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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The Spider #19: ‘Slaves of the Crime Master’

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, February 17, 2017 in Mail-away premiums, Pulp, The Spider
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

The Spider #19: ‘Slaves of the Crime Master’
Pulp cover for Slaves of the Crime Master.

Pulp cover for “Slaves of the Crime Master.”

“Slaves of the Crime Master “was originally published in the April 1935 issue of The Spider Magazine. A magically persuasive radio voice lures thousands of young people to crime; a scientific madman deals germicidal death over the nation’s children. Can even The Spider find a way to free humanity from the grip of wholesale destruction being planned for it by the greatest of all Crime Masters?

Here’s a Spider story that really let me down. A great build-up that leads to a confusing and disappointing conclusion. There’s much left unanswered. I’m not talking about minor details, here… I’m talking about major plot points. And the grand finale is so muddled that I’m still not sure who died or who the bad guy was. Yes, I read it a second time. Actually, I think I read it five times, trying to make sense of it. Did author Norvell Page accidentally use the wrong character’s name? If so, I couldn’t figure out who, and in what place. Didn’t the editors even read this thing? Any semi-competent person who reads it will realize the ending makes no sense. And the sad thing is that the previous 95 percent of the story was very good. That made me feel all the more cheated.

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The Shadow’s mail-away rings

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, February 5, 2016 in Mail-away premiums, Old Time Radio (OTR)
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The Shadow’s mail-away rings
The Blue Coal ring.

The Blue Coal ring.

During radio’s heyday, it seems like every radio show was giving something away. It may have cost you a cereal boxtop or the inner seal from a jar of Ovaltine. Sometimes it cost a nickel or a dime… other times the only cost was that boxtop. Sometimes it was aimed at Mom; perhaps a cookbook or photo album. Rarely was it aimed at Dad. It was the kids at which most radio mail-away premiums were intended. And that was true of even The Shadow, perhaps not a show that kids should have listened to.

In the fall of 1941, at the beginning of the new season, the sponsors of The Shadow, the DL&W Coal Co., makers of Blue Coal, decided to offer a mail-away premium, and it was aimed squarely at kids. But they figured they could reach their customers, the purchasers of household heating coal, by going through the kids. Now maybe kids weren’t supposed to be listening to this shuddery fare, but they all knew (wink, wink) that kids were part of the audience.

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