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The Shadow
Shadow Death From Nowhere.jpg

"Who knows what evil lurks...?"
The Shadow as depicted on the cover of the July 15, 1939 issue of The Shadow Magazine. The story, "Death from Nowhere," was one of the magazine plots adapted for the legendary radio drama.
Publication information
Publisher Street & Smith
Condé Nast
First appearance Detective Story Hour
(July 31, 1930)[1] (radio)
"The Living Shadow"
(April 1, 1931)[1] (print)
Created by Walter B. Gibson
In-story information
Alter ego Kent Allard (print)
Lamont Cranston (radio and film)
Notable aliases Lamont Cranston (print)
Abilities Skilled marksman and martial artist. Master of disguise and stealth. (print)
Able to make himself nearly invisible to the naked eye, can alter and control a person's thoughts and perceptions. (radio)

The Shadow is a collection of serialized dramas, originally on 1930s radio and then in a wide variety of media, that follow the exploits of the title character, a crime-fighting vigilante with psychic powers.[2] One of the most famous pulp heroes of the 20th century, The Shadow has been featured in comic books, comic strips, television, video games, and at least five motion pictures. The radio drama is well-remembered for those episodes voiced by Orson Welles.

Introduced as a mysterious radio narrator by David Chrisman, William Sweets, and Harry Engman Charlot for Street and Smith Publications, The Shadow was fully developed and transformed into a pop culture icon by pulp writer Walter B. Gibson.

The Shadow debuted on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious narrator of the Street and Smith radio program Detective Story Hour.[3] After gaining popularity among the show's listeners, the narrator became the star of The Shadow Magazine on April 1, 1931, a pulp series created and primarily written by the prolific Gibson.

Over the years, the character evolved. On September 26, 1937, The Shadow radio drama officially premiered with the story "The Deathhouse Rescue", in which the character had "the power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him." This was a contrivance for the radio. In actuality, The Shadow did not have the ability to become literally invisible; he influenced the minds of his opponents by making them see him a few feet to the right or left of where he really stood. The effect of having this cloaked figure laughing while he was being shot a point-blank range was, at the least, unsettling.

Even after decades, the unmistakable introduction from The Shadow radio program, originally intoned by actor Frank Readick Jr., has earned a place in the American idiom: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" These words were accompanied by a an ominous laugh and a musical theme, Camille Saint-Saëns' Le Rouet d'Omphale ("Omphale's Spinning Wheel", composed in 1872). At the end of each episode, The Shadow reminded listeners, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay.... The Shadow knows!"

Contents

Publication history

Detective Story Hour

In order to boost the sales of their Detective Story Magazine, Street and Smith Publications hired David Chrisman of the Ruthrauff & Ryan advertising agency and writer-director William Sweets to adapt the magazine's stories into a radio series. Chrisman and Sweets felt the upcoming series should be narrated by a mysterious storyteller with a sinister voice, and began searching for a suitable name. One of their scriptwriters, Harry Engman Charlot, suggested various possibilities, such as "The Inspector" or "The Sleuth."[4] Charlot then proposed the ideal name for the phantom announcer: "... The Shadow."[4]

Thus, beginning on July 31, 1930,[1][5] "The Shadow" was the name given to the mysterious narrator of the Detective Story Hour. The narrator was voiced by James LaCurto[5] and, later, Frank Readick. The episodes were drawn from the Detective Story Magazine issued by Street and Smith, "the nation's oldest and largest publisher of pulp magazines."[5] Although the latter company had hoped the radio broadcasts would boost the declining sales of the Detective Story Magazine, the result was quite different. Listeners found the sinister announcer much more compelling than the unrelated stories. They soon began asking newsdealers for copies of "that Shadow detective magazine," even though it did not exist.[5]

Development

Recognizing the demand and responding promptly, circulation manager Henry William Ralston of Street & Smith commissioned magician Walter B. Gibson to begin writing stories about "The Shadow." Using the pen name of Maxwell Grant and claiming that the stories were "from The Shadow's private annals as told to" him, Gibson wrote 282 out of 325 tales over the next 20 years: a novel-length story twice a month (1st and 15th). The first story produced was "The Living Shadow," published April 1, 1931.[5]

Gibson initially fashioned the character as a man with villainous characteristics, who used them to battle crime. Clad in black, The Shadow operated mainly after dark, burglarizing in the name of justice, and terrifying criminals into vulnerability before he or someone else gunned them down. The character was a film noir anti-hero in every sense, likely inspired by mentalist Joseph Dunninger and illusionist Howard Thurston, both close friends of Gibson.[6] Gibson himself claimed the literary inspirations for The Shadow were Bram Stoker's Dracula and Edward Bulwer-Lytton's The House and the Brain.[4]

Because of the great effort involved in writing two full-length novels every month, several guest writers were hired to write occasional installments in order to lighten Gibson's work load. These guest writers included Lester Dent — who penned the Doc Savage stories — and Theodore Tinsley. In the late 1940s, mystery novelist Bruce Elliott would temporarily replace Gibson as the primary author of the pulp series.[7]Richard Edward Wormser, a reader for Street & Smith, wrote two Shadow stories.[8]

The Shadow Magazine ceased publication with the Summer 1949 issue, but Walter B. Gibson wrote three new "official" stories between 1963 and 1980. The first of these began a new series of six updated Shadow novels from Belmont Books, starting with Return of The Shadow under his own by-line. But the remaining five, The Shadow Strikes, Beware Shadow, Cry Shadow, The Shadow's Revenge, Mark of The Shadow, Shadow Go Mad, Night of The Shadow, and The Shadow, Destination: Moon, were not penned by Gibson but by Dennis Lynds under the "Maxwell Grant" byline. In these last five novels, The Shadow was given psychic powers, including the radio character's ability "to cloud men's minds" so that he effectively became invisible.

