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The Silent Avenger

Season 4
Mar 13, 1938

Major Characters:

  • The Shadow/Lamont Cranston
  • Joseph "Joe" Brecker: A vindictive death row murderer.
  • Danny Brecker: Joe's brother.
  • Mrs. Brecker: Joe and Danny's mother.
  • Judge Wilson: One of the many targeted in Joe's campaign of vengence.

Featured Agents:

  • Margo Lane
  • Commissioner Weston

Minor Characters:

  • Jurors Mr. Hanson and Mrs. Adams
  • Prosecuting Attorney Sloan
  • Courtroom observers and Bystanders
  • Prison Guard and Death House Inmates
  • Mr. O'Hara, a grocer
  • Mrs. Adams' daughter
  • Judge Wilson's Butler
  • Inspector, detective, Homicide detective Greg
  • Newspaper Seller

Synopsis: (Warning! Contains spoilers!)

Joseph "Joe" Brecker is found guilty of murder in the first degree, but he shows no remorse for his crime. Unrepentant, he passes sentence on the people who have helped convict him: Judge Wilson, Prosecuting Attorney Sloan, the twelve jurors, and The Shadow — the only person smart enough to catch him. Judge Wilson is unfazed by this threat, and assumes that Joe has nothing to say in his defense. Joe disagrees; the threat was exactly that. Joe knows he will be put to death for his crime, and vows that for every day he sits in the Death House, a person he has threatened will die, starting with the foreman of the jury. The court is in a uproar. Judge Wilson, still unmoved, sentences Joe to death by electric chair.

As the courtroom observers clear out, they talk amongst themselves about Joe's threat. One man believes that the threat was a bluff and that Joe is just crazy. A woman is relieved that she wasn't on the jury. As the people chatter away, we learn that there is no way that Joe can carry out his revenge since the members of his gang are either dead or in jail. Also, no one has seen The Shadow himself, so how can Joe kill what he cannot see? Upon hearing the talk, Margo notes that it must be flattering for The Shadow to inspire such awe and fear in people. Lamont sadly replies that the innocent as well as the guilty are afraid of The Shadow. "The unknown is so often associated with evil, " he explains. "There's no help for it. The Shadow must remain a shadow." Margo changes the subject and asks Lamont about the seriousness of Joe's threat. Lamont decides to visit Joe as The Shadow to answer that question.

At the Death House, Joe receives a visit from his brother, Danny. The prison guard gives them five minutes to talk. Joe reminds Danny of what he needs to do. He tricks Danny into believing that Judge Wilson, the jurors, Prosecuting Attorney Sloan, and The Shadow were the ones who drafted Danny into the army, which led to Danny being sent to France to fight. Unfortunately, that experience left him so shellshocked that Danny now has trouble remembering anything. After reminding Danny of his instructions yet again, Joe adds the governor to the list of targets and warns Danny about The Shadow. He tells his brother to avoid his apartment and their mother's house. Danny is reluctant to stay away from their mother and fears that she might worry about him. Joe reassures him that she will know that Danny has things to do. Danny asks about "the guy he can't see" (a.k.a. The Shadow) and wonders if The Shadow is actually dead, like Danny's war buddies who talk to him in the dark. Joe tells him that The Shadow is very much alive, but he will know if he is near by the sound of his voice. Joe suggests that Danny should bring along some hand grenades that he keeps at his apartment (!) and throw one at The Shadow if he hears his voice. Danny asks Joe how he would know that it is The Shadow. Joe replies that The Shadow has a "queer kind of laugh" and that he calls himself "The Shadow". The prison guard soon arrives and tells them that their five minutes are up. Danny leaves, but not without another quick reminder about his instructions.

