The Shadow  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Shadow is a collection of serialized dramas, originally on 1930s radio and then in a wide variety of media, that follow the exploits of fictional vigilante The Shadow. One of the most famous pulp heroes of the 20th century, The Shadow has been featured in comic books, comic strips, television, video games, and at least seven motion pictures. The radio drama is well-remembered for those episodes voiced by Orson Welles.

Introduced as a mysterious radio narrator by David Chrisman, William Sweets, and Harry Engman Charlot for Street and Smith Publications, The Shadow was fully developed and transformed into a pop culture icon by legendary pulp writer Walter Gibson.

The Shadow debuted on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious narrator of the Street & Smith radio program Detective Story Hour. After gaining popularity among the show's listeners, the narrator became the star of The Shadow Magazine on April 1, 1931; a pulp series created and primarily written by the prolific Gibson.

As the years passed, the character evolved. On September 26, 1937, The Shadow radio drama officially premiered with the story "The Deathhouse Rescue" and imbued the character with "the power to cloud men's minds" — the ability to become completely invisible — a trait associated with the character for years after the show ended. Even after decades, the unmistakable introduction from The Shadow radio program, intoned by actor Frank Readick Jr., has earned a place in the American idiom: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh! The Shadow knows..." These words were accompanied by a haunting theme song, Le Rouet d'Omphale, composed by Saint-Saëns.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Shadow" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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