Saturday, December 16, 2017

Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas - Day 13: The Shadow's Gift of Murder (1947)

Few programs old Old Time Radio have as much recognition as the Mutual Network's The Shadow and their famous opening:
"Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men....the Shadow knows!" the holidays?  I guess evil never takes a holiday.  This is the second time I am featuring the Shadow in my series of Christmas on Old Time Radio.  I featured the program previously from 1939 called "The Stockings Were Hung."  This year, I return to the Shadow a few years later to showcase an episode with a gift that I hope none of you get.  If you have Sirius XM, you can listen to Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#148). Or you can see my previous OTR Christmas entries (or drop to the bottom of this message).

Frolicking on the Manistee Pier

Frolicking on the Manistee (Michigan) Pier - July 2010 - see what I did here???

The Shadow tells the story of Lamont Cranston, a 'man about town' who learned the powers of clouding men's minds while in Asia.  Lamont turns into The Shadow when he needs to solve a crime and correct wrongs done by others in the name of greed and evil.  The only one who knows that Lamont is also The Shadow is his companion, Margo Lane.  The Shadow was the creation of writer Walter B. Gibson in 1931 and was serialized in magazines and pulp novels in the 1930s.  It was adapted to radio early in the Golden Age of Radio and counted among those who voiced the lead character were Orson Welles, Bill Johnstone,  Bret Morrison, John Archer, and Steve Courtleigh.  It seems that the characters and plot lines from both pulp and radio helped change both formats as The Shadow remained a prominent element of popular culture into the 1950s.

On December 21st, 1947, The Shadow featured a program called A Gift of Murder and started Bret Morrison in the role of Lamont Cranston (and the Shadow - because that is how that works) with Grace Matthews as Margo Lane.  The story begins with family members acting very strange and interested about some recent news of their less than beloved Aunt Frances.  It is not that Florence is a bad person - hardly.  It is really that her nephews and nieces are quite awful.  So when their elderly aunt inherits a million dollars (which is a lot today - so it would be crazy lots back in 1947), everyone is posturing to make her last years, and maybe her last Christmas, very special.  Complicating matters is that she has a special friend who is invited also for the holidays - and that person has the ultimate "plus one" - The Shadow!  Hopefully your family events this year at the holidays are less...well...filled with murder.

A Gift of Murder (December 21, 1947)

The Shadow (Old Time Radio Links)
    Another 25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2017) & Other Links

    25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2016) 

    25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2015) & Other Links

    25 Days of Old Time Radio Christmas (from 2014)

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