The Shadow Monthly Poll
Describe your favourite Shadow moment
Want to add your own opinion? Email me! Don't forget to read the rules, though.
Having just got home from work, and in to the first drink, it's time to
check the latest bulletin from the Sanctum [and the rest of my e-mail].
And there it was, from New York based Norton Records, top of the list of
news, was the official label obituary on the Great Link Wray. And like the
astute pop culture fans the staff at Norton are, they nod to Link's
fantastic rock 'n' roll tribute to the Shadow 'The Shadow Knows',
recorded for Swan records in February 1962 [re-issued on CD by Rhino records
"RUMBLE: The Best of Link Wray', along with more of the Link's tough, moody,
and raw instrumentals such as 'Jack The Ripper', 'Switchblade', and his
'66 Swan single, Neal Hefti's 'Batman Theme'. Link was luckier than most
of his graduating class of the first wave of fifties rockers, his career
spawn many guitar greats from Pete Townshend to Johnny Ramone and countless
in between, and never stopped recording or touring [ I saw him in Detroit
before I moved to San Francisco eight years ago, what a show!]. Chuck Berry,
Scotty More, James Burton, Link Wray..that's pretty much fifties rock 'n'
roll guitar. And Bo Diddley. A boost in interest came when Link's music
was featured in Pulp Fiction by Terrantino and on the Simpsons.
Those Shadow moments, for me, always comes from/in music [ I work in a record
store for crying out loud!]. The fabulous fifties
rockin' rhythm group the Coasters cut their own tune titled 'The Shadow
Knows', a hilarious taunt to cheaters and other no goodnicks! Dr.
John wowed me a couple of years ago in concert with his number 'Places
I Go [Only The Shadow Knows]'. A few years ago [ok, ten] there was
a single by a group called The Shadow Ring,
made me smile. One thing that didn't make me smile was this horrible blues
rock group called the Lamont Cranston band,
who I recall hearing late night on the radio once in high school twenty
five years ago! And to my dismay, they continue to record today! And they
have the nerve to include a Shadow-like character on their covers, boo!
And if you have wondered the origin of the radio shows theme, either the
brief organ intro or the full orchestral piece from the time of the Orson
Welles era of the program, 'Omphall's Spinning Wheel'
by the French composer Saint-Saens, author of the delightfully eerie
'Danse Marcabre'. And of course, there is the late, Great, Link Wray...rock
'n' roll forever, Link!
I think my favorite Shadow moment would be when my friend and I were walking
outside one winter day. It was a beautiful day, despite the freezing cold
and we both were slipping everywhere on the ice. Somewhere in our conversation
my friend turns to me and says "What a great day! Even the sun is shining!"
And without thinking about the movie reference I respond
" Yeah, but the ice is slippery!" Two seconds later I was laughing
my @$$ off. I didn't intentionally say the quote, and no one ever expects
that sentence to come up in a normal conversation. But it did, and she even
knew why I was laughing so hard.
Another Shadow moment, not related to the one above happened in the fall.
A group of friends and I were playing this game called
"Manhunt." Its rather like flashlight tag, execpt its played without
flashlights and in the woods. We go all out for this. Everyone
dresses in black from head to toe, and I go crazy wearing my black cloak
and hat. There are safe zones that the "hunted" must get to before
the "hunters" capture them, and I was being hunted. One side of the woods
was lit and my friend who was safe was watching the game from the other
non-lit side. All of a sudden I notice that I'm being chased so I dash off
at a million miles an hour, jumping dead tree logs, ducking branches etc.
all while wearing the cloak and hat. (Its hard to move in that thing without
training) My friend sees my silouette against the lit backround and later
told me it was like a phantom moving through the woods. He
complimented me on the very Shadow-esque running technique with the cloak
trailing behind me (and not getting caught on trees). On a side note
I was the only one who didnt get captured that time. Even the person with
night-vision couldn't spot me, and that was cheating. Now I understand how
the Chief does that blending in with darkness thing.
It was in the mid-1970’s, on my first visit to New
York City. The Big Apple was, to my mind, THE place for larger-than-life
fictional icons: Doc Savage, Nick Carter, Spider-Man, Mike Hammer, King
Kong, Nero Wolfe and...The Shadow. Upon arriving from the airport,
I was initially disappointed by how plastic and modern Manhattan looked
compared to the art deco and Post-War neon jungles I had enjoyed in so many
books, films and television programs, but a big surprise awaited me when
my two hungry traveling companions insisted on getting some dinner in Chinatown.
Night had fallen by the time we entered the subway and a short ten minutes
of travel had us at the underground station of our destination. As soon
as the doors of the subway car opened my nostrils were assailed by a wall
of cold air and fish stench, an unusual combination for a hick Midwesterner.
I was taken aback and wondered what lay upstairs at street level...it certainly
didn’t seem at all appetizing.
As I climbed the stairs the stench became less fearsome, but the cold air
revealed that fog had descended onto this part of town...thick fog in Chinatown.
What I saw as I emerged from the underground station was probably the most
bizarre sight I could have imagined, but I had seen it before...in my head...while
reading a Shadow novel: the street was black, wide and devoid of traffic,
looking almost deserted but for the dark figures that moved in the distance...half-seen
in the pea-soup mist. The fog that now cloaked the city was an almost blueish
density that one could almost swim through, but the lights of Chinatown,
the neons twisted into shaped of Chinese glyphs, dragons, lions, the lights
coming from the odd apartment window and the arcane street-lamps, the steam
rising from the sewer gratings...all this murk could not hide.
