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Death House Rescue

Season 4
Sept 26, 1937

Major Characters:

  • The Shadow/Lamont Cranston
  • Paul Gordon: A down-on-his-luck man who desperately seeks a job to support his wife and sick baby.
  • Grace Gordon: Paul's wife
  • Red Sloan: A bank robber
  • Lefty: A bank robber and Red's partner

Featured Agents:

  • Margo Lane
  • Commissioner Weston (?)

Minor Characters:

  • Judge
  • Clerk
  • Warden
  • Police Officers
  • Prisoners in the Death House
  • Guards in the Death House
  • Proprietor of a bar
  • Sally Gordon: Paul's and Grace's infant daughter

Synopsis (Warning! Contains spoilers):

Note: In The Shadow Scrapbook, there is a script for this story written by Edward Hale Bierstadt (with some recent additions by Walter B. Gibson, due to the loss of pages from the original script). In that version, Harry Vincent was featured instead of Margo Lane. This synopsis is based on the final version of the script, which had a few changes.

The listeners are introduced to Lamont and Margo in the library of Lamont's mansion. Lamont offers Margo a seat and some coffee to be brought to them. He notices that she is frowning. Margo is worried; it has been five years since she had first known he is The Shadow. Lamont tells her that he cannot stop now. "Can't someone else do it?" She asks. She fears that the connection between Lamont and The Shadow might be discovered, making him a target for assassination. Lamont tries to calm her fears. Margo suggests that he should drop the alter ego and work with the police. Lamont disagrees. He is most useful if he remains outside the police force. If he worked alongside them, they might disapprove of his methods or not believe in his science. Margo thinks he can convince them. But in doing so, Lamont counters, would be to reveal his secrets and knowledge, and that might wind up in the hands of organized crime. Lamont has traveled around the world, to learn the mysteries not yet known to modern science. He has studied and learned for a purpose. Margo is still not convinced; the underworld now wants The Shadow dead. "Until they can find out what The Shadow is, what can they do?" asks Lamont. In fact, these criminals are either dead or in jail because of Lamont's and Margo's crime-fighting activities.

"Even now, as we sit, there may be an innocent person in desperate trouble. Somewhere, perhaps, there is a problem that can never be solved, except by The Shadow..."

* * * * * * *

Paul Gordon returns home to his wife, Grace, who asks him for news. He hasn't any luck finding a job today despite his assets: good health, brains and ambition. Grace herself doesn't have any good news either; their baby girl, Sally, is ill. According to the doctor, she will need treatments for a year, an expense they can't afford. The money is tight, the house has been mortgaged, and they can't borrow any more on the car. The determination to save his child fuels Paul's determination to get work — any work.

Paul's job search eventually leads him to a bar, but the proprietor has no work to offer him, despite Paul's desperation. As he is turned down, he hears a voice calling him to come over. It is the voice of a man named Red Sloan. Red invites Paul to sit with him and his friend, Lefty. They have overheard Paul's conversation with the bar's proprietor, and more importantly, Paul's mention of having a car. Both Red an Lefty are in need of a man with a car, and Paul is all too happy (and desperate) to comply. He is to begin his "job" tomorrow morning at nine o'clock in front of the Uptown Bank.

The following day, both Paul and his car are found parked in front of the bank. He has attracted the attention of a police officer, who points out that he's in a no parking zone. Paul happily explains to the officer his situation. Suddenly, they both hear gunfire from the bank. Red and Lefty burst out the bank's doors, with a bag of money. The two robbers climb into Paul's car and force him to be the getaway driver. Terrified, Paul obeys. As they speed away, they are pursued by a police car. It seems the robbers have fatally shot a police officer. Red tries to shoot at the tires to slow down the police, but fails. Paul, who wants nothing of this, begs them to take his car and let him go. That is exactly what the robbers are counting on. Red orders Paul to stop after the next curve in the road. When he does, the robbers jump out of the car and flee, leaving Paul to face the police. Paul tries to explain himself, as the police search his car. Under the rear seat of the car, they find a recently fired gun and a bag full of money. Horrified, Paul professes his innocence, but is charged with the murder of the officer.

In court, Paul is found guilty of robbery and murder. As the judge passes his sentence, death by the electric chair, The Shadow's laughter is heard throughout the courtroom...

