If you are a fan of THE SHADOW, you know that the show ran for 17 years and had a number of different actors in the lead role. The three standouts from that vast period are Orson Welles (1937 - 1938), Bill Johnstone (1938 - 1943), and Brett Morrison (1944 - 1945, 1945 - 1954). THE VINTAGE RADIO SHOWS is a sampling of episodes from across those eras, and does a pretty effective job of explaining why THE SHADOW is one of the most fondly-remembered of all the series that ran during the Golden Age of Radio.
A total of 20 episodes are featured here. I don't have room to review each one, but I would like to point out some of the real gems, "The Temple Bells of Neban", "Sabotage", "Poison Death", "The Phantom Voice", "The Bride of Death", "The White Legion", "Aboard The Steamship Amazon", "A Mask For Murder", and "Appointment With Death."
Now, as collections go this is a good one, but not really indicative of the breadth of plot-types the show used; most of these are conventional crime tales, and it wouldn't have hurt to have thrown in some of the more outrageous or horrifying storylines, such as "Death Prowls At Night", "The Beast of Darrow House" or "The Gibbering Things." What's more, half the shows are voiced by Orson Welles, who served a much shorter tenure than either Johnstone or Morrison. And three of the epsiodes are of dubious value: "Murder by the Dead" features an all-understudy cast; "Air Freight Fracas" is actually a sort of novelty episode, recorded many years after the show's cancellation; and "Pass To Death" has very poor sound quality, and is anyway essentially a remake of "Murder in the Death House", which is a much better episode.
All in all, however, this is a solid, if lopsided, collection, and as far as MP3 downloads go, not unreasonably priced. It's probably worth your money, but it's definitely worth your time.
on October 30, 2012
I have been listening to the programs I recently purchased since they arrived. They are great!
Interestingly, I don't remember any of these episodes of 'The Shadow.' Every episode is a new experience, which I have now listened to at least twice.
Unfortunately, that means I am listening to less current radio news programs.
The good part is that I'm enjoying my car radio a lot more.
on January 22, 2013
I love radio dramas. The BBC still runs a few of note overseas, but we're strapped for anything of the like in the US which is what makes these releases of the old Shadow shows such a treasure. The stories are enjoyable fun even if a bit kitchy by today's standards. There were several different actors to portray the shadow during its long run and this collection does a decent job of capturing quite a few of them. Each episode is a fun joy to listen to...
...except the one major flaw is that these aren't remastered in any way. They have that grainy ripped from LP sound on some of them and on the few tracks previously mentioned by another reviewer, you can tell they weren't even recorded from that. Those three episodes are very difficult to listen to with 'a Pass to Murder' being nearly impossible.
That said though, it's still worth the price and an enjoyable collection overall. I definitely have recommended it to friends and played some for others. Hopefully, you'll enjoy as well.