The Shadow pulp magazine novels

  • The Living Shadow (1931)
  • Eyes of The Shadow (1931)
  • The Shadow Laughs (1931)
  • The Red Menace (1931)
  • Gangdom's Doom (1931)
  • The Death Tower (1932)
  • The Silent Seven (1932)
  • The Black Master (1932)
  • Mobsmen on the Spot (1932)
  • Hands in the Dark (1932)
  • Double Z (1932)
  • The Crime Cult (1932)
  • The Blackmail Ring (1932)
  • Hidden Death (1932)
  • Green Eyes (1932)
  • The Ghost Makers (1932)
  • The Five Chameleons (1932)
  • Dead Men Live (1932)
  • The Romanoff Jewels (1932)
  • Kings of Crime (1932)
  • Shadowed Millions (1933)
  • The Creeping Death (1933)
  • The Shadow's Shadow (1933)
  • Six Men of Evil (1933)
  • Fingers of Death (1933)
  • Murder Trail (1933)
  • The Silent Death (1933)
  • The Shadow's Justice (1933)
  • The Golden Grotto (1933)
  • The Death Giver (1933)
  • The Red Blot (1933)
  • The Ghost of the Manor (1933)
  • The Living Joss (1933)
  • The Silver Scourge (1933)
  • The Black Hush (1933)
  • The Isle of Doubt (1933)
  • The Grove of Doom (1933)
  • Master of Death (1933)
  • Road of Crime (1933)
  • The Death Triangle (1933)
  • The Killer (1933)
  • Mox (1933)
  • The Crime Clinic (1933)
  • Treasures of Death (1933)
  • The Embassy Murders (1934)
  • The Wealth Seeker (1934)
  • The Black Falcon (1934)
  • Gray Fist (1934)
  • The Circle of Death (1934)
  • The Green Box (1934)
  • The Cobra (1934)
  • Crime Circus (1934)
  • Tower of Death (1934)
  • Death Clew (1934)
  • The Key (1934)
  • The Crime Crypt (1934)
  • Charg, Monster (1934)
  • Chain of Death (1934)
  • The Crime Master (1934)
  • Gypsy Vengeance (1934)
  • Spoils of The Shadow (1934)
  • The Garaucan Swindle (1934)
  • Murder Marsh (1934)
  • The Death Sleep (1934)
  • The Chinese Disks (1934)
  • Doom on the Hill (1934)
  • The Unseen Killer (1934)
  • Cyro (1934)
  • The Four Signets (1935)
  • The Blue Sphinx (1935)
  • The Plot Master (1935)
  • The Dark Death (1935)
  • Crooks Go Straight (1935)
  • Bells of Doom (1935)
  • Lingo (1935)
  • The Triple Trail (1935)
  • The Golden Quest (1935)
  • The Third Skull (1935)
  • Murder Every House (1935)
  • The Condor (1935)
  • The Fate Joss (1935)
  • Atoms of Death (1935)
  • The Man from Scotland Yard (1935)
  • The Creeper (1935)
  • Mardi Gras Mystery (1935)
  • The London Crimes (1935)
  • The Ribbon Clues (1935)
  • The House That Vanished (1935)
  • The Chinese Tapestry (1935)
  • The Python (1935)
  • Zemba (1935)
  • The Case of Congressman Coyd (1935)
  • The Ghost Murders (1936)
  • Castle of Doom (1936)
  • Death Rides the Skyway (1936)
  • The North Woods Mystery (1936)
  • The Voodoo Master (1936)
  • The Third Shadow (1936)
  • The Salamanders (1936)
  • The Man from Shanghai (1936)
  • The Gray Ghost (1936)
  • City of Doom (1936)
  • The Crime Oracle (1936)
  • Murder Town (1936)
  • The Yellow Door (1936)
  • The Broken Napoleons (1936)
  • The Sledge-Hammer Crimes (1936)
  • Terror Island (1936)
  • The Golden Masks (1936)
  • Jibaro Death (1936)
  • City of Crime (1936)
  • Death by Proxy (1936)
  • The Strange Disappearance of Joe Cardona (1936)
  • The Seven Drops of Blood (1936)
  • Intimidation, Inc. (1936)
  • Vengeance Is Mine! (1937)
  • Loot of Death (1937)
  • Quetzel (1937)
  • Death Token (1937)
  • Murder House (1937)
  • Washington Crime (1937)
  • The Masked Headsman (1937)
  • Treasure Trail (1937)
  • Brothers of Doom (1937)
  • The Shadow's Rival (1937)
  • Crime, Insured (1937)
  • House of Silence (1937)
  • The Shadow Unmasks (1937)
  • The Yellow Band (1937)
  • Buried Evidence (1937)
  • The Radium Murders (1937)
  • The Keepers Gold (1937)
  • Death Turrets (1937)
  • Teeth of the Dragon (1937)
  • The Sealed Box (1937)
  • Racket Town (1937)
  • The Crystal Buddha (1938)
  • Hills of Death (1938)
  • The Murder Master (1938)
  • The Golden Pagoda (1938)
  • Face of Doom (1938)
  • Serpents of Siva (1938)
  • Cards of Death (1938)
  • The Hand (1938)
  • Voodoo Trail (1938)
  • The Rackets King (1938)
  • Murder for Sale (1938)
  • Death Jewels (1938)
  • The Green Hoods (1938)
  • Crime Over Boston (1938)
  • The Dead Who Lived (1938)
  • Vanished Treasure (1938)
  • The Voice (1938)
  • Chicago Crime (1938)
  • Shadow Over Alcatraz (1938)
  • Double Death (1938)
  • Silver Skull (1939)
  • Crime Rides the Sea (1939)
  • Realm of Doom (1939)
  • The Lone Tiger (1939)
  • The Vindicator (1939)
  • Death Ship (1939)
  • Valley of Greed (1939)
  • The Three Brothers (1939)
  • Smugglers of Death (1939)
  • City of Shadows (1939)
  • Death from Nowhere (1939)
  • The Isle of Gold (1939)
  • Wizard of Crime (1939)
  • The Crime Ray (1939)
  • The Golden Master (1939)
  • Castle of Crime (1939)
  • The Masked Lady (1939)
  • Ships of Doom (1939)
  • City of Ghosts (1939)
  • Shiwan Khan Returns (1939)
  • House of Shadows (1939)
  • Death Premium (1940)
  • The Hooded Circle (1940)
  • The Getaway Ring (1940)
  • Voice of Death (1940)
  • The Invincible Shiwan Khan (1940)
  • The Veiled Prophet (1940)
  • The Spy Ring (1940)
  • Death in the Stars (1940)
  • Masters of Death (1940)
  • Scent of Death (1940)
  • Q (1940)
  • Gems of Doom (1940)
  • Crime at Seven Oaks (1940)
  • The Fifth Face (1940)
  • Crime County (1940)
  • The Wasp (1940)
  • Crime Over Miami (1940)
  • Xitli, God of Fire (1940)
  • The Shadow, The Hawk, and The Skull (1940)
  • Forgotten Gold (1941)
  • The Wasp Returns (1941)
  • The Chinese Primrose (1941)
  • Mansion of Crime (1941)
  • The Time Master (1941)
  • The House on the Ledge (1941)
  • The League of Death (1941)
  • Crime Under Cover (1941)
  • The Thunder King (1941)
  • The Star of Delhi (1941)
  • The Blur (1941)
  • The Shadow Meets the Mask (1941)
  • The Devil Master (1941)
  • Garden of Death (1941)
  • Dictator of Crime (1941)
  • The Blackmail King (1941)
  • Temple of Crime (1941)
  • Murder Mansion (1941)
  • Crime's Stronghold (1941)
  • Alibi Trail (1942)
  • The Book of Death (1942)
  • Death Diamonds (1942)
  • Vengeance Bay (1942)
  • Formula for Crime (1942)
  • Room of Doom (1942)
  • The Jade Dragon (1942)
  • The Northdale Mystery (1942)
  • Twins of Crime (1942)
  • The Devil's Feud (1942)
  • Five Ivory Boxes (1942)
  • Death About Town (1942)
  • Legacy of Death (1942)
  • Judge Lawless (1942)
  • The Vampire Murders (1942)
  • Clue for Clue (1942)
  • Trail of Vengeance (1942)
  • The Murdering Ghost (1942)
  • The Hydra (1942)
  • The Money Master (1942)
  • The Museum Murders (1943)
  • Death's Masquerade (1943)
  • The Devil Monsters (1943)
  • Wizard of Crime (1943)
  • The Black Dragon (1943)
  • The Robot Master (1943)
  • Murder Lake (1943)
  • Messenger of Death (1943)
  • House of Ghosts (1943)
  • King of the Black Market (1943)
  • The Muggers (1943)
  • Murder by Moonlight (1943)
  • The Crystal Skull (1944)
  • Syndicate of Death (1944)
  • Toll of Death (1944)
  • Crime Caravan (1944)
  • Freak Show Murders (1944)
  • Voodoo Death (1944)
  • Town of Hate (1944)
  • Death in the Crystal (1944)
  • The Chest of Chu-Chan (1944)
  • The Shadow Meets The Mask (1944)
  • Fountain of Death (1944)
  • No Time for Murder (1944)
  • Guardian of Death (1945)
  • Merry Mrs. MacBeth (1945)
  • Five Keys to Crime (1945)
  • Death has Gray Eyes (1945)
  • Tear-drops of Buddha (1945)
  • Three Stamps of Death (1945)
  • The Mask of Mephisto (1945)
  • Murder by Magic (1945)
  • The Taiwan Joss (1945)
  • A Quarter of Eight (1945)
  • The White Skulls (1945)
  • The Stars Promise Death (1945)
  • The Banshee Murders (1946)
  • Crime Out of Mind (1946)
  • Mother Goose Murders (1946)
  • Crime Over Casco (1946)
  • The Curse of Thoth (1946)
  • Alibi Trail (1946)
  • Malmordo (1946)
  • Jade Dragon (1948)
  • Dead Man's Chest (1948)
  • The Magigal's Mystery (1949)
  • The Black Circle (1949)
  • The Whispering Eyes (1949)
  • Return of The Shadow (1963)
  • Blackmail Bay (1980)

Character development

The character and look of The Shadow gradually evolved over his lengthy fictional existence.

As depicted in the pulps, The Shadow wore a black slouch hat and a black, crimson-lined cloak with an upturned collar over a standard black suit. In the 1940s comic books, the later comics series, and the 1994 film starring Alec Baldwin, he wore either the black slouch hat or a wide-brimmed, black fedora and a crimson scarf just below his nose and across his mouth and chin. Both the cloak and scarf covered either a black doubled-breasted trench coat or regular black suit. As seen in some of the later comics series, the hat and scarf could also be worn with either a black Inverness coat or Inverness cape.

But in the radio drama, which debuted in 1937, The Shadow became an invisible avenger who had learned, while "traveling through East Asia", "the mysterious power to cloud men's minds, so they could not see him." This revision of the character was born out of necessity: Time constraints of 1930s radio made it difficult to explain to listeners where The Shadow was hiding and how he was remaining concealed. Thus, the character was simply given the power to escape human sight.

