wants to make pay for ruining him!

With Professor Petro's device, Crane eavesdrops on the police and stymies The Shadow's every move.  Lamont Cranston laments to Margo Lane while visiting her apartment.  Margo opines, "It's like they're able to watch everything you do!"  Margo's comment jogs Lamont's memory  - Professor Petro had talked with Lamont about his device before!  Lamont then figures out he's probably being watched right then and there and so he sets a trap.  He tells Margo that he will be going to an apartment at 10:30 that night to meet an informant with information on the crime wave.  If he is being watched, he expects someone will show up at the apartment and The Shadow will be waiting!

At 10:30 The Shadow finds Lefty waiting for someone in the apartment.  The Shadow unarms him and gets Lefty to rat out the plans.  Meanwhile, Crane has sent henchman to pick up Margo Lane and bring her to him!  After dealing with Lefty, Cranston returns to Margo's apartment to find a scuffle has taken place.  Watching on the television device, Crane calls him and gives him specific instructions on where to go if he wants to see Margo Lane alive again!  Crane watches the television device and sees Cranston obeying his orders!

Crane's plan is quickly foiled as The Shadow suddenly shows up and confronts him and Finger Fenton!  The Shadow is able to smash the television device while Finger Fenton uses his machine gun to try and shoot The Shadow.  Fenton sprays the room with bullets and ends up killing Crane, the man who knew The Shadow's true identity!  

After the police mop up matters at Crane's, Lamont and Margo talk.  Margo asks how Lamont could be seen on the television device and yet show up at Crane's as The Shadow.  It turns out that Cranston had just enough time to contact Commissioner Weston and have a detective that strongly resembled him to act as a decoy - that's who Crane was watching!  This allowed Cranston, as The Shadow, to rescue Margo and destroy the television device.

This was a great radio episode and even I was trying to figure out how Cranston could be watched and yet show up to rescue Margo.  This is an action packed episode and I highly recommend you give it a listen!

In this radio episode, according to the radio logs I was able to find, The Shadow/Lamont Cranston was played by Brett Morrison and Margo Lane was played by Marjorie Anderson.



Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Shadow's Appearance

The Shadow's appearance as illustrated on the pulp magazine covers remained consistent throughout it's history.  Let's read some of the ways The Shadow was described in his stories and compare them with his appearance on some of the pulp magazine covers.

This first description comes from The Living Shadow and was the very first Shadow story published.  Here's the first ever description of The Shadow:  "...a tall, black-cloaked figure that might have represented death itself...The stranger's face was entirely obscured by a broad-brimmed felt hat bent downward over his features; and the long, black cloak looked almost like part of the thickening fog."  (pp 7-8)  This is classic Shadow - long black cloak, broad-brimmed hat!



The next description comes from the pages of The Shadow Laughs.  "There stood The Shadow, his face obscured in the raised collar of his cloak; his broad-brimmed hat turned down below his eyes." (p 97)  Notice here that both The Shadow's hat and cloak collar cover portions of his face!



The final description is from Gangdom's Doom.  "A man was standing in the corner.  A black cloak, with lining of crimson, enveloped him.  He wore a large slouch hat, and the turned-down brim obscured his features.  The man's arms were folded in front of his body; his hands were covered with thin black gloves.  He laughed again, softly, but mirthlessly.  The sinister tone of his laugh seemed taunting."  (p107)  This description reveals the lining of The Shadow's cloak is crimson and he wears thin black gloves.  (Note:  Gloves weren't always worn by The Shadow.)


Now the descriptions of The Shadow typically just mention his cloak and hat but I've yet to read a description of what the rest of The Shadow's clothes look like.  But I haven't read all of The Shadow stories yet, so they just might be there!  The pulp magazine covers present The Shadow as wearing a suite and tie underneath his cloak.





I sometimes wonder why The Shadow is always dressed so dapper to face danger.  But then I remember that back in those days, men always dressed up.  Even in the 1950s you wouldn't see a gentleman leaving home without a coat and tie!  If you watch an episode or two of the classic 1950s TV show Leave It To Beaver you'll see what I mean!

The black wide-brimmed slouch hat and black crimson-lined cloak added to the mystery of The Shadow whenever he appeared.  They truly added to the terror and fear felt by gangdom whenever they encountered the Dark Avenger!


Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Shadow Movie (1994) Sequels

I've been reading the 1994 official magazine for The Shadow movie lately.  I was excited and saddened to read that there were hopes for sequels to the movie.  I was excited because I would really love to see a sequel.  However, I was saddened because there have been no sequels because, sadly, the movie wasn't very well received.




In the magazine article "Beside the Light," there is some insight from The Shadow movie producer Martin Bregman.  The article states, "And if Martin Bregman has made the right choices, and The Shadow is a movie blockbuster, will sequels be in the offing?  'If this film is successful,' Bregman says, flatly, 'then absolutely.'"

The second indication that there were hopes for Shadow sequels comes from an interview with screenwriter David Koepp.  In the article "Through the Heart" Koepp says, "'The thing that made me want (Shiwan) Khan was that I knew in the first film - and God willing, there will be more - it would give a chance to tie the villain to The Shadow's past...'"  David Koepp was obviously looking forward to sequels for The Shadow movie!

Had the 1994 Shadow movie had been a blockbuster, I'm sure - based on these interviews - we would have seen a sequel or two.  But sadly there have been no sequels, and at this point, I wouldn't want a remake of this movie but would prefer a totally new one.  I strongly believe that any one of the over 300 Shadow pulp stories would make a fantastic movie!