Today in Underground we are going to talk about an essential series of radio drama program that went on to influence the comic industry and the creation of Batman himself, and that is The Shadow.

The Shadow was first introduced on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious host of the Detective Story Hour radio program. With The Shadow being the voice of the show, people were asking for “That Shadow detective magazine,” and soon The Shadow Magazine #1 went on sale on April 1, 1931, as a pulp series which was written by Walter B. Gibson. With the popularity of The Shadow on the rise, it was time for him to have is own radio show and on September 26, 1937, was the first episode of the legendary Shadow radio drama program with his first radio story entitled “Death House Rescue.”

The Shadow radio series went on for 18 seasons from 1937-1954 with five actors doing the voice of The Shadow/Lamont Cranston and nine actresses voicing Margo Lane, and they were:

The Shadow/ Lamont Cranston

  1. Orson Welles 1937-1938
  2. William Johnstone 1938-1943
  3. Bret Morrison 1943-1944/1945-1954
  4. John Archer 1944-1945
  5. Steve Cortleigh 1945-1946

Margo Lane

  1. Agnes Moorehead 1937-1939
  2. Margot Stevenson 1938
  3. Marjorie Anderson 1939-1940/1943-1944
  4. Jeanette Nolan 1940-1943
  5. Judith Allen 1944-1945
  6. Laura Mae Carpenter 1945-1946
  7. Lesley Woods 1945-1946
  8. Grace Matthews 1946-1949
  9. Gertrude Warner 1949-1954

The Shadow radio drama series played a huge role with the creation of Batman and the Comic Book industry with the archetype of the superhero mythos of secret identity, double lifestyle and the anti-hero. So maybe this Halloween or perhaps a weekend look up The Shadow Radio Drama Program a listen, and who knows, you might be a fan of this unsung hero.