Joe begins to gloat to himself that he will get his revenge. Suddenly he hears something, but no one is there. The Shadow has come for a visit. Joe asks him why he will not leave him alone. The Shadow wants to know how Joe is going to kill the people who put him away. Joe refuses to talk, so The Shadow uses his mind reading ability to see into Joe's thoughts. Joe thinks that The Shadow is trying to trick him, but when The Shadow reveals that Joe is thinking about Danny running home to get his high powered rifle with a telescopic sight and silencer, and Danny's medals in marksmanship in the war, Joe begins to panic. It seems Danny's sniper skills were so good that he could hide in an open battlefield, pick off his enemies at long range, and avoid being seen! The Shadow laughs in triumph. Desperate to protect his brother, Joe pretends not to believe The Shadow and says that even if he is right, he will never find Danny. By this time, Joe is hysterical. The other inmates shout him down, and the prison guard soon appears. Joe tells the guard that The Shadow was here, but the guard does not believe him. The guard tells him that it is time to "walk the last mile". The deputies are waiting, and there will be plenty of shadows where Joe is going.

Later, Mr. Hanson, one of the jurors, is advised by a police inspector not to be walking in the streets. The inspector was assigned to Mr. Hanson to protect him, should Joe's threats prove true. The inspector tells Mr. Hanson that if anything happens, he will be demoted to pounding the beat. Mr. Hanson is insistent; he has a business to run, and he cannot hide in his office forever. Suddenly, Mr. Hanson gasps and falls to the ground. Greg from Homicide arrives on the scene and declares Mr. Hanson dead. Joe has kept his word. As more jurors are assassinated, Lamont becomes more and more frustrated at being unable to locate Danny. Another juror, Mrs. Adams, risks leaving her home to buy some groceries with her daughter. Mr. O'Hara, the grocer, is shocked to see that she is not in hiding like the remaining jurors. Mrs. Adams tells him that she needed some things and managed to slip past the detective who was guarding her. Mrs. Adam's daughter asks for candy, and as Mrs. Adams is answering her, she gasps and falls to the ground. Bewildered, her daughter tries to get her to wake up and starts to cry. Mrs. Adams is dead.

At Judge Wilson's apartment, his butler asks if it is wise to leave the window curtains open. Judge Wilson is confident that his apartment on the twentieth floor will deter any assassination attempt. The phone starts to ring and the butler answers it. It is the governor on the line. The governor tells Judge Wilson that he was not able to commute Joe's sentence. The judge replies that even if the governor was successful, there will be no law and order left. He also learns that the governor will not cancel his engagement to ride in the parade tomorrow. The governor will be riding in an open car — the perfect target. Judge Wilson suddenly gasps. Danny's bullet has finally found him.

Margo meets up with Lamont to discuss their next move. The Shadow and the cops have both failed to locate Danny. Lamont has done some research on Danny and discovered his military history of being a sniper in the war in France. He laments that society has trained Danny to kill men, telling him that they were enemies who needed to be killed. Though shellshocked, Danny still remembers what society has taught him: to kill. Lamont says that even though the judge and jurors were innocent as individuals, everyone (as a whole) is guilty of producing people like Danny. We teach men to kill in times of war, then turn around and expect them to respect life in times of peace.

Lamont instructs Margo to visit Mrs. Brecker, Joe and Danny's mother. Chances are, Danny will visit her before or after Joe dies in the electric chair at 5 p.m. They only have about ten minutes. Margo asks if she should pose as a reporter. Lamont says she could, but she should avoid asking Mrs. Brecker any questions. He will follow behind as The Shadow. Margo goes to Mrs. Brecker's basement apartment. Mrs. Brecker answers the door, and Margo asks if she can come in. Mrs. Brecker tells her that it does not matter anymore; her two sons are gone. Margo tries to soothe her but it does not help, for how could anyone know what this poor woman has been through? One son is a murderer and another is missing. In a few minutes, Joe will be dead and there is nothing she or anyone can do. Mrs. Brecker bursts into tears. Suddenly Danny appears. He knows he is not supposed to visit, but he cannot stay away from his own mother. Relieved to see Danny, and concerned about his whereabouts, Mrs. Brecker asks him where he has been and what has Joe asked him to do. Danny replies that he is doing what Joe told him to do. He notices Margo and becomes suspicious. Mrs. Brecker assures him that Margo is a friend who has come to sit with her, and that Margo will not tell anyone he is here. Danny tells his mother that Joe will die at 5 o'clock, and he will go out to do one more thing for his brother. Mrs. Brecker refuses to let her son leave; she has already figured out that he was the one behind the murders of the judge and jurors. She pleads with him to give himself up to the police, reassuring him that the police will not hurt him. "You didn't know what you were doing," she begs Danny.