In order to explain this power, The Shadow was described as a master of hypnotism, as explicitly stated in several radio episodes.

Background

"The Living Shadow" from The Shadow Magazine #1, April 7, 1931.

In print, The Shadow's secret identity is Kent Allard, a famed aviator who fought for the French during World War I. He is known by the alias of The Black Eagle ("The Shadow's Shadow", 1933), although later stories revised this alias as The Dark Eagle ("The Shadow Unmasks", 1937). After the war, Allard seeks a new challenge and decides to wage war on criminals. Allard fakes his death in the South American jungles, then returns to the United States. Arriving in New York City, he adopts numerous identities to conceal his existence.

One of these identities is Lamont Cranston, a "wealthy young man about town." In the pulps, Cranston is a separate character; Allard frequently disguises himself as Cranston and adopts his identity ("The Shadow Laughs," 1931). While Cranston travels the world, Allard assumes his identity in New York. In their first meeting, Allard/The Shadow threatens Cranston, saying that he has arranged to switch signatures on various documents and other means that will allow him to take over the Lamont Cranston identity entirely unless Cranston agrees to allow Allard to impersonate him when he is abroad. Terrified, Cranston agrees. The two men sometimes meet in order to impersonate each other ("Crime over Miami," 1940). Apparently, the disguise works well because Allard and Cranston bear something of a resemblance to each other ("Dictator of Crime," 1941).

His other disguises include businessman Henry Arnaud, (first appeared in "Green Eyes" Oct, 1932) elderly gentleman Isaac Twambley, (first appeared in "No Time For Murder") and Fritz, (first appeared in "The Living Shadow" Apr, 1931) a doddering old janitor who works at Police Headquarters in order to listen in on conversations.

The Shadow appears as Henry Arnaud in "Atoms of Death," "Buried Evidence," "Death Jewels," "Death Premium," "Death Ship," "Green Eyes," "House of Silence," "Murder Trail," "Quetzal," "Realm of Doom," "The Black Master," "The Blue Sphinx," "The Case of Congressman Coyd," "The Circle of Death," "The City of Doom," "The Condor," "The Embassy Murders," "The Five Chameleons," "The Ghost Murders," "The Man From Shanghai," "The Plot Master," "The Radium Murders," "The Romanoff Jewels," "The Seven Drops of Blood," "The Shadow Unmasks," "The Shadow's Shadow," and "Wizard of Crime."

The Shadow appears as Isaac Twambley in "No Time for Murder," "Guardians of Death," "Death Has Grey Eyes," "The Stars Promise Death," "Dead Man's Chest, and "The Magigal's Mystery."

The Shadow appears as Fritz in at least 23 Shadow novels: "The Living Shadow," "Hidden Death," "The Ghost Makers," "The Crime Clinic," "Crime Circus," "The Chinese Disks," "The Dark Death," "The Third Skull," "The Black Master," "The Voodoo Master," "The Third Shadow," "The Circle of Death," "The Sledge Hammer Crimes," "The Golden Masks," "The Ghost Murders," "Hills of Death," "The Hand," "The Racket's King," "The Green Hoods," "The Crime Ray," "The Getaway Ring," "Masters of Death," and "The Crystal Skull."

For the first half of The Shadow's tenure in the pulps, his past and identity are ambiguous, supposedly an intentional decision on Gibson's part. In "The Living Shadow," a thug claims to have seen The Shadow's face, and thought he saw "a piece of white that looked like a bandage." In "The Black Master" and "The Shadow's Shadow," the villains both see The Shadow's true face, and they both remark that The Shadow is a man of many faces with no face of his own. It was not until the August 1937 issue, "The Shadow Unmasks," that The Shadow's real name is revealed.

Kent Allard appears as himself in at least twenty-eight Shadow novels: "The Shadow Unmasks," "The Yellow Band," "Death Turrets," "The Sealed Box," "The Crystal Buddha," "Hills of Death," "The Murder Master," "The Golden Pagoda," "Face of Doom," "The Racket's King," "Murder for Sale," "Death Jewels," "The Green Hoods," "Crime Over Boston," "The Dead Who Lived," "Shadow Over Alcatraz," "Double Death," "Silver Skull," "The Prince of Evil," "Masters of Death," "Xitli, God of Fire," "The Green Terror," "The Wasp Returns," "The White Column," "Dictator of Crime," "Crime out of Mind," "Crime Over Casco," and "Dead Man's Chest."

In the radio drama, the Allard secret identity was dropped for simplicity's sake. On the radio, The Shadow was only Lamont Cranston; he had no other aliases or disguises.

Supporting characters

The Shadow has a network of agents who assist him in his war on crime. These include:

  • Harry Vincent, an operative whose life he saved when Vincent tried to commit suicide
  • Moses "Moe" Shrevnitz, aka "Shrevvy," a cab driver who doubles as his chauffeur
  • Margo Lane, a socialite created for the radio drama and later introduced into the pulps
  • Clyde Burke, a newspaper reporter
  • Burbank, a radio operator who maintains contact between The Shadow and his agents
  • Cliff Marsland, a wrongly convicted ex-con who infiltrates gangs using his crooked reputation
  • Dr. Rupert Sayre, The Shadow's personal physician
  • Jericho Druke, a giant, immensely strong black man
  • Slade Farrow, who works with The Shadow to rehabilitate criminals
  • Miles Crofton, who sometimes pilots The Shadow's autogyro
  • Rutledge Mann, a stock-broker who collects information
  • Claude Fellows, the only agent of The Shadow ever to be killed ("Gangdom's Doom," 1931)
  • Hawkeye, a reformed underworld snoop who trails gangsters and other criminals
  • Myra Reldon, a female operative who uses the alias of Ming Dwan when in Chinatown
  • Dr. Roy Tam, The Shadow's contact man in New York's Chinatown

Though initially wanted by the police, The Shadow also works with them and through them, notably gleaning information from his many chats with Commissioners Ralph Weston and Wainright Barth at the Cobalt Club. Weston believes that Cranston is a merely a rich playboy who dabbles in detective work. Another police contact is Detective Joe Cardona, a key character in many Shadow novels.

In contrast to the pulps, The Shadow radio drama limited the cast of major characters to The Shadow, Commissioner Weston, and Margo Lane (created specifically for the radio series) as it was believed the abundance of agents would make it difficult to distinguish between characters.[9] Clyde Burke and Moe Shrevnitz (identified only as "Shrevvy") made occasional appearances, but not as agents of The Shadow. Shrevvy was merely an acquaintance of Cranston and Lane, and occasionally Cranston's chauffeur.

Enemies

The Shadow also faces a wide variety of enemies, ranging from kingpins and mad scientists to international spies and supervillains, many of whom were predecessors to the rogues galleries of comic super-heroes. Among The Shadow's recurring foes are Shiwan Khan ("The Golden Master", "Shiwan Khan Returns" & "The Invincible Shiwan Khan"), The Voodoo Master ("The Voodoo Master", "The City of Doom" & "Voodoo Trail"), The Prince of Evil ("The Prince of Evil", "The Murder Genius", "The Man Who Died Twice", & "The Devil's Paymaster"—all by Theodore Tinsley), and The Wasp ("The Wasp" & "The Wasp Returns").

The series also featured a myriad of one-shot villains, including The Red Envoy, The Death Giver, Gray Fist, The Black Dragon, Silver Skull, The Red Blot, The Black Falcon, The Cobra, Zemba, The Black Master, Five-Face, The Gray Ghost, and Dr. Z.

The Shadow also battles collectives of criminals, such as The Silent Seven, The Hand, The Salamanders, and The Hydra.

Radio program

Publicity photograph of Orson Welles, dated 1937.
Promotional photgraph of Orson Welles dressed as The Shadow, dated 1937 or 1938.
Orson Welles was the voice of The Shadow from September 1937 to October 1938. He was succeeded by Bill Johnstone.

In early 1930, Street & Smith Publications hired David Chrisman and Bill Sweets to adapt the Detective Story Magazine to radio format. Chrisman and Sweets felt the program should be introduced by a mysterious storyteller. A young scriptwriter, Harry Charlot, suggested the name of "The Shadow."[4] Thus, "The Shadow" premiered over CBS airwaves on July 31, 1930,[1] as the host of the Detective Story Hour,[5] narrating "tales of mystery and suspense from the pages of the premier detective fiction magazine."[5] The narrator was first voiced by James LaCurto,[5] but became a national sensation when radio veteran Frank Readick, Jr. assumed the role and gave it "a hauntingly sibilant quality that thrilled radio listeners."[5]

Early years

Following a brief tenure as narrator of Street & Smith's Detective Story Hour, "The Shadow" character was used to host segments of The Blue Coal Radio Revue, playing on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. This marked the beginning of a long association between the radio persona and sponsor Blue Coal.

