The Shadow

shadow lg.jpg

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." Thus, "The Shadow" premiered over CBS airwaves on July 31, 1930, as the host of the Detective Story Hour, narrating "tales of mystery and suspense from the pages of the premier detective fiction magazine." The narrator was first voiced by James LaCurto, 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.

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.

Episode Number Episode Title Aired Datesort descending
87 Death House Rescue Sunday, September 26, 1937
100 The Voice Of Death Sunday, December 26, 1937
102 The League Of Terror Saturday, January 8, 1938
103 Sabotage Sunday, January 16, 1938
104 Society Of The Living Dead Sunday, January 23, 1938
124 Murder On Approval Wednesday, June 8, 1938
190 The Laughing Corpse Sunday, March 10, 1940
218 Murder Underground Sunday, March 9, 1941
259 The Lady In Black Sunday, November 22, 1942
447 Reflection Of Death Sunday, May 9, 1948

Category