Yes, I knew this place.
Here was a tableau worthy of The Shadow, the
street was now fit for Shrevvy’s cab, the mist-laden warehouse was a lair
ideal for Shiwan Khan, Margo and Lamont could have Dim Sum at any number
of aged Chinese restaurants...it was a Pulp Landscape come to life. The
workaday modern metropolis was not only miles away, it was years ahead in
the future. We were in the past, in the very pages of a dark adventure.
It was all here...gunmen lurking in the alleys, knife-wielding Tongs moving
furtively across the rooftops, opium dens and forbidden oriental antique
shops plied their wares, damsels struggled at their bonds in hidden rooms
while stalwart heroes fought for survival in booby-trap ridden haunts...
and overall, a pair of eyes blazed in the darkness, a shape blending with
the inky darkness, stalking evil-doers at will. Anything was possible that
night in Chinatown...The Shadow knows.
Oh, and the food was great, too.
Though the many [Shadow moments] I've had over the years that I've come
to know The Shadow, there are only a few that would qualifiy as my favorite...
and they number three.
The first, of course would have to the summer of 1997, when I was introduced
to The Shadow. After a trying day at work, I went to rent a movie and found
the 1994 version. On a lark, I figured what the hell and rented it. At the
time, I thought the movie was great, though the character himself was more
attention grabbing. However, this particular 'Shadow moment' didn't happen
till the final minutes of the film. It was when the
uncropped movie logo began to fade to black, at the point where you could
only see the eyes. In that breathless, wordless awe, I knew Ihad
to know more about this man called The Shadow. That instant has turned into
an eight year obession.
The second, happened in summer 2002, me and a bunch of my college buddies
were role playing a Chaos campaign. It was this sensation that inspired
my fan fic 'Justice
Falls'... At the time, it wasn't my character who was exploring the
five buildings which replaced the Twin Towers, it was another's. His character
was a witness to a fight between Shiwan Khan and The Shadow. Nothing
could ever express my horror and amazment how well our game master [described]
this fight. However, unlike the one I recounted in 'Justice Falls'
The Shadow won and all I could think during the whole time was...I'm
never going to hear the end of it.
The third and final [Shadow moment], Iwould have to honestly say would be
my favorite. It was spring of 2004, I was driving back to my friend's place
I was currently staying at. It was around a curve and there just above the
overpass in the Wyoming sky in sunset revealed a much needed reminder. I
will try to the best of my ability to describe what I saw. It
was through the combination of clouds and light which The Shadow appeared.
Hat was drawn down, the scarf and cloak thrown back by some unfelt wind.
With a tommygun in hand he looked like he was truly and utterly enjoying
himself. I could only imagine that bone chilling laugh echoing softly into
the fading day. My only regret about this 'Shadow moment' is I do no have
a picture of the cloud formation, for it was the finest Shadow portrayal
I've ever seen.
The absolute greatest Shadow moment was when I discovered The Shadow. I
was about 4 years old, and it was the late '70's, during the revival of
radio shows on cassette. My grandmother purchased some and we all sat around
to listen. The first show up was The Shadow ("Death
From The Deep") and it freaked me out and scared me! The Shadow scared
me and intrigued me at the same time. I found it hard to believe as a child
that someone who looked so evil could be so heroic.
When I was about 12, I was lucky enough to be able to watch the 1994 Shadow
movie on tv. At that time, I had not clue who The Shadow was and how popular
he was at the time. I watched the movie in silent rapture until my mom came
up behind me and said, "Oh my goodness, they made
a movie out of him?" I had no idea who she was talking about; my
best guess was the main character. I said, "Who? Him?". That was the first
time my mom had ever stared at me with a blank look. She
called my dad over and they talked for about 20 minutes to me about how
they remembered how they listened to the radio as kids to The Shadow, considering
they were only old enough to remember the last of The Shadow radio shows
in the 50's. As I watched the movie, listening to both the echoing
voice of The Shadow and my parents, it clicked like a light switch. I was
hooked. Now every time I hear The Shadow mentioned, i jump into the conversation
with my personal experience and how much I love him. I found out later that
my friends had been listening to him for a long time on their podcasts and
on the radio late on Sunday nights. This experience had really launched
me into my obsession over The Shadow, and I wait in great anticipation for
the movie coming out in 2010.
Back in 1993, my grandmother had recently passed away. I can remember her
fondly, because for the first four years of my life, my mom and I lived
with her and my grandfather and she helped raise me. I can remember being
in the mall with my mom, who opted to sit out my detour into the movie store.
I was flipping through the "Coming Soon" movie posters, and not finding
anything interesting until I came across one that was all black with a steely-looking
outline of a man's face, partially hidden by his upturned collar, his penetrating
eyes seemed to glow off the paper. Along the bottom
was the phrase "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?" but no
movie title. I got a funny chill and knew this was something important.
I went out to where my mom was sitting outside the store and said the phrase
to her, asking her why it was so familar but yet I couldn't place it. She
said it was from an old radio show that my grandmother used to love to listen
to as a kid. I said "The Shadow?" and she simply smiled. Before this,
I had never heard of The Shadow and in fact, after watching the movie, I
had to read the pulps to know his true history. I have no idea how I knew
the phrase or where it was from, but if I like to feel I am carrying on
the family tradtion!