While functioning as a narrator of The Blue Coal Radio Revue, the character was recycled by Street & Smith in October 1931, to oddly serve as the storyteller of Love Story Hour.

In October 1932, the radio persona temporarily moved to NBC. Frank Readick again played the role of the sinister-voiced host on Mondays and Wednesdays, both at 6:30 p.m., with LaCurto taking occasional turns as the title character.

Readick returned as The Shadow to host a final CBS mystery anthology that fall. The series disappeared from CBS airwaves on March 27, 1935, due to Street & Smith's insistence that the radio storyteller be completely replaced by the master crime-fighter described in Walter B. Gibson's ongoing pulps.

Radio drama

Street & Smith entered into a new broadcasting agreement with Blue Coal in 1937, and that summer Gibson teamed with scriptwriter Edward Hale Bierstadt to develop the new series. As such, The Shadow returned to network airwaves on September 26, 1937, over the new Mutual Broadcasting System. Thus began the "official" radio drama that many Shadow fans know and love, with 22-year-old Orson Welles starring as Lamont Cranston, a "wealthy young man about town." Once The Shadow joined Mutual as a half-hour series on Sunday evenings, the program did not leave the air until December 26, 1954.

Welles did not speak the signature line of "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" Instead, Readick did, using a water glass next to his mouth for the echo effect. The famous catch phrase was accompanied by the strains of an excerpt from Opus 31 of the Camille Saint-Saëns classical composition, Le Rouet d'Omphale.

After Welles departed the show in 1938, Bill Johnstone was chosen to replace him and voiced the character for five seasons. Following Johnstone's departure, The Shadow was portrayed by such actors as Bret Morrison (the longest tenure, with 10 years in two separate runs), John Archer, and Steve Courtleigh.

The Shadow also inspired another radio hit, The Whistler, whose protagonist likewise knows "many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, many secrets hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes, I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak."

Margo Lane

The radio drama also introduced female characters into The Shadow's realm, most notably Margo Lane (played by Agnes Moorehead, among others) as Cranston's love interest and crime-solving partner.[10] Four years later, the character was introduced into the pulp novels. Her sudden, unexplained appearance in the pulps annoyed readers and generated a flurry of hate mail printed in The Shadow Magazine's letters page.[10]

Lane was described as Cranston's "friend and companion" in later episodes, although the exact nature of their relationship was unclear. In the early scripts of the radio drama the character's name was spelled "Margot." The name itself was originally inspired by Margot Stevenson,[10] the Broadway ingénue who would later be chosen to voice Lane opposite Welles' Shadow during "the 1938 Goodrich summer season of the radio drama."[11] In the 1994 film in which Penelope Ann Miller portrayed the character, she is characterized as a telepath.

Comic strip, comic books, and graphic novels

Walter Gibson's and Vernon Greene's first daily strip for The Shadow (1940).

The Shadow has been adapted for the comics a number of times, the first being in late 1940 with a daily newspaper comic strip offered through the Ledger Syndicate. The strip's story continuity was written by Walter B. Gibson, with plot lines adapted from the Shadow pulps, and the strip was illustrated by Vernon Greene. Due to pulp paper shortages and the growing amount of space required for war news from the European and Pacific fronts, the strip was finally cancelled during its second year. The Shadow daily was eventually collected decades later in two comic book series from two different publishers (see below), beginning in 1988 and then again in 1999.

To both cross-promote The Shadow and attract a younger audience to their other pulp magazines, Street & Smith published 101 issues of the comic book Shadow Comics from Vol. 1, #1 - Vol. 9, #5 (March 1940 - Sept. 1949)[12]. A Shadow story led off each issue, with the remainder of the stories being strips based on other Street & Smith pulp hereos.

In Mad #4 (April-May 1953), The Shadow was spoofed by Harvey Kurtzman and Bill Elder. Their character was called the Shadow' (with an apostrophe), which is short for Lamont Shadowskeedeeboomboom. In this satire, Margo Pain gets Shad, as she calls him, into various predicaments, including fights with gangsters and a piano falling on him from above. At the conclusion of the tale, after Margo is tricked into going inside an outhouse surrounded by wired-up dynamite, Shad is seen gleefully pushing down a detonator's plunger.

During the superhero revivial of the 1960s, Archie Comics published an eight-issue series, The Shadow (Aug. 1964 - Sept. 1965) under the company's Mighty Comics imprint. In the first issue, The Shadow depicted was loosely based on the radio version, but with blonde hair. In issue #2 (Sept. 1964), the character was transformed into a campy, heavily muscled, green and blue costume-wearing superhero by writer Robert Bernstein and artist John Rosenberger.[13]

During the mid-1970s, DC Comics published a critically acclaimed[citation needed] 12-issue series (Nov. 1973 - Sept. 1975) written by Dennis O'Neil and initially drawn by Michael William Kaluta (#1-4 & 6). Faithful to both the pulp-magazine and radio-drama character, the series guest-starred fellow pulp fiction hero The Avenger in issue #11.[14] The Shadow appeared in DC's Batman #253 (Nov. 1973), in which Batman teams with an aging Shadow and calls the famous crimefighter his "greatest inspiration". In Batman #259 (Dec. 1974), Batman again meets The Shadow, and we learn The Shadow saved Bruce Wayne's life when the future Batman was a boy.

DC Comics' The Shadow #1 (Nov. 1973). Cover art by Michael Kaluta.

In the late 1980s, another DC reincarnation was created by Howard Chaykin, Andy Helfer, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Kyle Baker. This four issue mini-series, also collected as a one-shot graphic novel, brought The Shadow to modern-day New York. While initially successful, this version proved unpopular with traditional Shadow fans because it depicted The Shadow using Uzi submachine guns and rocket launchers, as well as featuring a strong strain of black comedy throughout.

In 1988, O'Neil and Kaluta, with inker Russ Heath, returned to The Shadow with the Marvel Comics graphic novel The Shadow 1941: Hitler's Astrologer, set during World War II. This one-shot appeared in both hardcover and trade paperback editions.

The Vernon Greene/Walter Gibson Shadow newspaper comic strip from the early 1940s was finally collected by Malibu Graphics (Malibu Comics) under their Eternity Comics imprint, beginning with the first issue of Crime Classics dated July, 1988. Each cover was illustrated by Greene and colored by one of Eternity's colorists. A total of 13 issues appeared featuring just the black-and-white daily until the final issue, dated November, 1989. Some of the Shadow story lines were contained in one issue, while others were continued over into the next. When a Shadow story ended, another tale would begin in the same issue. This back-to-back format continued until the final 13th issue, when the strip story lines ended.

From 1989 to 1992, DC published a new series, The Shadow Strikes, written by Gerard Jones and Eduardo Barreto. This series was set in the 1930s and returned The Shadow to his pulp origins. During its run, it featured The Shadow's first team-up with Doc Savage, another very popular hero of the pulp magazine era. Both characters appeared together in a four-issue story that crossed back and forth between each character's DC comic series. "The Shadow Strikes" series often led The Shadow into encounters with well-known celebrities of the 1930s, such as Albert Einstein, Amelia Earhart, Charles Lindbergh, union organizer John L. Lewis, and Chicago gangsters Frank Nitti and Jake Guzik. In issue #11, The Shadow meets a radio announcer named Grover Mills — a character based on the young Orson Welles — who has been impersonating The Shadow on the radio. The character's name is taken from Grover's Mill, New Jersey, the name of the small town where the Martians land in Welles' famous 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds.

The Shadow also made an uncredited cameo appearance in issue #2 of DC's 1996 four issue mini-series Kingdom Come. Those four issues were then collected into a single graphic novel in 1997. The Shadow appears in the nightclub scene standing in the background next to The Question and Rorschach.

