Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ghost Rider Comment for the Action Flick Chick

So, I tried to leave this as a comment on the Action Flick Chick's blog/website/thingy, but it wouldn't let me, kept asking for a password. But it was a lot of writing, so I'm putting it here because...well, because. I don't know. Here it is, what I wrote on the upcoming Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance -

Ghost Rider is the personification of the problem inherent in the desire to be a super hero, to be granted that power. All the colorful tights and rules and noble principles are dressing on the fact that it is the desire to right wrongs by beating the crap out of someone or something. It's that urge of the powerless to be powerful and then to use that power on those who would have otherwise had their way.

It is a desire, essentially, for vengeance. What Ghost Rider does, in a uniquely Silver Age Stan Lee kind of way (by taking what would otherwise be a ridiculous character, a flaming motorcyclist) does is confront that desire by granting it to Johnny Blaze. With Blaze and Ghost Rider more than most you have the villain and the hero as one, so much so that his heroic acts are equally villainous.

The real key to that character is what makes the best Faustian bargains, that the devil doesn't trick Blaze as much as Blaze tricks himself. He wants to save his foster father from cancer, so he dies in a stunt. He wants revenge, he becomes vengeance. While he starts out thinking that he can control the Ghost Rider, the reality is that the more he gives way to vengeance the more he loses control to it. And the thing is, he knows this and yet still finds excuses to succumb to the Rider, willing giving himself over piece by piece to vengeance and the demon within him.

But when they went to adapt the comic in the first film, Cage (who says he's a fan) describe the character as taking 'this curse from the devil and turning it on him.' And of course that's how it ends, with Blaze as Ghost Rider saying that to the Devil in his awkward Elvis pose.

But that's not Ghost Rider, that's Spawn.

Ghost Rider does not have what would normally be considered necessary for a good comic book franchise, a quality rogues gallery of villains. (you could argue that it's not Batman that makes Batman interesting, but the villains he's amassed) Ghost Rider's rivals are d-listers like The Orb, sort of the catch when your hero does not imprison or turn over to the authorities of his rivals but instead places their souls in a state of perpetual torture (again, keeping with the theme, the Penance Stare causes you to torture yourself by bringing to the surface the consequences of your unfettered desires realized). The drama in a Ghost Rider story is rarely against his foes, who for the most part he doesn't just best, but terrorizes, but in the continual struggle between Blaze and the demon within. In that respect, it is a comic book where the hero loses every issue, and every issue that defeat gets a little worse.

So I would say, absolutely a major part of Ghost Rider is the menacing and sometimes comically horrifying ways in which he destroys the people he deems are due his wrath. But the key, the thing that saves Ghost Rider from being a cheesy 70s comic book character capitalizing on the popularity of chopper motorcycles and Eveil Kaneviel, is that internal struggle.

I am encouraged that the monologue in the trailer seems to hint at that, it seems to indicate also that the answer to that is to use the demon against the devil (and in fact, he seems to be fighting the devil once again).

I'm not a purist (and good lord, how horrible would a Ghost Rider movie be fighting The Orb...), but I do think when you translate a character or story through a medium, you have to distil the element of that character and find a way for the medium to explore it. This is essentially what makes Nolan's Batman movies work. They are far from canonical but it takes a core element of Batman, that his own demons are reflected in the villains that he faces, and explores that with the tools of a new medium. I fear that in the case of Ghost Rider they have taken the exact element that works against Ghost Rider, that he's a flaming skeleton on a motorcycle, as the element that they needed to translate into the new medium.

All of this hemming and hawing would matter more if I wasn't going to see it, but I am. But instead of a philosophical conflict between the desire to do the right thing and vengeance and how to tell the difference I'll get fire pee.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


So, a few years ago, Sous Rature and I wrote a Ten Minute Play called Frames. Since then it has been a little trooper of a play, being included in festivals and even winning awards I crowed about here recently.

I have wanted to turn this play into a movie since I graduated college. But that was six years ago and I have not been able to raise enough money to do much of anything, much less make this little film.

I started this a while ago and I don't know why I didn't link anything here, but I created an Indie Go Go page to help fund this film. I don't need a ton of money, I just happen to have none. If you read anything here and thought "Huh" please stop by and donate a few bucks (I know it suggests $100, it's being super optimistic. $5 is fine, wonderful in fact.)

Thanks whoever you are.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Defense of Fred

So, I'm supposed to be writing something else right now. Of course that means that I can't get something completely unrelated out of my head so instead I'm going to do this, which furthers nothing and hardly anyone will read...

