On October 24, 1937 The Shadow radio program aired the story, "The Temple Bells of Neban." It was the fifth episode in the first season of the radio show. It is one of my favorite Shadow radio episodes. When you combine this episode with Death House Rescue, you get a more clear picture of how Lamont Cranston learned his powers as The Shadow!
The story begins with Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane on their way to the Club Khalif to enjoy an evening out. On their way, they discuss the opium problem that has been impacting the city and that The Shadow needs to get involved.
At the Club, they are entertained by an Indian dancer named Sadi Bel-Adda. She entertains the crowd with the Dance of the Cobra where she seems to mesmerize a live cobra on stage. Sadi Bel-Adda approaches Lamont and Margo's table, offering Margo a bracelet. Lamont and Saadi talk briefly yet cryptically - have they met before?
After the show, The Shadow pays a visit to Sadi Bel-Adda. Sadi warns The Shadow that she can command The Temple Bells of Neban, a powerful spell that will reveal The Shadow and disable him from clouding the minds of men!
Lamont speaks with Margo about his encounter with Saadi Bel-Adda, and Margo is worried. Lamont recounts where he first learned the power to cloud men's minds. He tells Margo, "Years ago in India, a yogi priest, keeper of the Temple of the Cobras at Delhi taught me the ancient mysteries. He taught me the mesmeric trick that the underworld calls invisibility. There was a small girl, his niece, that use to sit and listen...she was very clever..." Yes - Sadi Bel-Adda was the niece of the yogi priest that taught Lamont Cranston!
The radio show reaches it's climax when The Shadow confronts Sadi Bel-Adda. Sadi releases her cobra and begins to command The Temple Bells of Neban to destroy The Shadow's invisibilty. But unbeknownst to Sadi, The Shadow had switched her de-fanged cobra for one with fangs. The cobra bites Sadi Bel-Adda and she dies before she can command the Temple Bells of Neban.
This is only a brief summary of the show and I encourage you to give it a listen! I really enjoy this episode as it not only puts The Shadow up against a foe with equal powers, it also gives us insight into how Lamont Cranston learned the mesmeric trick to cloud men's minds!
The Temple of the Cobras mentioned in this radio show became a part of the 1994 The Shadow movie. It is in the beginning of the movie where Cranston is taken captive and brought to see the Tulku, the Tibetan holy man who trained him to use his "black shadow to fight evil."
The radio cast for this episode was:
- Lamont Cranston/The Shadow: Orson Welles
- Margo Lane: Agnes Moorehead
- Sadi Bel-Adda: Jeanette Nolan
- Commissioner Weston: Ray Collins