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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

The Shadow -- "Sabotage by Air"

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Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!

The Shadow (1937-1954) aired "Sabotage by Air" on March 5, 1939. We haven't run a The Shadow episode for several months and felt it was high time to rectify the matter, though over the course of time we have showcased no fewer than 27 of the iconic pulp hero's adventures, including the September 9, 1937 pilot episode which featured none other than Orson Welles as the first to adopt the persona of the mysterious crime fighter. Welles played the Shadow from September of 1937 until October of 1938, when Bill Johnstone (1908-1996, photo at right) stepped in and capably took over the role for five years, the second longest stint in the show's history. We have recounted the long history of the Shadow in synopsis form before, from pulp magazine to radio and the differences between them (not least of which was adding Margot Lane as the Shadow's love interest for the radio show, throwing the magazine's lettercolumn into a furor of protest from longtime {young male} readers), the most recent recap coming in early July with the "Death Has Eight Arms" episode. It's a fascinating story. For those coming to the Shadow character for the first time we recommend catching up on his history here.

As far as "Sabotage by Air" goes, it falls squarely in the genre of science fiction. An inventor has come up with an experimental aircraft over which the military is licking its chops in hope of a successful demonstration. The conflict comes when saboteurs learn of it and attempt to steal it, for if successful it would doom the United States should war come. And just what is this experimental aircraft and what does it do that would change the course of war for whichever military possesses it? It is a large aircraft--the control center if you will--that can set targets for and fire deadly radio wave-controlled drones to any destination it chooses. Military grade, weaponized drones directed from a central airborne fortress ship. Sound familiar? Listen now to "Sabotage by Air" to learn how the Shadow must thwart saboteurs in this thrilling episode, replete with surface to air combat scenes amidst a deadly threat to our country that tests even the Shadow's mettle.

"The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay." --The Shadow

Play Time: 28:45

{Imaginations afire after listening to this episode of The Shadow, the next day's trip to the local newsstand by the neighborhood gang brought joy, for the latest issue of The Shadow magazine still had one copy left. The magazine ran from 1931-49 and after roughly two years became so popular its schedule went bi-weekly. The issue below was dated March 1st with the remaining March issue dated the 15th. Startling Stories ran from 1939-55 and was bi-monthly from its first issue, dated January 1939. The issue shown below was its second. Thrilling Wonder Stories (the final of its several name changes) ran from 1929-55 and in 1939 was a bi-monthly. Little did our young, carefree science fiction fans realize that March of 1939 was to be a momentous month in the history of the world, for on March 15th (the Ides of March) Germany would invade unchallenged that section of Czechoslovakia known as the Sedetenland, signaling their militaristic intentions. Not satisfied, Germany would then invade Poland on September 1, 1939, which act began World War II.}

[Left: Startling Stories, Mar. 1939 - Center: The Shadow, Mar. 1, 1939 - Right: Thrilling Wonder, Apr. 1939]


To view the entire list of weekly Old Time Radio episodes at Tangent Online, click here.