Epic Pulp Covers #30: Argosy All-Story Weekly (September 23, 1922)

Welcome to our blog series Epic Pulp Covers. Every Friday, we post one classic pulp magazine cover that, for one reason or another, catches our fancy. Why? Because we simply adore these old periodicals, inside and out. You’ll always find something of their spirit within the heart and soul of every EOWS production.

This week’s choice (courtesy of Mae)? Argosy All-Story Weekly from September 23, 1923.

Argosy (September 23, 1922).

  • Argosy was the first American pulp fiction magazine, existing in one form or another between 1882 and 1978. Although it started as a children’s publication, by the end of the 19th century it had shifted to pulp fiction.
  • Hulbert Footner has to be one of the most memorable writer names ever.
  • The story A New Girl in Town was adapted for the silver screen under the name The Dangerous BlondeIt hit cinemas in 1924, starring Laura La Plante, Edward Hearn, and Arthur Hoyt.

Come back next Friday for another episode of Epic Pulp Covers!

[Major Hap Hazard’s Atomic-Powered Transceiver of Time on a Moon!] The Shadow

Death Stalks the Shadow
Air Date:  9 October 1938

 

This month, we’re doing something a little different here on the inter-continuum moon base. While we sometimes might go into a bit of a classic radio show’s history and then leave you, fellow adventurers, to enjoy the temporal specimen we’ve un-timed, we have found that the history of the Shadow is just too dense to pass up. So, as always, we’ll present the show below for you to enjoy, but then, after that, below the below, is a brief summary of historical info we were able to dig up on the dark avenger. 

 

In this week’s adventure, Death Stalks the Shadow. Death’s gonna need backup. This episode features Bill Johnstone as the Shadow and Agnes Moorehead as Margo Lane. Many thanks to Radio Shows Old Time for the ep!

 

So, let’s talk about Kent Allard.

As we wrote before, the Shadow didn’t have what one would call your average creative history. He was conceived as a means of spicing up a detective radio show, but became so popular amongst listeners that he was eventually made into the show’s focus. The horse ate the cart, as it were. He was, in a way, much like Erin Esurance, a character meant for promotion that ended up having a story of their own, except that both the Shadow’s popularity and conception make sense. Erin Esurance, yah … nah. Not so much.

erin_esurance

Erin Esurance. Yeah, don’t, uh … don’t look her up. Trust me.

 

 

 

Realizing that they had an unexpected hit on their hands with the cackling crimefighter, publishers Street and Smith gave the public what it wanted in 1939 with the first issue of The Shadow magazine. Walter Gibson, writing under the pseudonym Max Grant, would pen 282 stories over the next 20 years, starting with “The Living Shadow,” published April 1, 1931.

lf

 

Now, it may be that we’re having some trouble here adjusting and tuning our chron-o-meters (really need to clean the nacho crumbs out of them), but we’ve been stumbling across a kind of chicken vs. egg conundrum here at the moon base: There seems to be some confusion as to which debuted first, the Shadow as a radio hero or pulp hero. By that, we mean, was the Shadow a fully-functioning crime fighter pulp hero adapted to radio, or a radio hero adapted to the pulps? The confusion may just be on our part, but it does explain, somewhat, the differences between Kent Allard and Lamont Cranston.

Gibson’s output was insane: A deal that first saw him writing four noveles a year eventually saw him writing two novel-length stories of the “Knight of Darkness” (real, no-kiddin’!) – per month. Talented guy (again, no kddin’; Gibson was also a journalist and a musician)!

Now, it may be that we’re having some trouble here adjusting and tuning our chron-o-meters (really need to clean the nacho crumbs out of them), but we’ve been stumbling across a kind of chicken vs. egg conundrum here at the moon base: There seems to be some confusion as to which debuted first, the Shadow as a radio hero or pulp hero. By that, we mean, was the Shadow a fully-functioning crime fighter pulp hero adapted to radio, or a radio hero adapted to the pulps? The confusion may just be on our part, but it does explain, somewhat, the differences between Kent Allard and Lamont Cranston.

The Shadow novels held that Allard, and not Cranston, was the true identity of the hero in the slouch hat. Allard was a world-famous aviator (much like Charles Lindbergh) who had been thought to have died in a plane crash in South America. Taking advantage of this, Allard returned to the United States and established himself as a crime fighter. To this end, he created an elaborate secret circle of agents to keep him informed of what the bad guys were up to. While Lamont Cranston would sometimes allow the villains to unintentionally destroy themselves during his confrontations with them, Allard was not as patient, and would often settle things with his twin automatics. Perhaps the moral codes ruling over radio were a bit more lax when it came to books. After all, where the show would routinely feature Cranston (as the Shadow) making copious exhortations to follow the path of rectitude, in the pulps, Allard had decided to just pistol-whip his enemies because bullets cost money, but fatal concussions were free. Dude knew the value of a dollar!

420215

Pictured: The Shadow, feeling generous. Pic was found on the t-shirt factory blog.

 

Another difference is in the powers of the two characters. Specifically, Cranston had them, and Allard did not. Cranston could use mental abilities to “cloud men’s minds,” whereas Allard’s abilities were entirely human in nature. He could hide in the shadows, but that’s it. Differences aside, both versions of the character proved extremely popular, and would go on to thrill audiences for decades. Probably no other fictional character in history ever proved as successful when it came to variations on a theme than the Shadow. 

 

[Major Hap Hazard’s Atomic-Powered Transceiver of Time on a Moon!] The Shadow

Voice of the Trumpet
Air Date:  3 July, 1938
Writer unknown

A murdered sibling. A talking trumpet. Seances! The Shadow must investigate!

