The Shadow Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is The Shadow?
2. Who is the Shadow?
3. What can The Shadow do?
4. Where did The Shadow get his powers?
5. Did Lamont Cranston have any friends/sidekicks?
6. Whats the deal between Kent Allard and Lamont Cranston?
7. Why are there so many different versions of The Shadow?
What is The Shadow?
The Shadow, for the most part, began as a pulp magazine early in the 1930's, but made his first
appearance on March 7, 1931 in Detective Story Magazine (the magazine issue with the $1,000
Shadow contest). Before this on July 31, 1930, a Thursday night at 9:40 PM, Radio listeners
tuned to CBS to hear the first appearance of "The Shadow" as James La Curto portrays the part
in the Detective Story Hour. In this radio show The Shadow is actually just the narrarator of
the show, but because of the huge fan response The Shadow later got his own turn in his own
radio show series. The Shadow radio show series first aired on September 26, 1937. That radio
show became the most famous old time radio show ever and even evolved into comics, novels,
magazines and paperbacks, appeared in newspapers, and on movie screens. The Shadow has thrilled
millions of fans for over 70 years!
Who is the Shadow?
The Shadow is a super hero. Who like many super heroes fights crime in New York City. Behind
the mask of The Shadow is a young wealthy man known as Lamont Cranston, also known as Kent Allard.
The Shadow was originally the alter ego of Lamont Cranston, wealthy playboy whom at some
stage in his life journeyed to the Orient where he learnt the power to cloud men's minds in
that he had powerful mass hypnotic powers. On the radio this took the form of being able to
appear invisible (which was handy for a radio show). This power was not used to any great
extent in the pulp novels, where he relied more on his guns and his mastery of disguise...
Later on in the pulp novels it was revealed that in fact he was NOT Lamont Cranston, but in
fact aviator Kent Allard whose plane crashed in the Orient, and that he took the disguise of
Lamont Cranston... Even later on it was suggested that in fact the body of Kent Allard was
found in the wreck of his plane in the Orient and that The Shadow was neither Lamont Cranston
or Kent Allard!
What can The Shadow do?
The 1994 movie/radio show version - The Shadow has the ability to cloud men's mind so that they
cannot see him. This power does come at a cost! If a person shines a light on The Shadow, The
Shadow's shadow becomes visible to everyone. In the movie he could also mind-control anyone with
a weak mind and can perform telekinesis. The pulp version - The Shadow really could only use his
.45 pistols as he was also very sneeky, but in this version The Shadow could never turn invisible.
Where did The Shadow get his powers?
The 1994 movie version - Before Lamont Cranston became The Shadow he was a ruthless king of Opium
Fields, Tibet. There in the middle of the night he was kidnapped and taken to a Tulku temple. There
the Tulku master taught Cranston. The pulps version - Kent was a military intelligence officer and
adventurer. After the war (WWI), he was traveling abroad in the orient and encountered the mystics
that trained him in various martial arts and mental disciplines.
Did Lamont Cranston have any friends/sidekicks?
The people that Cranston knew helped him on solving the crimes so you could say that his friends
where his sidekicks. In the radio show as well as the 1994 movie Margot Lane is the only person who
knows the true identity of The Shadow is. Without Margot Lane The Shadow would be basically dead.
Another friend/sidekick of Cranston's is Commissioner Weston. Lamont and Margot found out about
these crimes from Commissioner Weston and solved everyone of them. In the magazines/pulps The
Shadow had agents, Harry Vincent, Rutledge Mann, Burbank -, Cliff Marsland, Hawkeye -,Clyde Burke,
Moe Shrevnitz, Jericho Druke, and Margot Lane.
Whats the deal between Kent Allard and Lamont Cranston?
In issue number 209, Crime Over Miami, of The Shadow pulps, is where Kent Allard becomes Lamont
Cranston. Kent was a military intelligence officer and adventurer. After the war (WWI), he was
traveling abroad in the orient and encountered the mystics that trained him in various martial
arts and mental disciplines. Some time afterwards he encountered Lamont Cranston, a wealthy
dilettante who bore a striking resemblance to Kent. In time, they arranged a deal: Kent would
adopt Lamont's identity (and access to his money) while Lamont lived a life of leisure abroad.
The reason for this was because Lamont wanted to redime himself for past crimes, so he and Kent
agreed on this arrangement. When the Shadow was brought to radio, the producers, as producers
always seem to do when they want to bring a familiar character to another medium, made some
changes in the character. They felt the Kent Allard/Lamont Cranston arrangement was too
complicated for a radio show. One other thing, they added the character of Margot Lane, so he
would have a "love interest".
Why are there so many different versions of The Shadow?
As time moved on from version to version of media The Shadow has changed...This is not the normal
look change, but it is actually a major one. There is no true answer to this question, but anything
from copyright difficulties to just making him a more interesting character are all valid answers.
An example of the copyright difficulties can be seen with The Shadow comic book in Australia
(picture to the right). Because of copyright difficulties the comic book company, Frew, had to alter
this The Shadow character, although he is still, pretty much, the same shadow as the American version.