During the early-to-mid-1990s, Dark Horse Comics acquired the comics rights to the Shadow. It published the Shadow miniseries In The Coils of Leviathan (four issues) in 1993, and Hell's Heat Wave (three issues) in 1995. In the Coils of the Leviathan was later collected and issued by Dark Horse in 1994 as a trade paperback graphic novel. Both series were written by Joel Goss and Michael Kaluta, and drawn by Gary Gianni. A one-shot Shadow issue The Shadow and the Mysterious Three was also published by Dark Horse in 1994, again written by Joel Goss and Michael Kaluta, with Stan Manoukian and Vince Roucher taking over the illustration duties but working over Kaluta's layouts. A comics adaptation of the 1994 film The Shadow was published in two issues by Dark Horse as part of the movie's merchandising campaign. The script was by Goss and Kaluta and once again drawn from cover to cover by Kaluta. It was collected and published in England by Boxtree as a graphic novel tie-in for the film's British release. Emulating DC's earlier team-up, Dark Horse also published a two-issue mini-series in 1995 called The Shadow and Doc Savage. It was written by Steve Vance, and illustrated once again by Manoukian and Roucher. Of special note, both issues' covers were drawn by Rocketeer creator Dave Stevens. The final Dark Horse Shadow team-up was published in 1995. It was a single issue of Ghost and the Shadow, written by Doug Moench, pencilled by H. M. Baker, and inked by Bernard Kolle.

The early 1940's Shadow newspaper daily strip was again put back into print, this time by Avalon Communications under their ACG Classix imprint. The Shadow daily began appearing with the first issue of Pulp Action comics. It carried no monthly date or issue number on the cover, only a 1999 copyright and a "Pulp Action #1" notation on the inside cover's colophon. Each issue's cover was a colorized, partial comics panel blow-up, taken from one of the reprinted strips. The eighth issue uses for its cover a partial Shadow movie serial black and white movie still, with hand-drawn alterations made to it. The first issue of Pulp Action is devoted entirely to reprints of the Shadow daily, but subsequent issues also began offering non-Shadow stories of various page lengths as back-up features in every issue. The Shadow strip reprints stopped with Pulp Action's eighth issue, without finishing up the daily. That last issue carries a 2000 copyright date.

Alan Moore has credited The Shadow as one of the key influences for the creation of V, the title character in his DC Comics miniseries V for Vendetta, [15][16] that later became a big-budget film release from Warner Bros.

Films

The character has been adapted for several motion pictures.

The Shadow Strikes (1937)

The film The Shadow Strikes was released in 1937, starring Rod La Rocque in the title role. Lamont Cranston assumes the secret identity of "The Shadow" in order to thwart an attempted robbery at an attorney's office. Both The Shadow Strikes (1937) and its sequel, International Crime (1938), were released by Grand National Pictures.

International Crime (1938)

La Rocque returned the following year in International Crime. In this version, reporter Lamont Cranston is an amateur criminologist and detective who uses the name of "The Shadow" as a radio gimmick. Thomas Jackson portrayed Police Commissioner Weston, and Astrid Allwyn was cast as Phoebe Lane, Cranston's assistant.

The Shadow (1940)

A 15-chapter serial produced by Columbia Studios starring Victor Jory premiered in 1940. The Black Tiger is a criminal mastermind who has been sabotaging rail lines and factories across the United States, and Lamont Cranston must become his shadowy alter ego to uncover the fiend and halt his schemes.

The Shadow Returns (1946)

Low-budget motion picture studio Monogram produced a trio of films in 1946 starring Kane Richmond: The Shadow Returns, Behind the Mask and The Missing Lady. Richmond's Shadow, in fact, wore a black face-mask similar to the type worn by the serial hero The Masked Marvel.

The Shadow (1994)

Poster for The Shadow

In 1994, the character was adapted once again into a feature film, The Shadow, starring Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston, alongside Penelope Ann Miller as Margo Lane. Cranston is depicted as a brutal warlord and opium smuggler in 1930s Mongolia who is kidnapped by a tulku, who reforms him and teaches him to cloud men's minds in order to fight crime. His nemesis in the film is an evil warlord and fellow telepath named Shiwan Khan (John Lone), the last descendant of Genghis Khan, who seeks to destroy New York City with an atomic bomb. The Shadow eventually defeats him by telekinetically stabbing Khan in the head with a mirror shard; one of the Shadow's agents — the administrator of an insane asylum — surgically removes the part of Khan's frontal lobe that controls his telepathic powers, declares him insane, and has him institutionalized.

This movie combined the radio and pulp novel versions of The Shadow, with the aforementioned ability to cloud minds, described only on radio, along with the huge red-lined black cloak, the black trench coat and slouch hat, and the dual .45 semi-automatic pistols with which The Shadow was customarily outfitted in the pulp novels.

Upcoming film

On December 11, 2006, the website SuperHero Hype reported that director Sam Raimi and Michael Uslan will co-produce a new Shadow film for Columbia Pictures.[17] Siavash Farahani will write the screenplay. Raimi had tried (and failed) to gain the rights in the late 1980s, which resulted in his 1990 feature film, Darkman.

On October 16, 2007, Raimi stated that: "I don't have any news on 'The Shadow' at this time, except that the company that I have with Josh Donen, my producing partner, we've got the rights to 'The Shadow.' I love the character very much and we're trying to work on a story that'll do justice to the character."[18]

On January 29, 2010, it was reported that Sam Raimi was searching for a new project after it was announced that the Spider-Man franchise would be rebooted without him. The Shadow was said to be at the top of his list. According to the Internet Movie Database, production is slated to begin in 2012.

TV series

Two attempts were made to make a television series based on the character. The first in 1954 was called The Shadow, starring Tom Helmore as Lamont Cranston.

The second attempt in 1958 was called The Invisible Avenger, which compiled the first two unaired episodes and was released theatrically instead. This film was later re-released in 1962 as Bourbon Street Shadows, with additional footage meant to appeal to "adult" audiences. Starring Richard Derr as The Shadow, The Invisible Avenger centers upon Lamont Cranston investigating the murder of a New Orleans bandleader. The film is notable as the second directorial effort of James Wong Howe.

Influence on Superheroes

Characters such as Batman[19] and The Green Hornet reference Lamont Cranston's alter ego. Both characters operate mostly by night, and the Green Hornet in particular operates outside the law, insinuating himself into criminal plots in order to put an end to the activities of master criminals. But whereas The Shadow carries a real gun, the Green Hornet carries only a lightweight pistol that fires non-lethal gas.

When Bob Kane and Bill Finger first conceived "the Bat-Man", Finger suggested they pattern the character after pulp mystery men such as The Shadow.[20] Finger then used "Partners of Peril"[21]—a Shadow pulp written by Theodore Tinsley—as the basis for Batman's debut story, "The Case of the Chemical Syndicate."[22] Finger later publicly acknowledged that "my first [Batman] script was a take-off on a Shadow story"[23] and that "Batman was originally written in the style of the pulps."[24] This influence was further evident with Batman showing little remorse over killing or maiming criminals and was not above using firearms.[24]

In popular culture

  • The Laughing Man, a 1949 short story by J. D. Salinger, reprinted in his 1953 collection Nine Stories, is based on the episodic nature of The Shadow radio show and draws upon references to the character's famous laugh and red-lined cloak.
  • Science fiction writer Philip José Farmer depicted The Shadow as part of his Wold Newton family of interrelated fictional characters.
  • In the "Adam's Ribs" episode of M*A*S*H*, Hawkeye Pierce claims to be a reporter named "Cranston Lamont" in order to secure the address of his favorite rib restaurant near the Dearborn Street Station in Chicago.
  • Lamont Cranston, the Shadow, and the "Who knows what evil lurks..." quote appear in the poem "In Memory of Radio" by Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones, published in 1961.
  • In the musical Bye Bye Birdie, when trying to find his daughter Kim, who has run off to the Ice House with Conrad Birdie, Mr. MacAfee exclaims, "Call the Shadow. Look him up under Lamont Cranston!"
  • The name Lamont Cranston is often used by cannabis smokers to refer to their smoking device when the situation prohibits explicitly speaking about drug paraphernalia. Lamont Cranston has come to symbolize anything secret or confidential.
  • In the "Who and where was Antonio Stradivarius?" episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laura's Uncle jokes about Rob being The Shadow when he doesn't show up for dinner.

