- 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
- Margo Lane
- Commissioner Weston (?)
- 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
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
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..."