BW - EP131—005: Orson Welles Is The Shadow—The Shadow Launches With Orson Welles


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In the fall of 1937, Orson Welles was busy readying for a Mercury Theater broadway production of Julius Caesar. The agency Ruthrauff and Ryan approached Welles about the possibility of starring in a weekly radio series. His signing was announced in The New York Times on August 29th, 1937. Welles’ contract allowed him to miss rehearsals and readings. He was paid seventy-five dollars per week, or roughly fifteen hundred today, for one-half hour of weekly work. On Sunday September 26th, at 5:30PM the new version of The Shadow debuted. The program's announcer was Ken Roberts. Opposite Welles as Margot Lane was Agnes Moorhead, along with many of the Mercury Theater players. The Shadow was Lamont Cranston, a wealthy man about town. He had the ability to cloak himself with invisibility and to read minds. They were tools of Mesmer, learned through years of study in the orient and India. Walter Gibson’s involvement in the radio series was minimal. Clark Andrews directed the first few broadcasts with Martin Gabel becoming the de facto director thereafter.

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