At home, Grace tries to comfort the baby while barely trying to keep herself together. As she prays to God to help her, she breaks down in tears. Suddenly, there is a knock on the door. Margo has arrived with news. She tells her that a "friend" of Paul's will save him from hanging. This friend has also donated money for Grace and the baby, and has a message for Grace: don't lose hope. Grace is moved and asks Margo who this friend is, but Margo refuses to tell her.

At the bar, Red and Lefty congratulate themselves for a job well done. They had worn gloves, so there were no fingerprints to incriminate them. But Red took off his gloves when he sat next to Paul in the car. Fortunately, Red did not touch the steering wheel. The Shadow, invisible and listening in on them, tells them he does not think so. Startled, Red and Lefty wonder who that was. The Shadow believes that they have left a clue behind. The robbers believe he is bluffing. The Shadow unnerves them by asking them to think about a possible mistake they could have made.

Later, The Shadow makes a call to Margo. Paul is to die tonight, and he must visit him. Margo is to stand by for orders.

Sitting in his prison cell, a despairing Paul awaits his execution. The governor has not relented, and he will die at 11pm. The prison guards move him to another cell, one closer to the electric chair. Paul begins to lose hope. During the move, one of the guards suddenly knocks the other unconscious and vanishes into the shadows. It is none other than The Shadow in disguise. The Shadow assures him that he will help him; there seems to be a loose end in this case. Paul does not see how he can. The Shadow asks him to relive the incident in his mind, while he (The Shadow) reads it. "I'm thinking with your brain. I'm seeing in my mind the pictures you create in yours" he explains. At first, Paul's thoughts of his family and the electric chair distracts The Shadow's telepathy, but eventually the events of the robbery getaway become crystal clear. It seems one of the robbers had made an error. Lefty, who was sitting in front with Paul in the car, couldn't keep Paul covered with the gun and look back at the pursuing cops at the same time. So, he reached up and twisted the rear view mirror for a better view, leaving his thumbprint behind. (Note: Whoops! Seems the writers forgot to proofread the script. Just minutes ago, we were told that it was Red who sat in front with Paul in the car!)

Red and Lefty are now back in the bar where they hired Paul. Lefty is a little nervous, perhaps afraid that someone might recognize them and connect them to Paul. But Red replies that this bar is as good as any. (Note: In the original script both of them felt that they had to return; as if someone sent for them.) Suddenly, the proprietor of the bar calls for Lefty; there is a phone call for him. Lefty is surprised that someone would know he is in this bar at this very moment. Picking up the phone, he hears The Shadow's creepy laughter. The Shadow asks him if he had left any prints in the car. Lefty denies it. It is soon revealed that Lefty had removed his glove to adjust the rear view mirror. The Shadow hangs up. Frightened, Lefty returns to Red to tell him about the fingerprints. They both decide to break into Paul's garage to wipe the prints off.

At the commissioner's office (probably Weston's?), Margo pleads with him not to send an innocent Paul to his death. The commissioner does not believe her. Margo quickly threatens him; if Paul is found innocent after the execution, she will testify in court about how the police stood by and did nothing. The commissioner finally caves in, and asks her what needs to be done. Margo advises him to send some police officers to Paul's garage immediately.

It is nearly 11pm. Paul is led to the chair. As he passes the other prisoners along the way, they bid him farewell. Paul wonders where The Shadow is, and begins to wonder if the disembodied voice (of The Shadow) was a product of his failing sanity. When the door to the execution chamber is opened and the electric chair revealed, Paul panics. He professes his innocence and, sobbing, begs for a few more minutes of life. Before they can put him in the chair, a guard runs up to the warden and tells him to stop. The governor is on the phone and has halted the execution. The police had caught two men in Paul's garage trying to rub out some fingerprints. One was fatally shot, and the other quickly confessed, proving Paul's innocence. The warden turns to Paul and asks him if he had heard the good news. Paul is now calm. He knew the voice would not let him down. The warden believes the governor saved his life, but Paul knows better. It was somebody else, or something else. The warden is curious. Who could have saved Paul?

"It was a voice. Just a voice. I never really saw him. He was only a shadow..."


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