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YMMV: The Shadow

1930 radio series and resulting franchise:

  • Awesome Music: "Omphale's Spinning Wheel" by Camille-Saint-Saens. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"
  • Fair for Its Day: While many parts of the pulps are horribly racist, the Shadow is also notable for having an Asian and an African-American as agents at a time when they would usually have been villains or useless.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: The radio episode "The Spider Boy." Thanks to Values Dissonance, we are told that Domestic Abuse is a minor peccadillo that can be solved simply by apologizing to the victim...but that owning an unusual pet (a large spider) that at no time harms or even threatens to harm a human being is a horrific crime deserving of a Karmic Death.
  • Jumping the Shark: While the quality of the stories was said to have declined after the war (they were very certainly shorter — the magazine had been cut to digest-size due to wartime paper rationing), the true shark jump would have to be after Walter Gibson was summarily fired, along with the magazine's editorial staff. In Gibson's place was Bruce Eliott, a friend and fellow magician who also dabbled in pulp writing. In place of the previous editor was Babbette Rosamund, who strove to turn the pulp into a more "literary" mystery magazine. The exercise failed. Eliott's stories became stock detective stories often starring Lamont Cranston and Commissioner Weston, with, at most, a token cameo by The Shadow. More often than not, the shadow did not appear or was mentioned in the Eliott stories. The covers lost their lush painted pulp illustrations in favor of pop-art-style pieces. In the end, amid a nose-dive in sales Street And Smith decided to cut their losses. They fired Elliott and Rosamund, and begged Gibson and old Shadow Magazine editor William de Grouchy to return. They returned to the old formula. Fans may have been happy, but the move was too little, too late. The magazine folded four issues after Gibson's return.

The 1994 movie:

  • Awesome Music: Jerry Goldsmith's beautiful score for the movie, as well as Taylor Dane's "Original Sin" and The Shadow's theme-tune.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Khan and to an extent Lamont himself.
  • Narm: The Lanes are hypnotized by a ... cigarette billboard.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Lamont's nightmare that he tears off his own face, revealing Shiwan Khan's undeneath.
    • Come to think of it, Shiwan Khan in general. Any guy who can hypnotise you into killing yourself and does so for fun is pretty NF.
    • The Phurba is pretty scary as well.
  • Special Effects Failure: In the establishing shot on the bridge, the Shadow's long cloak is supposed to ominously billow out behind him, but he isn't wearing one. This is because the cloak was intended to be a CG element, but there wasn't time to composite it in.


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