14 February 2005 | blackcurtain
The Original Shadow
Personally, being such a radio fan, I have come across some information that other reviewers do not seem to be aware of. First of all is the fact that the portrayal of the Shadow in this film predates, for the most part, the characterization of the Shadow in the radio series. There are a few differences between the original version of the Shadow and that of the radio show.
Originally, the Shadow was a mysterious host of a show called "The Street and Smith Dectective Story Hour." He had no character. However, the sponsor of the program eventually noticed that the host of the series was more famous than the series itself.
Thus, a series of "Shadow" novels came out. The Shadow, while lacking the ability to make himself invisible, managed to steal other people's identities. He would run around, pretending to be someone else, while not having an identity of his own.
Originally, the identity of Lamonte Cranston was just a stolen identity. Some time after the Shadow had been spun off into a comic book series of his own, Margo Lane met a man named Lamonte Cranston on a cruise. On the way back, the Shadow masqueraded as Lamonte Cranston and Margo Lane got the two confused.
This is more or less the version of the Shadow that the serial bases itself upon. The radio series started with a Shadow who had all kinds of abilities. However, the series gave the Shadow the power of invisibility and toned down all the other powers to the point that the radio version of the Shadow practically had no other abilities.
Needless to say, saying this version of the Shadow is disappointing just because it is not the Shadow of the radio series is not fair. The serial would have very likely been based on the Shadow of the pulp novels, comic books, etc, of the thirties. The radio series, which did not become popular until some time later, gave the Shadow his powers of invisibility and pretty much got rid of the rest of his abilities. This is something other reviewers do not appear to be aware of.