Of all of the childhood cartoons and entertainment, Scooby Do, Where Are You? gets a large amount of attention. Mostly, of course, it's on the recreational habits of Shaggy and his, lets face it, amazing talking dog. Any talk of Fred is to dismiss him as the square with the ascot and his 'thing' with Daphne.

But it occurs to me that we're being too hard on Fred. I've been thinking about the other clues we have about Fred beyond that ascot and maybe Fred is more of a free spirit that we give him credit for.

First of all, that van that they travel around in, the one with the swirly hippie paint job and giant 'Mystery Machine' painted on the side of it? That's Fred's van. Fred of the ascot and wide collar shirt. Put that together, loafer wearing Fred bought a van and painted it swirly green with flowers and a big bubbly "Mystery Machine" on the side. Not that pothead Shaggy, but Fred.

And on the subject of Shaggy...whose friend is he, anyway? Certainly not Daphne. you don't see many tights wearing, model posing cheerleader types with stoners who talk with their dogs. Sure, could be Thelma, booky chicks have hung out with wastoids before, but to the point where she invites him along on their aimless search across the country looking for mystery? No, Shaggy is clearly Fred's friend. They might even go back long enough that Fred bought a van so his buddy Shaggy could take that dog of his with him when they hung out. Maybe they were chilling in the front yard, feet in their kiddie pool one day when Shaggy suggested covering the thing in green hippie paint.

Not to mention this wild, rudderless trip in the first place. Ascot and loafer wearing people prepare for college, not seek out cranky caretakers in rubber masks.

So what's up? What happened to our man Fred? Is he the Dobbie Gillis to Shaggy's (clear inspiration) Manard G. Krebs? No, Dobbie joined the military and even talked his beatnick friend into going with him. Wally was always talking Eddie out of trouble, not loading him in a van to go looking for it. No, it's clear that in core mentality Fred is closer to Shaggy than the other way around.

No, the answer is clear. Daphne. Daphne is what happened. I imagine if we had picked up the Scooby Doo gang just a little earlier we would have seen a Fred with long hair and t-shirt and jeans not much different than Shaggy. But then he met Daphne who probably said something like, "You know what would look good on you? An ascot. And why don't you get a haircut?"

Now, I want to stop here and make sure I'm not painting Daphne as a ballbuster who has emasculated Fred. She went on the journey with everyone else and doesn't really seemed that bothered by Fred's hippie friend and dog tagging along. Maybe she's even the one who talked her brainy friend into joining them because she'd be able to help. She's on board and contributes.

But it's also clear that she contributes to Fred's fashion choices. Because, dudes, who amongst us hasn't donned something out of character because a pair of fluttering eyelashes suggested we might look good in it? This really isn't out of fealty, but rather because we've perhaps not really taken aesthetics into account as much as comfort. And while we won't admit it because it would make us sound like someone from Jersey Shore, we'd like to look good to the ladies, even if that means that we end up looking like that goofball square in the ascot and loafers driving a hippie van to abandoned amusement parks.

I imagine that there a few times that he'd like to get paired up with his old buddy Shaggy for some Scooby snacks of their own. For old times.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Alright, look...

I've been bobbing around on blogs (I'll link a few notable ones below) and reading Twitter comments and clumsily trying to weigh in on a bit of a tempest in a teapot that I had kind of been blissfully unaware of up until now. Well, there's too many individual places now that have weighed in on the subject and too many various things for me to string my comments everywhere, so I'm going to use my near dead blog to cover the thoughts that have been brewing since this thing took off.

Finding Acceptance in the Geek Community

This has been a pretty consistent theme in the posts that I have been reading. Many people have been sharing their stories of feeling ostracized and lonely and finding solace in fantasy and sci-fi, in comics, games, what have you. They've been endearing and heartfelt and something that I am glad these people have found.

However, this is entirely new to me. I have had those feelings of isolation, of never feeling like I belong (I will not go into a deep self analysis here about whether that was a feeling I should had or whatnot) just like everyone else, but I never found satisfaction in geek culture. As far as my experience goes, this is new. Long before 'geek' became 'chic,' I've always known geeks to be extremely guarded and judgmental of anyone new to their scene.

And within that scene as well. I remember when Magic:The Gathering came out. By then I was an established attendee at Pacificon, something I had to earn over the course of a few years. The first year everyone of course climbed all over themselves to get those cards. By the second year whole rooms were dedicated to Magic and other card games and the running narrative was, and continued to be as the popularity of trading card games grew, they were ruining the convention and the scene.

