To Cloud Men’s Minds

Two of my great passions are old pulp thrillers like Doc Savage, and old time radio like The Lone Ranger and Dragnet. Well, these two passions intersect with one of my favorite fictional characters of all time, The Shadow.

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In 1930, magazine publisher Street and Smith sponsored a radio show promoting stories from their Detective Story Magazine. The radio program featured a fictional narrator known as The Shadow, and he became very popular with the listeners. Numerous requests from people for “that Shadow Detective Magazine” compelled Street and Smith to bring the character to the magazine world in his own adventures.

The first novel, The Living Shadow, hit newsstands in April of 1931. Its success meant that more stories were needed, and now The Shadow would be featured in his own monthly magazine, which was so popular that it became biweekly starting in 1932.

The Shadow continued hosting Detective Story Hour, but he became more prominent in the 1937 season of what had become The Shadow radio show, which featured a 22-year-old actor named Orson Welles.

The Shadow radio program and pulp magazines were very successful and soon the character would make it to the big screen: 1937’s The Shadow Strikes, and 1938’s International Crime, though The Shadow would find greater success in the 1940 movie serial simply titled The Shadow.

At around this time, The Shadow returned for a sixth season of his popular radio show, starring Bill Johnstone as The Shadow and his alter ego, Lamont Cranston, and Agnes Moorehead as his confidant, Margo Lane. The sixth season premiere was broadcast on Sunday, September 24, 1939 at 5:30pm, with the classic adventure “Dead Men Talk.”

So sit back this Sunday in 2007 and enjoy the classic radio drama, “The Shadow: Dead Men Talk.”

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The Shadow: “Dead Men Talk” – September 24, 1939
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