The Shadow Wiki

The Shadow narrated his first radio show on July 31, 1930.

On July 31, 1930, the radio show, "The Detective Story Magazine Hour," began its weekly program of dramatizing a story from the current issue of Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine.

Harry E. Chariot, a writer for the Judson Radio Program Corporation, created "The Shadow" as a radio narrator during the development of the mystery program. He and William Sweets adapted selected stories from the pages of the weekly mystery magazine which would be acted on the air. The Shadow's first radio narration was an adaption from a Herman Landon story. Interesting enough, The Shadow's first movie short, Burglar to the Rescue, was also written by Herman Landon.

The first person to voice "The Shadow" was James La Curto, but he was replaced by actor Frank Readick Jr. by October of 1930. Readrick's sinister voice introduced the program stating, " The Shadow! Conscience is a taskmaster no crook can escape. It is a jeering shadow even in the blackest lives. The Shadow knows... and you too shall know if you listen as Street & Smith's Detective Story Magazine relates for you the story of..." The program would then end with a chilling laugh and with that, The Shadow was born and became an immediate hit with the listening audience. Though, it was canceled after 52 episodes, the character continued on with his own magazine.

Other attempts of a Shadow program were aired with Readick narrating "Blue Coal Mystery Revue" and later a CBS radio series proclaiming "crime does not pay," however, they too were dropped from the airwaves.

On September 26, 1937, Street & Smith gave The Shadow a central role, and a long-time radio residence, on the Mutual Broadcasting System network. The first show, starring Orson Welles, was titled "Death House Rescue." The last radio program had Bret Morrison portraying the mysterious sleuth. It was titled "Murder by the Sea," and aired on December 26, 1954.

Next "Shadow" radio series: Blue Coal Radio Revue (1931-1932, CBS)

The Detective Story Magazine Hour episodes (no audio files):[]

Season 1: (1930 — 1931)

  • Episode 1: The Serpent Stings — July 31, 1930 (original story by Herman Landon)
  • Episode 2: Three Minutes to Go — August 7, 1930 (original story by Bryan Irvine)
  • Episode 3: Money on Demand — August 14, 1930 (original story by Roy W. Hinds)
  • Episode 18: Sinister Shadow — November 27, 1930 (original story by Donald Van Riper)
  • Episode 20: A Scheduled Job — December 11, 1930 (original story by Ray Humphrey)
  • Episode 52: Fugitives Retreat — July 30, 1931 (original story by H. M. Titus)