See also

References

  • Cox, J. Randolph. Man of Magic & Mystery, A Guide to the Work of Walter B. Gibson, Scarecrow Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8108-2192-3. (Comprehensive history and career bibliography of Gibson's works.)
  • Eisgruber, Jr., Frank. Gangland's Doom, The Shadow of the Pulps, Starmont House, 1985. ISBN 0-930261-74-7.
  • Gibson, Walter B., Tollin, Anthony. The Shadow Scrapbook, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979. ISBN 0-15-681475-7. (Comprehensive history of The Shadow in all media forms up through the late 1970s.)
  • Goulart, Ron. Cheap Thrills: An Informal History of the Pulp Magazine, Arlington House, 1972. ISBN 0-87000-1722-8.
  • Murray, Will. Duende History of the Shadow Magazine, Odyssey Publications, 1980. ISBN 0-933752-12-0.
  • Overstreet, Robert. The Official Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, 35th Edition., House of Collectibles, 2005. ISBN 0-375-72107-X. (Lists all Shadow comics published to date.)
  • Sampson, Robert. The Night Master, Pulp Press, 1982. ISBN 0-934498-08-3.
  • Shimfield, Thomas J. Walter B. Gibson and The Shadow. McFarland & Company, 2004. ISBN 0-7864-1466-9. (Comprehensive Walter Gibson biography with an emphasis on The Shadow.)
  • Steranko, James. Steranko's History of the Comics, Vol. 1, Supergraphics, 1970. No ISBN.
  • Steranko, James, (1972), Steranko's History of the Comics, Vol. 2, Supergraphics, 1972. No ISBN.
  • Steranko, James. Unseen Shadows, Supergraphics, 1978. No ISBN. (Collection of Steranko's detailed black and white cover roughs, including alternate/unused versions, done for the Shadow novel reprints from Pyramid Books and Jove/HBJ.)
  • Van Hise, James. The Serial Adventures of the Shadow, Pioneer Books, 1989. No ISBN.

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c d "History of The Shadow". http://www.fortunecity.com/meltingpot/kes/350/history.html. Retrieved 2008-01-11. 
  2. ^ Stedman, Raymond William. Serials: Suspense and Drama By Installment. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 154. ISBN 978-0806116952. "The definite article in The Shadow's name was always capitalized in the pulp adventures" 
  3. ^ "The Shadow: A Short Radio History". http://www.old-time.com/sights/shadow.html. Retrieved 2008-03-23. 
  4. ^ a b c d Anthony Tollin. "Foreshadowings," The Shadow #5: The Salamanders and The Black Falcon; February 2007, Nostalgia Ventures.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Tollin, Anthony (2006-06). "Spotlight on The Shadow". The Shadow #1: the Golden Vulture and Crime Insured (Nostalgia Ventures): 4–5. 
  6. ^ Murray, Will (2007-10). "Walter Gibson's Magical Journey". The Shadow (Nostalgia Ventures) (#12 - The Magigals Mystery and the Serpents of Siva): 126–130. 
  7. ^ "The Shadow in Review". http://www.spaceports.com/~deshadow/reviews/shadow321.html. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  8. ^ p.28 Wormser, Richard & Skutch, Ira How to Become a Complete Non-Entity: A Memoir 2006 iUniverse
  9. ^ Tollin, Anthony (2007-02). "The Shadow on the Radio". The Shadow (Nostalgia Ventures) (#5: The Salamanders and The Black Falcon). 
  10. ^ a b c Will Murray. "Introducing Margo Lane", p. 127, The Shadow #4: Murder Master and The Hydra; January 2007, Nostalgia Ventures.
  11. ^ Anthony Tollin. "Voices from the Shadows," p. 120, The Shadow #5: The Salamanders and The Black Falcon; February 2007, Nostalgia Ventures.
  12. ^ Grand Comics Database: Shadow Comics
  13. ^ Grand Comics Database: The Shadow (1964 series)
  14. ^ Grand Comics Database: The Shadow (1973 series)
  15. ^ Moore, Alan (1990). V for Vendetta: Behind the Painted Smile. DC Comics. 
  16. ^ Boudreaux, Madelyn (2006-10-17). "Annotation of References in Alan Moore's V For Vendetta". http://madelyn.utahunderground.net/vendetta/vendetta1.html. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  17. ^ Columbia & Raimi Team Up on The Shadow
  18. ^ Rotten, Ryan (2007-10-16). "Sam Raimi on Spider-Man 4 and The Shadow". Superherohype.com. Coming Soon Media, ltd.. http://www.superherohype.com/news/topnews.php?id=6410. Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  19. ^ Boichel, Bill (1991). "Batman: Commodity as Myth." The Many Lives of the Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and His Media. London: Routledge. pp. 6–7. ISBN 0-85170-276-7. 
  20. ^ Secret Origins of Batman (Part 1 of 3) - Retrieved on January 13, 2008.
  21. ^ The Shadow Vol. 9 - "Foreshadowing The Batman" - Retrieved on January 13, 2008.
  22. ^ Secret Origins of Batman (Part 2 of 3) - Retrieved on January 13, 2008.
  23. ^ Steranko, James (1972). The Steranko History of Comics. Crown Publishing Group. 
  24. ^ a b Daniels, Les (1999). Batman: The Complete History. Chronicle Books. pp. 25. ISBN 0-8118-4232-0. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Shadow is a fictional character created by Walter B. Gibson, one of the most famous of the pulp heroes of the 1930s and 1940s. Born "Kent Allard" he assumed various identities for his crime fighting work, most notably that of "Lamont Cranston."

Sourced

  • Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows...
    • Introductory words to the broadcast radio episodes of The Shadow.
  • I saved your life, Roy Tam. It now belongs to me.
  • The weed of crime bears bitter fruit.
    • The Shadow (1994)

Unsourced

  • Crime does not pay!

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

The Shadow
by Hans Christian Andersen
Translated by H. P. Paull (1872).

In very hot climates, where the heat of the sun has great power, people are usually as brown as mahogany; and in the hottest countries they are negroes, with black skins. A learned man once travelled into one of these warm climates, from the cold regions of the north, and thought he would roam about as he did at home; but he soon had to change his opinion. He found that, like all sensible people, he must remain in the house during the whole day, with every window and door closed, so that it looked as if all in the house were asleep or absent. The houses of the narrow street in which he lived were so lofty that the sun shone upon them from morning till evening, and it became quite unbearable. This learned man from the cold regions was young as well as clever; but it seemed to him as if he were sitting in an oven, and he became quite exhausted and weak, and grew so thin that his shadow shrivelled up, and became much smaller than it had been at home. The sun took away even what was left of it, and he saw nothing of it till the evening, after sunset. It was really a pleasure, as soon as the lights were brought into the room, to see the shadow stretch itself against the wall, even to the ceiling, so tall was it; and it really wanted a good stretch to recover its strength. The learned man would sometimes go out into the balcony to stretch himself also; and as soon as the stars came forth in the clear, beautiful sky, he felt revived. People at this hour began to make their appearance in all the balconies in the street; for in warm climates every window has a balcony, in which they can breathe the fresh evening air, which is very necessary, even to those who are used to a heat that makes them as brown as mahogany; so that the street presented a very lively appearance. Here were shoemakers, and tailors, and all sorts of people sitting. In the street beneath, they brought out tables and chairs, lighted candles by hundreds, talked and sang, and were very merry. There were people walking, carriages driving, and mules trotting along, with their bells on the harness, "tingle, tingle," as they went. Then the dead were carried to the grave with the sound of solemn music, and the tolling of the church bells. It was indeed a scene of varied life in the street. One house only, which was just opposite to the one in which the foreign learned man lived, formed a contrast to all this, for it was quite still; and yet somebody dwelt there, for flowers stood in the balcony, blooming beautifully in the hot sun; and this could not have been unless they had been watered carefully. Therefore some one must be in the house to do this. The doors leading to the balcony were half opened in the evening; and although in the front room all was dark, music could be heard from the interior of the house. The foreign learned man considered this music very delightful; but perhaps he fancied it; for everything in these warm countries pleased him, excepting the heat of the sun. The foreign landlord said he did not know who had taken the opposite house—nobody was to be seen there; and as to the music, he thought it seemed very tedious, to him most uncommonly so.

"It is just as if some one was practising a piece that he could not manage; it is always the same piece. He thinks, I suppose, that he will be able to manage it at last; but I do not think so, however long he may play it."

Once the foreigner woke in the night. He slept with the door open which led to the balcony; the wind had raised the curtain before it, and there appeared a wonderful brightness over all in the balcony of the opposite house. The flowers seemed like flames of the most gorgeous colors, and among the flowers stood a beautiful slender maiden. It was to him as if light streamed from her, and dazzled his eyes; but then he had only just opened them, as he awoke from his sleep. With one spring he was out of bed, and crept softly behind the curtain. But she was gone—the brightness had disappeared; the flowers no longer appeared like flames, although still as beautiful as ever. The door stood ajar, and from an inner room sounded music so sweet and so lovely, that it produced the most enchanting thoughts, and acted on the senses with magic power. Who could live there? Where was the real entrance? for, both in the street and in the lane at the side, the whole ground floor was a continuation of shops; and people could not always be passing through them.

