Saturday, November 10, 2018

The Power to Cloud Men's Minds!

The Shadow character in Shadow Comics is able to make himself invisible by using hypnotic powers.  In Shadow Comics #11, we have the first instance of The Shadow becoming invisible.  Then, it Shadow Comics #12, it's revealed that he learned this "trick" in Tibet!   

However, in Shadow Comics #71 (published December 27, 1946*) in the story "The Black Pagoda" we are given more details on The Shadow's invisibility powers.  In the opening page of that story we are told, "Bound on his first post-war trip to Tibet, where, under the tutelage of The Great Lama, he learned the secret of clouding men's minds..."  Now we know that after the War (this must be referring to World War 1), Lamont Cranston traveled to Tibet and was taught the mesmeric trick of invisibility from The Great Lama.

In Nostalgia Ventures Shadow #4, there is a reprint of an an article that originally appeared in Shadow Comics volume 2, number 7, October 1942 (This would be Shadow Comics #19, published on August 28, 1942*).  The article was entitled, "A Plea" and gave more detailed information on The Shadow of the comic books and how he gained the power of invisibility.  The article begins, "In the unending, daily, deadly war which The Shadow wages on the underworld, he has three weapons.  They are his brains, cool, clear and unique in its ability to extract information from the tiniest bit of evidence.  His miraculous ability with guns is the result of a naturally good eye, a strong pair of wrists and constant practice.  The third is his ability to cloud men's minds so that, to all intents and purposes, he becomes invisible."

The article tells us that, for reasons that cannot be shared, The Shadow traveled to the forbidden city of Lhassa in Tibet.  It is there that he encountered a great power - a collection of 10 minds that projected themselves in the image of a young boy.  This great power presented The Shadow with the ability to become invisible.  The Shadow is told, "Because your life is clear, and devoted to the good of mankind, we endow you with the power to cloud men's minds.  Men will think you are invisible.  It is a potent weapon, and one that you must use with care."**

In the comic books, The Shadow learned his powers of invisibility in the forbidden city of Lhassa in Tibet!  There is a bit of a continuity issue between Shadow Comics #19 and #71.  According to issue #19, a collection of 10 minds gave him the power but in #71 it is The Great Lama who gives him the power.  Maybe this can be resolved by thinking that The Great Lama is the same as the 10 minds!?!

From a historical background, Tibet was the focus of pop culture in the early 1940s as a man by the name of Theos Bernard had returned to the United States in the late 1930s after spending time in India and Tibet.  Theos Bernard claimed he was the first white lama (teacher) and published books and articles on his experiences in Tibet.  It could be due to Bernard's popularity The Shadow comics decided Lamont Cranston had also made a trip to Tibet!!

In the 1994 The Shadow movie, Lamont Cranston had fought in World War I and after the war had gone missing for 7 years.  Those missing seven years were spent traveling the world and eventually settling in Tibet as an opium dealer.  Lamont Cranston is kidnapped by a Tibetan holy man, a Tulku, who taught him to cloud men's minds, to fog their vision through the force of concentration, leaving visible the only thing he can never hide..his Shadow.  

This is interesting in that both in the comic and the movie, Lamont Cranston learns how to make himself invisible from a spiritual leader in Tibet.  

*Mike's Amazing World of Comics
**Gibson, Walter B., Tollin, Anthony, Murray, Will, 2007, "The Murder Master" and "The Hydra" Two Classic Adventures of The Shadow, pp 68-69, Nostalgia Ventures, Inc.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Shadow Club (1994) Membership Kit

One of the tie-ins to the 1994 The Shadow movie was a Shadow Club membership.  The club was advertised in the official movie magazine and other places as well.  I was able to get a membership kit and would like to share its contents with you!

The Shadow Club membership came in an envelope marked "CONFIDENTIAL FOR YOUR EYES ONLY" in all red and had the image of The Shadow Club in the lower left.  Interestingly, the return address for the club was G.A.R.C. Inc out of Orlando, Florida.  The club newsletter indicates that the Great American Ring Club (GARC) seemed to be running and responsible for the club.

Issue 1 (January 1995) of The Shadow News was included.  I was pretty impressed with the newsletter as it has noted Shadow scholars/historians such as Anthony Tollin and Will Murray as contributors.  Will Murray contributes an article entitled "Fiery Opal" which gives the historical background of The Shadow's girasol ring.  There are also facts about The Shadow movie, a chronology of The Shadow in print and some other good little articles.  

Shadow Club members also received a Certificate of Membership certifying them as an "authorized and accredited agent" of the club.  Agents signed the lower right portion and The Shadow's signature is on the lower left!

Once you've signed the Certificate of Membership, you can start flashing your Special Agent membership card.  

Club members received an "autographed" picture of The Shadow.  I wrote more about it here.

The Shadow Club also had a secret code.  There were six variations of the code printed on a small (4 1/4" X 5 1/2") card.  

The final pieces of the membership kit were The Shadow Club ring and badge (button).  

I don't know if there were ever any further issues of The Shadow Club newsletter printed and sent out.  Also, I'm not sure how long the club stayed in existence after the movie premiered.  These are things that I'm looking to see if I can find some answers!

The Shadow Club membership kit would have been something fun and exciting for a kid to have received in the mail.  I was excited when I was finally able to find one complete!  I hope you've enjoyed this brief look at another tie-in to the 1994 The Shadow movie!