The Shadow Wiki
Death Stalks The Shadow (album).jpg
Death Stalks The Shadow
Radio information

Blue Coal

  • Script:
  • Bill Johnstone
  • Agnes Moorehead
Aired date

October 9, 1938

Running time

30 min

Preceded by

The Black Abbot (Radio Show)

Followed by

Night Without End (Radio Show)


Bearing bad news, attorney Peter Murdock visits his client at the Death House; Dan Malley, a teenager who was manipulated into a life of crime by Murdock, is about to go to the electric chair for a murder secretly planned by Murdock. Caught by the Shadow, Malley laments that despite Murdock's promises to get him off, he simply "threw me to the wolves" so that the Shadow wouldn't learn the truth about him. He warns Murdock that he can still squeal, but Murdock is convinced that his public Image is too good and that nobody will believe Malley. When he warns Murdock that the Shadow might listen to him, Murdock blows the idea off, and after reminding him that he will be a dead man before the night is over, he leaves in arrogant triumph. Malley then screams for the guard and demands to see Commissioner Weston.

Meanwhile, Lamont and Margot are at a fancy restaurant, but the Malley case is still weighing on Lamont's mind; he is certain that Malley was the trigger man, but for some reason he believes the case wasn't completely solved. Weston arrives at the restaurant, but declines an invitation to join them as he is looking for the Shadow; he mentions Malley is about to go to the electric chair, but he has vital information that he will only impart to the Shadow himself. After Weston leaves, Lamont realizes his hunch is right and, as the Shadow, visits Malley at the Death House.

With only a few minutes left before Malley's execution, the Shadow shows up outside his prison window, and to the Shadow's initial disbelief, Malley tells him everything he knows; Murdock is secretly a big-time crook, and that he is planning a deadly slum fire in less than a week that will net him a million in insurance money. Malley then tells him about numerous papers at Murdock's house that will put him away for good, and then tells about a character named Dopey Jake who lives by the wharves; Dopey Jake also knows about Murdock's slum fire plan. Promising justice, the Shadow leaves just as the warden and the guards arrive to take Malley to his doom.

Shortly afterward, one of the guards, Gus, who is secretly one of Murdock's men, goes to see Murdock and informs him of what he heard. As he was being led to the chair, Malley raved about Dopey Jake and the Shadow. Realizing that the Shadow got to Malley, an overconfident Murdock plans to set the Shadow on his trail and catch him in a trap, but first he sends Joe and Chick to kill Dopey Jake.

With Margot, Lamont goes to visit Dopey Jake at his dilapidated tenement apartment on the river, only to find that they are too late. Lamont finds Jake's body with the handle of a protruding knife pinning a note to his chest. The note reads:

"This is our pal, Dopey Jake. Get him to talk to you now, Shadow."

Lamont takes this as a challenge to the Shadow, and goes to pay Murdock a visit.

At Murdock's house, an electrician named Steve is installing a photoelectric ray inside a room that Murdock calls "the lion's cage". Steve explains that just inside the doorway there is a beam of infrared light between the tops of two chrome fixtures, and should anyone entering the room disturb the beam, the door (which carries a lethal charge of electricity) will automatically close and lock. Murdock had made other modifications to the room, including a steel panel on the wall covered by a screen. Once he is finished, Murdock has Chick kill Steve and hide his body in a large filing cabinet in the room, and then posts him at the door to let the Shadow in once he arrives, which he soon does. Once inside, he asks Chick where Murdock's filing cabinet is; Chick points him to the room, and the Shadow takes the bait, the infrared ray detects the Shadow's presence and the deadly door slams behind him.

While trapped, The Shadow decides to look in the filing cabinet, only to find Steve's body. Seeing his overalls and a pair of pliers in his pocket, the Shadow quickly deduces that he was the one who built the contraption for Murdock, who casually gloats over having captured the Shadow, who secretly uses his private wireless to call Margot and have her tell the police to surround Murdock's house. Murdock continues his gloating before he begins feeding poison gas through the panel in the wall. Doing some quick thinking, the Shadow unscrews the light bulb from the fixture in the room, and then, using Steve's pliers, escapes by blowing a fuse shutting down all of the power in the house and causing the door to release. Murdock is still determined to catch the Shadow, but when the police show up at his door, Bess, his moll, ignores Murdock's threats and starts to make a break for it when he shoots and kills her. The Shadow then wrests the gun out of Murdock's hand just as the police smash down the door, putting an end to Murdock's criminal reign.

Featured Characters:


  • Peter Murdock (a crooked lawyer and arrogant criminal; shoots and kills Bess)
  • Bess (Murdock's moll; shot dead by Murdock while trying to run away)
  • Dan Malley (repentant murderer, betrayed by Murdock; executed by electric chair)
  • Gus (guard at death house; thug and mole for Murdock)
  • Joe (Murdock henchman)
  • Chick (another of Murdock's henchmen; kills Dopey Jake and Steve)
  • "Dopey Jake" (no dialogue; associate of Murdock; stabbed to death by Murdock's thugs)

Other Characters:

Notes and References[]

  • The "photoelectric" infrared ray is first mentioned by Margot; while in the restaurant, she notices that a waiter has walked through a nearby door which opened without touching it. Lamont then comments on the ray's convenience, but also its potential danger, particularly to the Shadow.
  • This episode was released on "The Shadow: Two Complete Radio Adventures Vol. 1 album." The back cover of the LP dates the program "January 16, 1944." The 1944 show is actually, Death Stalks at Night.