One evening the foreigner sat in the balcony. A light was burning in his own room, just behind him. It was quite natural, therefore, that his shadow should fall on the wall of the opposite house; so that, as he sat amongst the flowers on his balcony, when he moved, his shadow moved also.

"I think my shadow is the only living thing to be seen opposite," said the learned man; "see how pleasantly it sits among the flowers. The door is only ajar; the shadow ought to be clever enough to step in and look about him, and then to come back and tell me what he has seen. You could make yourself useful in this way," said he, jokingly; "be so good as to step in now, will you?" and then he nodded to the shadow, and the shadow nodded in return. "Now go, but don’t stay away altogether."

Then the foreigner stood up, and the shadow on the opposite balcony stood up also; the foreigner turned round, the shadow turned; and if any one had observed, they might have seen it go straight into the half-opened door of the opposite balcony, as the learned man re-entered his own room, and let the curtain fall. The next morning he went out to take his coffee and read the newspapers.

"How is this?" he exclaimed, as he stood in the sunshine. "I have lost my shadow. So it really did go away yesterday evening, and it has not returned. This is very annoying."

And it certainly did vex him, not so much because the shadow was gone, but because he knew there was a story of a man without a shadow. All the people at home, in his country, knew this story; and when he returned, and related his own adventures, they would say it was only an imitation; and he had no desire for such things to be said of him. So he decided not to speak of it at all, which was a very sensible determination.

In the evening he went out again on his balcony, taking care to place the light behind him; for he knew that a shadow always wants his master for a screen; but he could not entice him out. He made himself little, and he made himself tall; but there was no shadow, and no shadow came. He said, “Hem, a-hem;” but it was all useless. That was very vexatious; but in warm countries everything grows very quickly; and, after a week had passed, he saw, to his great joy, that a new shadow was growing from his feet, when he walked in the sunshine; so that the root must have remained. After three weeks, he had quite a respectable shadow, which, during his return journey to northern lands, continued to grow, and became at last so large that he might very well have spared half of it. When this learned man arrived at home, he wrote books about the true, the good, and the beautiful, which are to be found in this world; and so days and years passed—many, many years.

One evening, as he sat in his study, a very gentle tap was heard at the door. "Come in," said he; but no one came. He opened the door, and there stood before him a man so remarkably thin that he felt seriously troubled at his appearance. He was, however, very well dressed, and looked like a gentleman. "To whom have I the honor of speaking?" said he.

"Ah, I hoped you would recognize me," said the elegant stranger; "I have gained so much that I have a body of flesh, and clothes to wear. You never expected to see me in such a condition. Do you not recognize your old shadow? Ah, you never expected that I should return to you again. All has been prosperous with me since I was with you last; I have become rich in every way, and, were I inclined to purchase my freedom from service, I could easily do so." And as he spoke he rattled between his fingers a number of costly trinkets which hung to a thick gold watch-chain he wore round his neck. Diamond rings sparkled on his fingers, and it was all real.

"I cannot recover from my astonishment," said the learned man. "What does all this mean?"

"Something rather unusual," said the shadow; "but you are yourself an uncommon man, and you know very well that I have followed in your footsteps ever since your childhood. As soon as you found that I have travelled enough to be trusted alone, I went my own way, and I am now in the most brilliant circumstances. But I felt a kind of longing to see you once more before you die, and I wanted to see this place again, for there is always a clinging to the land of one’s birth. I know that you have now another shadow; do I owe you anything? If so, have the goodness to say what it is."

"No! Is it really you?" said the learned man. "Well, this is most remarkable; I never supposed it possible that a man’s old shadow could become a human being."

"Just tell me what I owe you," said the shadow, "for I do not like to be in debt to any man."

"How can you talk in that manner?" said the learned man. "What question of debt can there be between us? You are as free as any one. I rejoice exceedingly to hear of your good fortune. Sit down, old friend, and tell me a little of how it happened, and what you saw in the house opposite to me while we were in those hot climates."

"Yes, I will tell you all about it," said the shadow, sitting down; "but then you must promise me never to tell in this city, wherever you may meet me, that I have been your shadow. I am thinking of being married, for I have more than sufficient to support a family."

"Make yourself quite easy," said the learned man; "I will tell no one who you really are. Here is my hand,—I promise, and a word is sufficient between man and man."

"Between man and a shadow," said the shadow; for he could not help saying so.

It was really most remarkable how very much he had become a man in appearance. He was dressed in a suit of the very finest black cloth, polished boots, and an opera crush hat, which could be folded together so that nothing could be seen but the crown and the rim, besides the trinkets, the gold chain, and the diamond rings already spoken of. The shadow was, in fact, very well dressed, and this made a man of him. "Now I will relate to you what you wish to know," said the shadow, placing his foot with the polished leather boot as firmly as possible on the arm of the new shadow of the learned man, which lay at his feet like a poodle dog. This was done, it might be from pride, or perhaps that the new shadow might cling to him, but the prostrate shadow remained quite quiet and at rest, in order that it might listen, for it wanted to know how a shadow could be sent away by its master, and become a man itself. "Do you know," said the shadow, "that in the house opposite to you lived the most glorious creature in the world? It was poetry. I remained there three weeks, and it was more like three thousand years, for I read all that has ever been written in poetry or prose; and I may say, in truth, that I saw and learnt everything."

"Poetry!" exclaimed the learned man. "Yes, she lives as a hermit in great cities. Poetry! Well, I saw her once for a very short moment, while sleep weighed down my eyelids. She flashed upon me from the balcony like the radiant aurora borealis, surrounded with flowers like flames of fire. Tell me, you were on the balcony that evening; you went through the door, and what did you see?"

"I found myself in an ante-room," said the shadow. "You still sat opposite to me, looking into the room. There was no light, or at least it seemed in partial darkness, for the door of a whole suite of rooms stood open, and they were brilliantly lighted. The blaze of light would have killed me, had I approached too near the maiden myself, but I was cautious, and took time, which is what every one ought to do."

"And what didst thou see?" asked the learned man.

"I saw everything, as you shall hear. But—it really is not pride on my part, as a free man and possessing the knowledge that I do, besides my position, not to speak of my wealth—I wish you would say you to me instead of thou."

"I beg your pardon," said the learned man; "it is an old habit, which it is difficult to break. You are quite right; I will try to think of it. But now tell me everything that you saw."

"Everything," said the shadow; "for I saw and know everything."

"What was the appearance of the inner rooms?" asked the scholar. "Was it there like a cool grove, or like a holy temple? Were the chambers like a starry sky seen from the top of a high mountain?"

"It was all that you describe," said the shadow; "but I did not go quite in—I remained in the twilight of the ante-room—but I was in a very good position,—I could see and hear all that was going on in the court of poetry.”"

"But what did you see? Did the gods of ancient times pass through the rooms? Did old heroes fight their battles over again? Were there lovely children at play, who related their dreams?"

"I tell you I have been there, and therefore you may be sure that I saw everything that was to be seen. If you had gone there, you would not have remained a human being, whereas I became one; and at the same moment I became aware of my inner being, my inborn affinity to the nature of poetry. It is true I did not think much about it while I was with you, but you will remember that I was always much larger at sunrise and sunset, and in the moonlight even more visible than yourself, but I did not then understand my inner existence. In the ante-room it was revealed to me. I became a man; I came out in full maturity. But you had left the warm countries. As a man, I felt ashamed to go about without boots or clothes, and that exterior finish by which man is known. So I went my own way; I can tell you, for you will not put it in a book. I hid myself under the cloak of a cake woman, but she little thought who she concealed. It was not till evening that I ventured out. I ran about the streets in the moonlight. I drew myself up to my full height upon the walls, which tickled my back very pleasantly. I ran here and there, looked through the highest windows into the rooms, and over the roofs. I looked in, and saw what nobody else could see, or indeed ought to see; in fact, it is a bad world, and I would not care to be a man, but that men are of some importance. I saw the most miserable things going on between husbands and wives, parents and children,—sweet, incomparable children. I have seen what no human being has the power of knowing, although they would all be very glad to know—the evil conduct of their neighbors. Had I written a newspaper, how eagerly it would have been read! Instead of which, I wrote directly to the persons themselves, and great alarm arose in all the town I visited. They had so much fear of me, and yet how dearly they loved me. The professor made me a professor. The tailor gave me new clothes; I am well provided for in that way. The overseer of the mint struck coins for me. The women declared that I was handsome, and so I became the man you now see me. And now I must say adieu. Here is my card. I live on the sunny side of the street, and always stay at home in rainy weather." And the shadow departed.

