Who knows what history lurks in the audiobook section…

The Shadow Knows!

I’ve been listening to CD recordings of the old radio show The Shadow that I checked out of the library. The shows range from the 1930s to the 1950s and the historical context is wonderfully apparent.

All except the later shows have advertising at the start, middle, and end. I’ve been encouraged to buy Blue Coal, made from Genuine Anthracite, and Goodrich Safety Silvertown Tires . During the war years, the pitch for blue coal changed from “Good heating” to “Economic heating so more coal can be used for the war effort”.

There was also a change in the stories – during the 40s the Shadow stops a number of spies and US criminals who would betray their country! Margo Lane goes from being the Shadow’s confidante to being his “friend and companion”. TV even makes an appearance in the later episodes. And the closing speech by the announcer changes from “the show you have just heard is from a copyrighted story from Shadow Magazine” to “these stories demonstrate to young and old that Crime Does Not Pay.”

I’ve studied history through the written word, prints, paintings, lists, popular music, documentary films and movies. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to include radio, but now I know better.