Friday, June 15, 2018
Death to The Shadow!
A man bent on revenge accidentally learns the true identity of The Shadow and now he's offering to sell that information to gangdom! Will his nefarious plan fail? That's what we have to learn in The Shadow radio episode of "Death to The Shadow!" This episode originally aired on March 12, 1944.
The story begins with Professor Petro showing of his latest invention to Howard Crane. Crane leads us to believe he represents a group of wealthy investors who might want to purchase this invention. Professor Petro's invention is a television-like apparatus that enables him to see things by dialing in street addresses or coordinates. Wherever there is a tiny bit of light, he can look at that location and watch what is happening there on a small screen. Crane gives Professor Petro the address to one of his so-called business associates, Dan Gordon. Petro's invention allows them to look and listen in on Dan Gordon as he gives the combination of his safe to his personal secretary. In the safe they have just locked up half a million dollars!
Howard Crane seems to pick an address at random and Professor Petro adjusts the dials and they look in on gangster Finger Fenton. They see another man in the room but Finger doesn't see him! They listen in as The Shadow warns Finger Fenton that he must stay on the straight and narrow since he just got out of jail and so he doesn't end up in the electric chair like his brother, Killer Fenton. Crane and Petro are astonished that Finger can't see the other man in the room (The Shadow) and come to the conclusion that Fenton must be hypnotized! Crane recognizes Lamont Cranston, and hears him talk as The Shadow - now Crane knows the true identity of The Shadow!!!
Crane kills Professor Petro and steals his invention. He sets up a meeting with Finger Fenton and lays out his plan for profiting off of Petro's invention. He will give Fenton information on where to steal and rob, and they will split the profits. And, for a nice sum of money, Crane will tell Fenton who is The Shadow! Fenton wants to know so he can avenge the death of his brother who was sent to the chair by The Shadow. The felon Fenton agrees to the plan and the first job is to remove the half million dollars from Dan Gordon's safe as well as exact revenge on men that Crane wants to make pay for ruining him!
With Professor Petro's device, Crane eavesdrops on the police and stymies The Shadow's every move. Lamont Cranston laments to Margo Lane while visiting her apartment. Margo opines, "It's like they're able to watch everything you do!" Margo's comment jogs Lamont's memory - Professor Petro had talked with Lamont about his device before! Lamont then figures out he's probably being watched right then and there and so he sets a trap. He tells Margo that he will be going to an apartment at 10:30 that night to meet an informant with information on the crime wave. If he is being watched, he expects someone will show up at the apartment and The Shadow will be waiting!
At 10:30 The Shadow finds Lefty waiting for someone in the apartment. The Shadow unarms him and gets Lefty to rat out the plans. Meanwhile, Crane has sent henchman to pick up Margo Lane and bring her to him! After dealing with Lefty, Cranston returns to Margo's apartment to find a scuffle has taken place. Watching on the television device, Crane calls him and gives him specific instructions on where to go if he wants to see Margo Lane alive again! Crane watches the television device and sees Cranston obeying his orders!
Crane's plan is quickly foiled as The Shadow suddenly shows up and confronts him and Finger Fenton! The Shadow is able to smash the television device while Finger Fenton uses his machine gun to try and shoot The Shadow. Fenton sprays the room with bullets and ends up killing Crane, the man who knew The Shadow's true identity!
After the police mop up matters at Crane's, Lamont and Margo talk. Margo asks how Lamont could be seen on the television device and yet show up at Crane's as The Shadow. It turns out that Cranston had just enough time to contact Commissioner Weston and have a detective that strongly resembled him to act as a decoy - that's who Crane was watching! This allowed Cranston, as The Shadow, to rescue Margo and destroy the television device.
This was a great radio episode and even I was trying to figure out how Cranston could be watched and yet show up to rescue Margo. This is an action packed episode and I highly recommend you give it a listen!
In this radio episode, according to the radio logs I was able to find, The Shadow/Lamont Cranston was played by Brett Morrison and Margo Lane was played by Marjorie Anderson.