"This is all very remarkable," said the learned man.

Years passed, days and years went by, and the shadow came again. "How are you going on now?" he asked.

"Ah!" said the learned man; "I am writing about the true, the beautiful, and the good; but no one cares to hear anything about it. I am quite in despair, for I take it to heart very much."

"That is what I never do," said the shadow; "I am growing quite fat and stout, which every one ought to be. You do not understand the world; you will make yourself ill about it; you ought to travel; I am going on a journey in the summer, will you go with me? I should like a travelling companion; will you travel with me as my shadow? It would give me great pleasure, and I will pay all expenses."

"Are you going to travel far?" asked the learned man.

"That is a matter of opinion," replied the shadow. "At all events, a journey will do you good, and if you will be my shadow, then all your journey shall be paid."

"It appears to me very absurd," said the learned man.

"But it is the way of the world," replied the shadow, "and always will be." Then he went away.

Everything went wrong with the learned man. Sorrow and trouble pursued him, and what he said about the good, the beautiful, and the true, was of as much value to most people as a nutmeg would be to a cow. At length he fell ill. "You really look like a shadow," people said to him, and then a cold shudder would pass over him, for he had his own thoughts on the subject.

"You really ought to go to some watering-place," said the shadow on his next visit. "There is no other chance for you. I will take you with me, for the sake of old acquaintance. I will pay the expenses of your journey, and you shall write a description of it to amuse us by the way. I should like to go to a watering-place; my beard does not grow as it ought, which is from weakness, and I must have a beard. Now do be sensible and accept my proposal; we shall travel as intimate friends."

And at last they started together. The shadow was master now, and the master became the shadow. They drove together, and rode and walked in company with each other, side by side, or one in front and the other behind, according to the position of the sun. The shadow always knew when to take the place of honor, but the learned man took no notice of it, for he had a good heart, and was exceedingly mild and friendly.

One day the master said to the shadow, "We have grown up together from our childhood, and now that we have become travelling companions, shall we not drink to our good fellowship, and say thee and thou to each other?"

"What you say is very straightforward and kindly meant," said the shadow, who was now really master. "I will be equally kind and straightforward. You are a learned man, and know how wonderful human nature is. There are some men who cannot endure the smell of brown paper; it makes them ill. Others will feel a shuddering sensation to their very marrow, if a nail is scratched on a pane of glass. I myself have a similar kind of feeling when I hear any one say thou to me. I feel crushed by it, as I used to feel in my former position with you. You will perceive that this is a matter of feeling, not pride. I cannot allow you to say thou to me; I will gladly say it to you, and therefore your wish will be half fulfilled." Then the shadow addressed his former master as thou.

"It is going rather too far," said the latter, "that I am to say you when I speak to him, and he is to say thou to me." However, he was obliged to submit.

They arrived at length at the baths, where there were many strangers, and among them a beautiful princess, whose real disease consisted in being too sharp-sighted, which made every one very uneasy. She saw at once that the new comer was very different to every one else. "They say he is here to make his beard grow," she thought; "but I know the real cause, he is unable to cast a shadow." Then she became very curious on the matter, and one day, while on the promenade, she entered into conversation with the strange gentleman. Being a princess, she was not obliged to stand upon much ceremony, so she said to him without hesitation, "Your illness consists in not being able to cast a shadow."

"Your royal highness must be on the high road to recovery from your illness," said he. "I know your complaint arose from being too sharp-sighted, and in this case it has entirely failed. I happen to have a most unusual shadow. Have you not seen a person who is always at my side? Persons often give their servants finer cloth for their liveries than for their own clothes, and so I have dressed out my shadow like a man; nay, you may observe that I have even given him a shadow of his own; it is rather expensive, but I like to have things about me that are peculiar."

"How is this?" thought the princess; "am I really cured? This must be the best watering-place in existence. Water in our times has certainly wonderful power. But I will not leave this place yet, just as it begins to be amusing. This foreign prince—for he must be a prince—pleases me above all things. I only hope his beard won’t grow, or he will leave at once."

In the evening, the princess and the shadow danced together in the large assembly rooms. She was light, but he was lighter still; she had never seen such a dancer before. She told him from what country she had come, and found he knew it and had been there, but not while she was at home. He had looked into the windows of her father’s palace, both the upper and the lower windows; he had seen many things, and could therefore answer the princess, and make allusions which quite astonished her. She thought he must be the cleverest man in all the world, and felt the greatest respect for his knowledge. When she danced with him again she fell in love with him, which the shadow quickly discovered, for she had with her eyes looked him through and through. They danced once more, and she was nearly telling him, but she had some discretion; she thought of her country, her kingdom, and the number of people over whom she would one day have to rule. "He is a clever man," she thought to herself, "which is a good thing, and he dances admirably, which is also good. But has he well-grounded knowledge? that is an important question, and I must try him." Then she asked him a most difficult question, she herself could not have answered it, and the shadow made a most unaccountable grimace.

"You cannot answer that," said the princess.

"I learnt something about it in my childhood," he replied; "and believe that even my very shadow, standing over there by the door, could answer it."

"Your shadow," said the princess; "indeed that would be very remarkable."

"I do not say so positively," observed the shadow; "but I am inclined to believe that he can do so. He has followed me for so many years, and has heard so much from me, that I think it is very likely. But your royal highness must allow me to observe, that he is very proud of being considered a man, and to put him in a good humor, so that he may answer correctly, he must be treated as a man."

"I shall be very pleased to do so," said the princess. So she walked up to the learned man, who stood in the doorway, and spoke to him of the sun, and the moon, of the green forests, and of people near home and far off; and the learned man conversed with her pleasantly and sensibly.

"What a wonderful man he must be, to have such a clever shadow!" thought she. "If I were to choose him it would be a real blessing to my country and my subjects, and I will do it." So the princess and the shadow were soon engaged to each other, but no one was to be told a word about it, till she returned to her kingdom.

"No one shall know," said the shadow; "not even my own shadow;" and he had very particular reasons for saying so.

After a time, the princess returned to the land over which she reigned, and the shadow accompanied her.

"Listen my friend," said the shadow to the learned man; "now that I am as fortunate and as powerful as any man can be, I will do something unusually good for you. You shall live in my palace, drive with me in the royal carriage, and have a hundred thousand dollars a year; but you must allow every one to call you a shadow, and never venture to say that you have been a man. And once a year, when I sit in my balcony in the sunshine, you must lie at my feet as becomes a shadow to do; for I must tell you I am going to marry the princess, and our wedding will take place this evening."

"Now, really, this is too ridiculous," said the learned man. "I cannot, and will not, submit to such folly. It would be cheating the whole country, and the princess also. I will disclose everything, and say that I am the man, and that you are only a shadow dressed up in men’s clothes."

"No one would believe you," said the shadow; "be reasonable, now, or I will call the guards."

"I will go straight to the princess," said the learned man.

"But I shall be there first," replied the shadow, "and you will be sent to prison." And so it turned out, for the guards readily obeyed him, as they knew he was going to marry the king’s daughter.

"You tremble," said the princess, when the shadow appeared before her. "Has anything happened? You must not be ill to-day, for this evening our wedding will take place."

"I have gone through the most terrible affair that could possibly happen," said the shadow; "only imagine, my shadow has gone mad; I suppose such a poor, shallow brain, could not bear much; he fancies that he has become a real man, and that I am his shadow."

"How very terrible," cried the princess; "is he locked up?"

"Oh yes, certainly; for I fear he will never recover."

"Poor shadow!" said the princess; "it is very unfortunate for him; it would really be a good deed to free him from his frail existence; and, indeed, when I think how often people take the part of the lower class against the higher, in these days, it would be policy to put him out of the way quietly.”"

"It is certainly rather hard upon him, for he was a faithful servant," said the shadow; and he pretended to sigh.

"Yours is a noble character," said the princess, and bowed herself before him.

In the evening the whole town was illuminated, and cannons fired "boom," and the soldiers presented arms. It was indeed a grand wedding. The princess and the shadow stepped out on the balcony to show themselves, and to receive one cheer more. But the learned man heard nothing of all these festivities, for he had already been executed.

This translation is hosted with different licensing information than from the original text. The translation status applies to this edition.
Original:
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Translation:
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