Friday, June 13, 2014

The Shadow Advertisements

“They wanted all I could possibly write about The Shadow. Then for fifteen years, using the pen name Maxwell Grant, I sat before the typewriter doing a million words a year, mostly on The Shadow and Cranston, the chief character. It got so I could smash out these stories with the regularity and rhythm of setting up exercises.”Walter Gibson, Writer Returns After 30 Years, in Utica Observer Dispatch, October 4, 1947

THE FIRST Shadow story, The Shadow of Wall Street, appeared in the February 1929 issue of Fame and Fortune, written by former dime novelist George C. Jenks, writing as Frank S. Lawton. Fame and Fortune was a casualty of the stock market crash. The Shadow of radio began as a voice used to promote Street & Smith’s new Detective Story Weekly. The Shadow’s sepulchral chuckle caught on with listeners and his background and his identity of Lamont Cranston were devised by Ruthrauff & Ryan, a Chrysler building ad agency.

[1] 1933

THE QUARTERLY (soon monthly) pulp series began with The Living Shadow in April-June 1931 and lasted until summer 1949. Walter Gibson (b.1897), a former reporter on a Philadelphia daily, writing as Maxwell Grant, churned out 287 novel-length stories in the first fifteen years. Maxwell Grant’s books were reprinted in the 1960s – in paperbacks from Belmont and Bantam – books which introduced The Shadow to a new generation of fans.

[2] 1933
[3] 1933
[4] 1933
[5] 1933
[6] 1933
[7] 1932
[8] 1947
[9] 1947


  1. I became aware of the Shadow during the radio nostalgia revival of the 1960s, so when the paperback reprints came out I read them. It puzzled me--it still puzzles me--how different the two versions were. Yet both survived independently for years. I wonder why there wasn't pressure from the top to "unify the brand." Today no one would dream of simultaneously having two different origins and two different secret identities for the same character. Or wasn't that sort of thing important to 1930s media corporations?

  2. Quem sabe do mal que se esconde no coração dos homens?
    O Sombra sabe!

    Quem se lembra????