Mysterious crimefighter who possesses the power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him, and dispenses justice with the aid of a pair of .45 automatic pistols. Originally conceived as the host of a 1930s radio mystery series, the Shadow character became so popular that he got his own program. This led to his own pulp magazine with stories written by the late Walter Gibson under the pen name "Maxwell Grant". Gibson is responsible for the majority of the Shadow mythos we know today. Several movies have been made of the Shadow's adventures - a few movie serials and, most recently, a 1994 production starring Alec Baldwin in the title role.

The Shadow wears a black suit, a black cloak with red lining, and a black slouch hat; the lower part of his face is masked with a red scarf, above which his hooked nose and glaring black eyes are visible. On his finger he wears the hypnotic Girasol ring. His unseen presence is made known by his chilling, maniacal laugh.

He is aided in his efforts by an unswervingly loyal network of followers, foremost of which is Margo Lane, "friend and companion" and the only person who knows that The Shadow is in reality millionaire playboy Lamont Cranston. (It was later revealed that the Cranston identity is another blind, and that the Shadow is really aviator Kent Allard.) The Shadow's archenemy is the Oriental mastermind Shiwan Khan.

"The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay."

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows."

One of the scariest moments of my life occurred when I was listening to an old radio broadcast of "The Shadow." I was recording a bunch of "Shadow" shows as a gift for my dad, who was a big fan of the series. Most were pleasantly pulpy and fairly suspenseful, but one, titled "The Island of the Ancient Death" was much more intense. I was sitting in the studio, recording away, when suddenly, the actress portraying Margo Lane let loose a piercing, ear-splitting scream. I jumped bolt upright in my seat, suddenly aware of how late it was and how dark the radio station was and how empty it was and how alone I was...

Don't try to tell me that old radio dramas aren't scary.

The Shadow radio dramas ran from 1937 to 1954. The voices of the main characters, Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane, changed over the years:

(Information for 1950 to 1954 is a difficult to find, which is why those years are not listed here)

As with most radio programs of the day, the emphasis of the show was on American patriotism and fulfilling the proper roles in society. Remember, Crime does not pay! The main advertisers of the Shadow radio program were the Blue Coal Company, and the Carey Salt Company.

Some of the broadcasts survive to this day on the web. One place that has a nice little archive of the broadcasts is the Cobalt Club (which, if anyone watched the 1994 movie with Alec Baldwin, was the name of the dinner lounge Lamont patronized).

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