Blog: Writing about all things pulplish

Advertising The Shadow

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 15, 2017 in Mail-away premiums, Movies, Old Time Radio (OTR), Pulp, Serials, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Advertising The Shadow
Ad found in a 1938 issue of Doc Savage Magazine.

Ad found in a 1938 issue of Doc Savage Magazine.

Ads and promotions for The Shadow appeared in many forms. Below you will see examples of some of them. Most are advertisements intended to entice radio listeners to tune in each Sunday afternoon for another exciting episode of The Shadow program. There are also a few advertisements for the pulp magazines and movies shown.

Ink blotters were probably the most commonly found types of advertising material for The Shadow. Although nobody uses ink blotters any more, back in the old radio era ball-point pens were not yet being mass produced and most people wrote with fountain pens and regularly used ink blotters. They were cheap to produce and became a popular advertising medium for all sorts of products and businesses.

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Perry Mason novels: #47 and #48

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 8, 2017 in Old TV Shows, Perry Mason, Pulp
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Perry Mason novels: #47 and #48
Erle Stanley Gardner - rarely seen without glasses.

Erle Stanley Gardner – rarely seen without glasses.

Perry Mason. Let’s see… he was on TV… he was on the radio… he was in the movies… he was in the comic books… there was a daily newspaper strip… Now what am I forgetting? Oh, yeah, he was also in books. Books! You remember those things. Sometimes hard covered, sometimes soft covered. Words, no pictures. Yeah, that’s right… books!

Erle Stanley Gardner started writing Perry Mason for the book market. After 10 years of honing his writing skills in the pulp magazine market, Gardner wrote the first Perry Mason novel in 1933. The last and 85th of the Perry Mason books was published in 1973 after Gardner’s death. It was the book series that inspired all the other appearances in the media… the TV, radio, movies, etc. It all started with the books.

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TMM #10: The Grove of Mystery

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, September 1, 2017 in Pulp, The Shadow, Two-Minute Mystery
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

TMM #10: The Grove of Mystery
A series of puzzlers starring a classic pulp figure

A series of puzzlers starring a classic pulp figure

Here’s a new entry in my rotating series of The Shadow two-minute mysteries. Another chance to match wits with The Shadow, solve the mystery along with crimedom’s nemesis. Sharpen your sleuthing skills and give it a couple minutes of your valuable time.

This mini-mystery originally appeared on my Shadow in Review website, a dozen or more years ago. You may remember it… you may remember the solution, as well. But for those of you who missed it the first time around, here’s a summer rerun!

This mystery is based upon the original 1930s pulp character, The Shadow. Not the radio version. No clouding men’s minds, here. Just a black cloak and slouch hat.

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The Shadow on television

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, August 25, 2017 in Movies, Old Time Radio (OTR), Old TV Shows, Pulp, Serials, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The Shadow on television

The version of The Shadow that radio listeners heard beginning in 1937 was designed specifically for the medium of radio. And it was a perfect fit. A crime fighter with the power to become invisible required no special effects other than what the individual mind could conjure.

That version of The Shadow did not translate well to the screen, either large or small. There were a series of motion-picture shorts that featured an early radio version of The Shadow… where The Shadow was an unseen narrator of the stories. Four feature-length motion pictures were produced between 1937 and 1946, but they used a more pulp version of The Shadow. A 1940 movie serial used the same approach. It wasn’t until 1994 and the motion picture The Shadow, starring Alec Baldwin, that radio’s version of The Shadow appeared in movie theaters… and disappeared, using his power to cloud men’s minds.

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Perry Mason novels: #45 and #46

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, August 18, 2017 in Perry Mason, Pulp
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Perry Mason novels: #45 and #46
Erle Stanley Gardner as a teenager.

Erle Stanley Gardner as a teenager.

Erle Stanley Gardner, the creator of Perry Mason was also a pulp writer. He labored in the pulp arena for 10 years before the first Perry Mason book came out. And once he hit the big time, he continued writing for the pulps. Black Mask was probably the best known, among pulp fans, but there was also Top-Notch Magazine, Sunset, Fawcett’s Triple-X, Argosy, Flynn’s Detective Fiction, Clues, Ace High, Dime Detective, Double Detective… and that’s a partial list.

‘The Case of the Restless Redhead’

The Case of the Restless Redhead was the third Perry Mason book to be published in 1954. Yes, Gardner was really churning them out that year. Perry Mason walks into the middle of a trial for theft and helps out the young attorney for the defense. Little does he realize that shortly after the defendant, Evelyn Bagby, is found innocent she will be embroiled in murder. And Perry will have to take the case to defend her in a death case.

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TMM #9: Death’s Dart

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, August 11, 2017 in Pulp, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

TMM #9: Death’s Dart
A series of puzzlers starring a classic pulp figure

A series of puzzlers starring a classic pulp figure

Yes, it’s time for another Shadow Two-Minute Mystery. It will take about two minutes to read. The Shadow will solve the case, but you won’t be told exactly how. You are challenged to solve the mystery yourself; all the clews are there. (Yes, I spelled it “clews”)

This mini-mystery originally appeared on my “Shadow in Review” website between 2003 and 2008.

This mystery is based upon the original 1930s pulp character, The Shadow. He had no supernatural abilities; he was simply a man; a top physical and intellectual specimen. He haunted the dark streets of Manhattan in a black cloak and black slouch hat which rendered him “virtually” invisible, allowing him to blend into the shadows. He was a crime fighter of the highest rank. And it is upon this pulp character that this solve-it-yourself mystery is based.

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The Spider #63: ‘The Withering Death’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, August 4, 2017 in Pulp, The Spider
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

The Spider #63: ‘The Withering Death’
The pulp cover in lurid, pulpy red!

The pulp cover in lurid, pulpy red!

“The Withering Death” was originally published in the December 1938 issue of The Spider Magazine. The dry, ghastly severed hand brought its grisly warning to New York. Its citizens must pay the extortioner’s price or die, their living bodies slowly, agonizingly transformed into rigid mummies! The police were helpless, and only Richard Wentworth, in The Spider‘s weird garb, could wage battle — against the master murder-chemist who killed to corral a fortune!

A very enjoyable romp with The Spider. As usual, the action is pretty much non-stop. The plot is typically over-the-top, very typical of the “weird menace” type of story. I’ve always compared The Spider with The Shadow as follows: The Shadow is based in reality, for the most part; The Spider is based on fantasy. Think of The Spider as The Shadow on steroids. Yes, there are plot holes. And yes, there are some loose threads at the end. But the story moves so quickly that you hopefully won’t notice them too much.

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