THE SHADOW 1940-02-04 RETURN OF CARNATION CHARLIE
The Shadow debuted on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious narrator of the radio program Detective Story Hour, later to become a pop culture icon, by writer Walter B. Gibson. The character has been cited as a major influence on the subsequent evolution of comic book superheroes, particularly Batman. The narrator was first voiced by James La Curto, 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." The series disappeared from the airwaves in 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. The first issue of The Shadow Magazine went on sale on April 1, 1931, a pulp series. Orson Welles also played the role of the Shadow, as Lamont Cranston, from 1937 to 1938. On September 26, 1937, premiered The Shadow radio drama, a new radio series based on the character as created by Gibson for the pulp magazine, featuring Orson Welles in the story "The Death House Rescue", in which The Shadow was characterized as having "the power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him". 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 total in two separate runs), John Archer, and Steven Courtleigh. The Shadow also inspired another radio hit, The Whistler, with a similarly mysterious narrator.
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