In fact, if you talked to the war gamers, the roleplayers had already ruined it. And the boardgamers thought we were all spazzes. And that doesn't even cover the reaction when the LARPers came along.

Within my own small group that I managed to fall into there was resentment. The man who is my collaborator now initially hated it when I came over because it meant that we were going to play Battletech and he hated Battletech.

Now, granted, I still remember the first hour I spent at my first gaming convention. I was standing in a hallway, wondering what it was I was supposed to do when some big older dude walked into the hallway (I was 14, I believe) and asked, "Who is up for some Battletech?" It was the first time in my life that I didn't have to explain what Battletech was and that no, it's not Robotech, but kind of like Robotech because they borrowed some of the designs. It was also the first time I actually got 'cred' because the box I pulled out was from when it was called Battledroids.

And yes, that was a good feeling. It was awesome. But it wasn't acceptance. Yes, I was allowed to fly my freak flag high and proud, but I was not taken in by the 'geek' crowd unquestioned. I was challenged. People told me how it was cooler before the combat gamers came along. Everything is always cooler before you showed up. After working for years in a trendy record store I've come to know this as 'Punk Rock Cred.' It's not exclusive to punk rock, and 'geekdom' is not immune.

Back in college I returned to gaming conventions to film a documentary following a group of gamers at Dundracon. One of the scenes I ended up having to cut from the documentary was a shot I had of a member of the group announcing that "Unlike most of the people here, I know the touch of a woman and it's Valentine's Day, so I must away." In the background of that shot, a couple shared a kiss. In fact most of the b-roll I had featured the fact that women now made up a great deal of the audience at the convention.

His attitude was outdated, but his smugness was as true to the geek scene as I've always know it. From the blog posts I've been reading, this smugness, this exclusivity, this guardedness is new to them. There have been a lot of scolding, wagging fingers telling them to stop like it's a new fire that has popped up. But, and maybe this is the unfortunate element of my age, it's not new. It's been there all along. This wide open arms of acceptance, that's new. I don't have anything against it, but I felt I had to say something.

Wait, Geek is a Good Thing Now?

The other problem is the idea of 'self-identifying' as a geek. I actually kind of remember this transition and having discussions about it. Because it wasn't always that way. It was not a label you gave yourself, it was one you dreaded being applied to you. You hid your Ghost Rider collection, you denied that character sheet was yours, you did whatever you could to not let people know that you still rushed home to watch Robotech. It wasn't a label you aspired to. I was never comfortable with the notion of it being self-applied. I didn't want to hide who I was, but I didn't want my tastes to define me either. More to the point, I didn't want the mainstream's understanding of what I liked to define me. These were good stories and fun games not because they were weird or different, but because they were good stories and fun games.

But now it is. And like all scenes, no one likes the new comer. This isn't unique to geekdom. Ask someone who goes to Burning Man, to a one I'm willing to bet they'll tell you how cool it used to be. I have to tell aircooled people how long I've had my Bus before there's any sort of 'acceptance,' and I lose points with her being my only one. But extra so for the geek, because the problem is when 'geek' became cool, they didn't.

And the word has gone generic. So even if you were comfortable with self identifying as a 'geek,' it went from being something of a cultural identifier to simply being enthusiasm, diluting any meaning it might have had to those who have managed to rally around it.


When geek became chic there was this notion that suddenly it was sexy to be a geek. But here's the problem:

If you're a pretty geek, this isn't a problem. But if you're not...if you're that guy with the sweet Nintendo wizard set up, your life is very different. And if you're that guy it doesn't seem fair that the pretty girl who wouldn't talk to him gets to waltz into the scene and enjoy all the good parts and none of the drags.

Now, I grant that on many levels that isn't fair. We don't know the lives that these pretty geeks have had, how they've been perceived and how they perceived themselves, we don't know if they've been teased. But the feeling is, right or wrong, that they do not really share the life in the way someone who cannot 'pass' does.

There is a fantastic webseries (and I'm not just kissing up because I want one of the producers to star in my hopefully upcoming short) about geek dating called Awkward Embraces that is written by and stars a self proclaimed geek who also happens to be pretty. I have to admit, and was called out on it a bit when I met with one of the producers, that my first reaction was to think, "Yeah, well...this isn't my story." The first episode covers a classic Walk of Shame and the first season her love interest is a, if I may say, dreamy guy.

To Captain Nintendo up there, this is not his life. This is not his experience. Now, the series is wonderful and the episodes are only eight minutes long, perfect for an internet attention span. And I'm not denying that this is her experience. I'm sure it is, and they're wonderful to watch.

