Sunday, February 25, 2018

Excerpts from The Shadow Laughs

The Shadow Laughs was the third Shadow story published.  It was featured in the October 1, 1931 edition of The Shadow magazine.  This was my second time reading the story and I wanted to share some great excerpts from parts of the adventure.  The issue that I read was the 1969 Bantam paperback edition.  

One thing I've noticed is how both the presence of The Shadow and just the mere mention of his name can strike terror into the hearts of gangsters and villains.  Here are just a few excerpts to show this:

"Spotter trembled as he crouched behind the boxes.  He gulped and repressed a terrified gasp....he was awed by a shadowy Phantom...Stark fear ruled the cunning gangster...It was half an hour before the terrorized crook dared to crawl from his hiding place." (page 80)

"The old man hesitated before pronouncing the name.  Birdie Crull listened intently.  "The Shadow!"  At these words from the lips of Isaac Coffran, Birdie Crull half rose from his chair.  The murderer, with all his nerve, felt the pangs of terror when he heard that name." (page 50)

"But now they saw a tall, black-clad figure at the other side of the room.  The sable form stood motionless.  It loomed like a specter from the world beyond. It had come like a messenger of vengeance.  "The Shadow!" The words burst from Tiger Bronson's twitching lips.  The figure in black did not move....The low, hollow laugh came from beneath the brim of the turned-down hat.  Tiger Bronson shuddered inwardly...."Tiger Bronson," said The Shadow, in a voice that seemed the pronunciation of a judgment, "you sought to lure me to this place.  I am here...You have twice sought to injure me," said The Shadow in his solemn, horrifying voice.  "Twice before.  This is the third time.  Your efforts are impotent.  Those who have thrice sought to injure me invariably suffer."  (page 123)

Just reading these brings some awesome imagery into mind of The Shadow suddenly appearing and causing fear, panic and disorder.  This is truly great writing by Walter Gibson! 

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.