The clock strikes five. Mrs. Brecker starts to cry.

Danny turns to go. He tells his mother that he will go to the tower to finish the job Joe told him to do. Margo tries to stop him, but Danny tells her to stay out of it. The Shadow steps in and confronts Danny, telling him to stop for his mother's sake. Remembering Joe's advice, Danny pulls out a hand grenade and reaches for the pin. Still sobbing, Mrs. Brecker begs her son to stop, but Danny pulls the pin from the grenade, tosses it in the direction of The Shadow's voice, and makes his escape. Swiftly, The Shadow manages to catch the grenade and throw it out of the window into the courtyard before it has a chance to explode. It would be the closest call The Shadow has ever had.

Lamont later visits Margo with a problem. He has lost track of Danny since the grenade incident and is trying to pinpoint his location. Lamont has been trying to find a tall building or tower from which Danny can assassinate the governor during the parade. Putting their heads together, Lamont and Margo deduce that the most likely place would be the unfinished Wardman Tower, now only a steel frame. With no workers, and only a watchman on street level, it is an easy place for Danny to hide. Margo offers to drive Lamont to the tower. But if the Wardman Tower is not the one they are looking for, then they will have to settle with a new governor of the state!

At the Wardman Tower, Danny looks down at the parade and waits for the governor's car to arrive. He checks the wind velocity; it is zero. The range is three hundred yards. The governor's car finally arrives, and Danny is certain that he won't miss. Suddenly he hears the voice of The Shadow. Danny is surprised that The Shadow is still alive. The Shadow tells him that Joe gave Danny the wrong advice about using the grenade. Danny asks The Shadow how he found him. The Shadow replies that it does not matter; what really matters is that Danny must not kill any more people. Danny is insistent on killing the governor; he promised Joe he would do it. The Shadow tells Danny that this promise will never be kept, and orders him to put the rife down on the steel girder and crawl back to the catwalk. Danny agrees to put the rifle down, but he quickly pulls out a grenade, hoping to finish off The Shadow for good. Danny calls out to The Shadow, demanding to know where he is, so that he will know where to toss the grenade. The Shadow repeatedly asks Danny to crawl back to the catwalk, but Danny refuses and threatens to drop the grenade on the parade goers below if The Shadow gets anywhere near him.

Danny pulls the pin.

Using his powers of mind clouding, The Shadow hypnotizes Danny into clasping the grenade tightly and not to drop it. Danny finds himself falling under The Shadow's power and does as he is told, tightening his fingers around the grenade, being extra careful not to drop it...

The grenade explodes.

Visiting the scene of the crime at the Wardman Tower, Commissioner Weston is told by a detective that a high powered rifle had fallen onto the street in front of the governor's car. The explosion had gone off on the thirtieth floor, the detective tells Weston, and suspects that it was a time bomb that had gone off too soon. The police had found some newspaper clippings and an identity card in the pocket of what was left of Danny Brecker. Weston laments that they will never know what really happened. On a good note, Weston is glad that The Shadow (who has always outsmarted the police in their investigations) did not have as much luck on this case as the police did.

"Not quite, Commissioner," The Shadow replies.

Weston jokes that The Shadow has arrived to claim the credit, but The Shadow tells him that there is no credit nor glory in the death of Danny.

"Danny Brecker was a victim. A human instrument of destruction fashioned by mankind that teaches men to kill their enemies in time of war, yet expects them to forget their murderous art in time of peace. Danny Brecker was an enemy of society — a killer — but only because you and I and countless thousands made him one. No, Commissioner. There is no glory in this for you or The Shadow or for any man."


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