But no one is telling Captain Nintendo's story. There's a scene in American Splendor where Harvey gets frustrated with Toby, who is completely taken with the release of Revenge of the Nerds:
Look Toby, the guys in that movie are not 28 year-old file clerks who live with their grandmothers in an ethnic ghetto...They didn't get their computers like you did, by trading in a bunch of box tops and $49.50 at the supermarket...Sure, go to the movies and daydream, but Revenge of the Nerds ain't reality. It's just Hollywood bullshit.
And that's the reality of the geeks who didn't get the luxury of labeling themselves geeks. Because when geek became 'cool', it wasn't that girl that is still super strange, and it wasn't Captain Nintendo there either, it was pretty people. And when the geek stories are told, it's stories of pretty geeks. When geeks are celebrated, it's the pretty ones.

Right or wrong, that breeds resentment. Resentment from people who are already guarded, people who already have to be protective because 'geek' is not a label they get to apply to themselves. And the pretty people are telling them to get over it. They were never allowed to define themselves, and when their culture hits the mainstream as far as they're concerned the same people who have been labeling them their entire lives are now getting to define the culture, their little nook that they've been shoved into as well.


I don't want to sound like I'm on the side of the gatekeepers. I had mentioned punk-rock cred...nothing garnered more disdain than the notion of punk-rock cred. Scensters were a complete drag...if I may, we were hating Hipsters before it became cool to hate Hipsters. Truth be told, I hated that barrier to acceptance in the 'geek' world as much as I hated it in the mainstream one. It was a pain in the ass, it felt like shit. It still feels like shit. I've never been to the San Diego Comic Con because or Wondercon because I didn't feel like I would be able to fit in with the ugly geeks or the pretty geeks. I've driven that Bus for 17 years, I still feel awkward going to VW club meets. I don't talk at jazz shows in case someone over hears me and finds out I don't know what I'm talking about, even if I might. And filmmakers...they're the worst. Whatever they're working on is the Citizen Kane of whatever medium they've chosen, and whatever your doing is an adorable pet project. And no doubt there is some film person out there that just scoffed at me choosing Citizen Kane. And what's even sadder, I've done that.

There is nothing about prettiness that precludes someone from being into 'geeky' things. There is nothing illegitimate about it. I do believe that pretty geeks have indeed struggled, especially in that prettiness is largely subjective and even if we think someone is pretty they might not have felt that their entire lives. I imagine that it can be extremely frustrating to not feel attractive your entire life only to find a group of seemingly like minded people only to have them reject you for being 'too pretty.' Something that non-pretty people have a hard time grasping, and something I have to remind myself of constantly, is that 'pretty' does not always equal 'accepted.' They are separate.

Look, the truth of the matter is that every scene goes through this. They struggle to gain relevance in the mainstream and then have to struggle back to retain their identity once they hit that. It doesn't make it okay, just a reality.

Ideally, the best way to avoid a scene giving someone status is to not be exclusive about that scene. But the Toby's of the world, the ones who thought their moment had arrived only to find themselves shoved to the back again, that's a hard pill to swallow.

I don't want to get myself in a position where I'm advocating 'geek cred' or purity checks or excluding pretty people from fandom. I'm not and I don't think we should. The truth of the matter is before 'geek' hit the mainstream the Captain America movie sucked. There wasn't a TV station dedicated to sci-fi. Battlestar Galactica was cheesy. Geek culture is a market, long before it became 'chic'. And if a show about Superman has to have a healthy dose of Dawson's Creek thrown in to run for ten years to go on to also be one of the only super hero tv shows to include actual canon without splash titles, then so be it.

I'm no more patient with scene gate keepers now than I was at the record store or any of the many times in my life I've felt left out. I don't need anyone to prove their cred to me, if for no other reason than I don't want them to check mine and find me lacking. And as to the case of Ms. USA defining herself as a 'geek'...I'm absolutely sure, in the modern parlance, that's how she feels. It is entirely believable in the beauty pageant world she lives in she doesn't find a lot of people who share her passion for history or science. I remember working a horrible, horrible sales job and during some down time reading Watership Down only to find myself in an awkward five minute conversation with someone who could not conceive of someone doing unassigned reading, I imagine she's had to put up with that a lot. There is nothing illegitimate about that. I just wanted to maybe give some understanding about the people who feel that way who don't get to take a break from that and be beauty queens, even if I don't agree with the way it's expressed or acted upon.

I don't know that this accomplished anything.

