The Shadow Monthly Poll
Should Margo and The Shadow have a relationship (i.e. does The Shadow really need a love interest)? Why?
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me! Don't forget to read the rules,
I think it depends on the medium. In the pulps and the comics, The Shadow
is such a man of mystery that he doesn't really
seem to be human. So Margo would probably find
Harry a much more warm and satisfying companion. (Although, in "The Shadow
Strikes" comic, The Shadow expressed strong dislike
about his agents associating outside of their jobs for him.) But on the
radio and in any film version, I think there needs to be a
romantic angle between Lamont and Margo. Especially in the movies,
where they have suggested that Cranston IS
the Shadow, and he's not Kent Allard (as in the pulps.) I do think that
they should have a relationship, yes.
I really don't know if they as characters needed a relationship, but the
series, both pulp and radio, did need that type of relationship. As has
been said somewhere, if The Shadow on radio had had a male
assistant, Harry Vincent or whoever, it might have been confusing
to the audience to have the two male voices. By making one of the characters
a woman, it gave that diversity of voices and
allowed the radio writers to construct a series of stories that listeners
could have more interest in.
On the radio, Lamont and Margo were danger magnets.
They couldn't go anywhere, do anything, without something strange, weird,
or eerie happening. To put a woman in peril
was considered more exciting, and the writers
knew that putting Margo in those type of situations would make the listeners
come back again and again, and, perhaps more importantly, buy
the sponser's product. (That said, having recently listened to 100
Shadow radio shows in the space of three weeks, there certainly was a formula
readily evident when hearing some many shows at one time. At weekly intervals,
it's not so obviously, but hearing four of five shows in a row, the
formula is obvious) .
Turning to the pulps, and seeming to draw far afield, but hopefully bringing
all the threads of the tapestry together: The Shadow started out as the
mysterious crime fighter who had his agents
who did their tasks and allowed his intricate plans against criminals to
succeed in foiling the crimes of the crooks. The only relationship that
The Shadow had with his agents was as one of leader
ordering his followers to do their tasks. When did an agent of The
Shadow ever question his master's orders? Never, that I can recall. Maybe
they couldn't carry out The Shadow's orders because of circumstances(being
captured by the crooks), but they never questioned
The pulp series started out with The Shadow fighting crooks
and criminal gangs, but soon moved into what I would call "white
collar crime" where the criminal masterminds were not low-lifes and
thugs, but cultured people, people of character who found that they could
commit a crime and get away with it and never be suspected because of their
position in society. Walter Gibson's evolution of the series had The Shadow
and his agents come into contact with more members of society than just
crooks. Gibson needed a female character and had it in Myra
I am sure that Gibson would have liked to use Myra Reldon more
than Margo Lane, but he had to go with the more well-known character.
And being an undercover agent, Myra was used to being in criminal dives
as well as elegant ballrooms, so she could have fit
in both places, while I think that Margo, in a sense, was more restricted
in where she roamed, as she was more of a society
girl, and seemed more at ease in those type of situations.
But radio listeners who picked up the magazine wondered where Margo was.
Probably more people listened to The Shadow
than bought the magazine.
I think Gibson had to concede to market forces
and introduce Margo to the pulps (as indeed he did) Having said all that,
I think the relationship of Margo and Allard/Cranston/The Shadow in the
pulps was not quite the relationship in the
radio series. Yes, Cranston was a wealthy man about town and Margo Lane
was, at times, his constant companion. But
the radio plays didn't have the complex storylines
that the pulps had and didn't need the shorthand relationship
of Margo/The Shadow that the radio plays had.
I don't think Margo and The Shadow needed a relationship. I think the audiences,
both radio and pulp, needed the relationship to make the radio plays and
pulp novels more easily fit into their worldview.
If Margo was just an agent of The Shadow in the pulps, why
was she his constant companion on the radio shows? At that time maybe people
couldn't deal with two versions of a popular
character and just needed the reassurance that
what they heard in one medium was the same thing they could read in another