This month, we’re doing something a little different here on the inter-continuum moon base. While we sometimes might go into a bit of a classic radio show’s history and then leave you, fellow adventurers, to enjoy the temporal specimen we’ve un-timed, we have found that the history of the Shadow is just too dense to pass up. So, as always, we’ll present the show below for you to enjoy, but then, after that, below the below, is a brief summary of historical info we were able to dig up on the dark avenger. 

 

Thanks to The Shadow Wiki for info about air dates. Also, thanks to AntiqueRadios for the ep!

As a fictional character and media phenomenon, The Shadow has quite an interesting and varied history. Whereas most heroes are dreamed up by their authors to embody certain values or to head up a story, the scarfed avenger began life as practically a mascot. 

Detective Story Magazine – a magazine that featured detective stories – hit the stands in October of 1915. In 1930, publisher’s Street and Smith had adapted stories appearing in the anthology publication for their Detective Story Hour radio program. Wanting to give the series a distinctive voice, writer David Chrisman writer-director William Sweets conceived of a character that would narrate the stories, one with a dark and creepy voice. He needed a name, naturally, and while writer Harry Engman Charlot suggested “The Sleuth” and “The Inspector,” it seemed that “The Shadow” had a real ring to it. He might’ve had something there.

But, let’s be clear: The Shadow was not the hero of the series, or even a participant in the stories. Like the Cryptkeeper of Tales From the Crypt infamy, the Shadow merely intro’d and outro’d the series, he wasn’t featured in the narrative itself. Remember, this – all of it, the Shadow and the show – were a means of promoting Detective Story Magazine

Yeh-heh-heh, that, uh … that didn’t happen. In fact, when people heard the show, they were so enthralled by the Shadow’s chilling narration that, in fact, when they went looking for the magazine the Shadow was promoting, they naturally went asking for … The Shadow Magazine.

Which didn’t exist.

Yup. The tail had completely eaten the dog. 

Not letting a good thing get away, S&S hired author Walter B. Gibson to start writing Shadow stories. While Chrisman, Sweets, and Charlot may have created the character, Gibson laid the foundation of who the Shadow was and how he operated; specifically that he was a crimefighter that would defeat the bad guys through “clouding men’s minds” – mentally blocking their ability to see him, leaving only his shadow visible. 

Audiences would thrill to the adventures of wealthy man-about-town Lamont Cranston and his assistant, Margo Lane – but not all at once. There were a lot of changes in store for the Shadow from his very beginning (starting out as just the show’s announcer to its central character was just a start). One of those changes would be in the Shadow’s pulp adventures, which featured another alter-ego entirely, that of Kent Allard. While the show was famous for featuring Agnes Moorehead as Margo actor/director Orson Welles as the man in the vengeful hat, he was absolutely not the first actor to play the role, nor would he be the last before the end of the show’s run. 

 

 

 

 

[Major Hap Hazard’s Atomic-Powered Transceiver of Time on a Moon!] The Shadow

He Died At Twelve
Air Date:  10 July, 1938
Writer unknown

Trying to find a signal through the various nether-realms we scan for voices from the past, we heard laughter. But we didn’t find no comedy.

One of the founding shows of American radio drama, the adventures of The Shadow thrilled audiences for 17 years. Like the bronze-skinned Doc Savage, The Shadow was one of the grandads of the modern superhero. He was a dark crimefighter, perfectly happy to taunt the villains he sought after before dispatching them.

The plot of the show revolved around Lamont Cranston, who, much like Bruce Wayne, was a rich playboy who hid his identity behind that of the be-scarfed Shadow. Generally, for most of the show’s run, he was teamed up with socialite Margo/Margot Lane, his partner in sleuthing, who would look into the criminal activities of their target before the Shadow moved in to deal confront them. Cranston had learned the supernatural ability to “cloud men’s minds,” rendering himself invisible to the evildoer (and anyone else) even if he were standing directly in front of them. Pretty clever. Good luck aiming what you can’t see.

There’s way too much about the character and his various incarnations through media and the decades (nearly a century, now) to go on about here, so, throughout the month of March, we will bring you, dear adventurer, the inimitable Orson Welles, as he “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men …”

The Shadow.

Thanks to AntiqueRadios for todays episode, He Died At Twelve. Convicted murderer Nicholas Barratti died at the end of a hangman’s noose, but that doesn’t seem to have stopped him from pursuing his murderous hobby. The Shadow investigates this post-mortem killer in He Died At Twelve.

 

 

Epic Pulp Covers #29: Amazing Stories (January 1947)

Welcome to our blog series Epic Pulp Covers. Every Friday, we post one classic pulp magazine cover that, for one reason or another, catches our fancy. Why? Because we simply adore these old periodicals, inside and out. You’ll always find something of their spirit within the heart and soul of every EOWS production.

This week’s choice (courtesy of Mae)? Amazing Stories from January 1947.

Amazing Stories (January 1947).

  • I’d love to be pithy and witty here, but I literally have no idea what’s going on in this image. Is our heroine (villainess?) being caught in the act of doing something good or bad? Ah, sweet mystery of life!
  • As (almost) always with women on 1940s pulp covers, she looks like a movie star. Perfectly dressed and coiffed. Look at that manicure!
  • The cover story is by Richard S. Shaver, an odd duck if ever there was one. Look him up. You won’t be disappointed.

Come back next Friday for another episode of Epic Pulp Covers!