Who knows what history lurks in the audiobook section…

The Shadow Knows!

I’ve been listening to CD recordings of the old radio show The Shadow that I checked out of the library. The shows range from the 1930s to the 1950s and the historical context is wonderfully apparent.

All except the later shows have advertising at the start, middle, and end. I’ve been encouraged to buy Blue Coal, made from Genuine Anthracite, and Goodrich Safety Silvertown Tires . During the war years, the pitch for blue coal changed from “Good heating” to “Economic heating so more coal can be used for the war effort”.

There was also a change in the stories – during the 40s the Shadow stops a number of spies and US criminals who would betray their country! Margo Lane goes from being the Shadow’s confidante to being his “friend and companion”. TV even makes an appearance in the later episodes. And the closing speech by the announcer changes from “the show you have just heard is from a copyrighted story from Shadow Magazine” to “these stories demonstrate to young and old that Crime Does Not Pay.”

I’ve studied history through the written word, prints, paintings, lists, popular music, documentary films and movies. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to include radio, but now I know better.

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One comment

  1. Renee · · Reply

    Oh Megan, Megan, Megan… you have no idea what you’ve been missing. “The Shadow” is only the beginning. If you’re interested in digging up some more shows to listen to, I recommend “The Lone Ranger” (another adventure classic.) “Burns and Allen” (George and Gracie) is amazing and still so funny. As is Jack Benny.
    But my personal favorite is always, always The Mercury Theater and The Campbell Playhouse. I found this site: http://www.mercurytheatre.info/ last Fall and Orson Wells kept me company on the bus for about a month. I especially recommend “Rebecca” for the interview with the author at the end, and “Dracula” for the sheer eerie glee of Orson Wells doing the shipwreck. And of course, if you’ve never heard it, you must listen to “War of the Worlds.” I’ll warn you though, after just a couple episodes of “The Campbell Playhouse” you may experience an inexplicable craving for chicken soup…

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