Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Diesel Era Classic: The Shadow's 80th Anniversary

"Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"

80 years ago, on July 31st, 1930, with that wonderful opening line America was introduced to one of the great diesel era fantasy heroes of all time, The Shadow. While at first he was simply a spooky narrator he was later turned into a fully developed character who used "the power to cloud men's minds" to fight crime on the mean streets of New York. The Shadow was eventually given his own comic book publication, The Shadow Magazine, in January of 1931. As though sensing the end of what dieselpunks call the diesel era, in the summer of 1949 The Shadow Magazine published its final issue.

Over the years the Shadow has appeared in other formats such as comic strips, television and numerous films. In 1994 The Shadow was made into a major motion picture starring Alec Baldwin as The Shadow and Penelope Ann Miller as Margo Lane, which received several nominations from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA. While it opened to mixed reviews Roger Ebert gives it three stars at his web site and writes,

"The Shadow" is the kind of movie that plays better, the more baggage you bring to it. If you respond to film noir, if you like dark streets and women with scarlet lips and big fast cars with running boards, the look of this movie will work some kind of magic.

Lamont Cranston / The Shadow (Alec Baldwin)

Margo Lane (Penelope Ann Miller)

The word in the media is that the rights to The Shadow have been bought by Fox and that a new Shadow movie is in the works with a possible release in 2012.

Wikipedia has an excellent article on The Shadow and its history.


vel said...

One of my favorite movies, especially the "Original Sin" song during the credits. I first heard The Shadow being replayed on a local college radio station.

Larry Amyett, Jr said...

I agree, Vel. I love Baldwin's "The Shadow." And the ending song, written by the legendary Jim Steinman (who also wrote Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" LP) and sang by the great Taylor Dayne, is fantastic.

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