Saturday, June 2, 2018

Death House Rescue

"Death House Rescue!" was the very first radio program episode for The Shadow.  It originally aired on September 26, 1937.  This is one of my favorite radio episodes of The Shadow and I've listened to it many times.

In the radio dramas, Lamont Cranston is The Shadow.  Cranston is a millionaire who fights crime as The Shadow.  Only his companion, Margo Lane, knows this.  Margo Lane is a new character and had never appeared in any of The Shadow pulp magazines.  (In The Shadow pulp magazines, The Shadow is Kent Allard who sometimes disguises himself as millionaire Lamont Cranston.)

In this story we hear about a down-on-his-luck husband, Paul Gordon.  Paul and his wife, Grace, have a sick child named Sally.  Paul is trying to find work as Sally needs medical help.  Paul ends up being duped by two hoodlums who offer to pay him for driving them around.  What Paul doesn't know is that they are going to frame him for a crime they are about to commit!

The two hoodlums, Red and Lefty, hold up a bank and kill a police officer in the process.  They jump into Paul Gordon's car and order him to drive away.  With the police in high pursuit, Red and Lefty are able to escape and leave incriminating evidence in Gordon's car.  Paul Gordon ends up being convicted and is now in the death house with his execution only hours away!

The Shadow knows Paul Gordon is innocent and is quickly on the case.  He sends Margo Lane to visit Grace Gordon to let her know The Shadow is on the case, and that he will not fail!  Margo also gives Grace $1,000 to help with her living expenses since Paul is now in jail.

Disguised as a prison guard, The Shadow visits Paul in prison and uses his powers of mental telepathy to find the clue that will prove Gordon's innocence.  He sees into Paul's mind as Paul replies the events of the crime in his head.  The Shadow sees the events as if he were watching a television broadcast of those events!  Using this power The Shadow finds the clue that will set Gordon free!  The Shadow promises Paul that he will not die in the electric chair now that he has this clue.

Now The Shadow must spring a trap for the two rats that framed Paul Gordon!  Using mental telepathy, he sends a message to Margo Lane and has her get in touch with Police Commissioner Weston.  He then calls Lefty on the phone at the local bar and reveals that there was indeed an incriminating clue left in Paul Gordon's car - Lefty has left his fingerprint on the car's review mirror!  Lefty and Red go to rub out the incriminating evidence and are met by the police.  One of the crooks is mortally wounded but confesses the truth about the crime before they die.

While all that was playing out, Paul Gordon has been moved to the room where is the electric chair.  The hour for his execution has come.  Paul is distraught as The Shadow had promised he would not die in the chair.  The Shadow did not fail as the call comes from the Governor to release Paul Gordon as he is an innocent man who was framed!

In this radio drama, The Shadow disguised himself as a prison guard.  He used his mental powers to cloud minds so as to make himself invisible.  He also used his powers of mental telepathy to read minds and send messages.  

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