Here is the discussion up to this point:
The spark what lit the fire.
When Geeks Become Bullies
And more
Hopefully from there you can find the chain of the conversation if for some reason this is your introduction.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Shadow: Preview of Terror

Lamont Cranston/The Shadow: Bret Morrison
Margo Lane: Grace Mathews

Villains: Murderer

Sponser: one? Education? All of the ad space in this particular program was spent promoing other Mutual Network shows (including Mayor of the Town featuring Agnes Moorehead who also played Margo Lane. I don't know if that's before or after. It is before she started calling Darren 'Derwood' on Bewitched, though.) The middle ad was a promotion for science education in America. Still timely.

Well, I'm bored, so it's time for me to comment on another Shadow radio program.

Like the last Morrison/Mathews Shadow program, this one is light on the life Cranston and Lane have outside of fighting crime. We know they're going somewhere and that it's super important, but we don't actually know what it is they're going to. Thanks to a little used narrator we do know that it is raining pretty heavily and that there is a man waving a lantern in the roadway. Of course, we learn that in the dialog, too. That's the thing about radio play dialog, it is sometimes overwhelmingly expository.

To that end you can almost generate the old man's frustration trying to inform our intrepid travelers about a washed out road. Anyone who has had to warn someone about a hazard can feel it. Essentially, it's "You can't go down here. Roads washed out." "Is it bad." "It's washed out." "Well, we really need to get by, how bad is it washed out?" Insert the sigh that should go here..."Too bad to pass through."

With no small degree of menace the old man informs our travelers that there is a little used road they can use to pass, but suggests that their best course of action would be to go home.

This of course is a rouse. The first of a few rouses that happen in this particular episode. Instead of a crossing they find a house with a creepy old woman who has been expecting them all along. She also manages to insinuate that the man with the lantern has been dead for years. Creepy, yes?

Well, any attempt to leave is thwarted by a giant man who has pulled out the distributor of Lamont's car, knocking out both Cranston and Lane, apparently.

I don't want to give away the cross/double cross of it all, but once again The Shadow is more or less a spectator to the murderous plot, only showing up in time for people to die. This time the person shot while giving The Shadow information actually manages to eek out his accusation before finally dieing. Of course, his theory is wrong, but oh well.

The whole plot is actually figured out by one of the satellite characters while Lamont is chasing red herrings in the parking lot. The Shadow only shows up in time to prevent the exposed murderer from adding to his list of victims, apparently 'as the man says, they can only hang you once.'

There's some great exposition lines in here. When someone opens a secret passage Lane exclaims, "A hand...a human hand!" Thanks for clarifying that...when the hand is identified as a womans, Cranston clarifies "and exceptionally beautiful woman."

The premise hangs on another one of my favorite tropes of The Shadow. Lamont Cranston knows everyone. This person is a famous director that both Lamont and Lane had met 'on the coast' some time ago. This is a pattern for The Shadow, quite often, knows some key figure in the story. Most often the villain. Which is an interesting implication. Lamont Cranston is a complete shit judge of character, most of his friends turn out to be mad scientists and murders. It might actually be that he had to adopt the persona of The Shadow because he was surrounded by madmen.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Shadow: One Dead and Two to Go

Lamont Cranston/The Shadow: Bret Morrison
Margo Lane: Grace Mathews

Villains: Gangsters/Women

Sponsor:Blue Coal

Keeping with my notion of just reviewing these in the order they appear in my iTunes playlist. I'm not sure where in the timeline this program is (or many of the ones I have, for that matter.) The sponsor of this particular episode is Blue Coal, who was a long time sponsor of The Shadow as most of the programs I have are sponsored by Blue Coal.

Since this is the first one I'm doing, let me get into my thoughts on Blue Coal. First of all, I had no idea how much of this stuff people used. Most of the episodes begin and end with an appeal to call your local Blue Coal dealer and ask for your trial ton. That's right. Ton. Trial. Unless it's a wartime episode, then they assure us that even with rationing there is plenty of coal for everyone as long as everyone only takes what they need.

The second thing that I've learned is that heating your home with coal is a serious pain in the ass. So much so that they had to employ another fictional character, John Barcley (a sort of "Hank Hill" of coal) to explain how to get the most out of your coal. Sometimes that advice is to install some sort of automated system (the beginning of the show includes a pitch for an auto-stoker) and sometimes the far more complicated instructions on how to stack your coal that involves opening and closing a bunch of things and a great deal of raking. This one involved making some sort of pile and...well, I didn't understand it really.

So, the old school detective show format of either introducing the victim or introducing the criminals mid-crime goes back at least this far as we eavesdrop on our criminals in the midst of stealing one-hundred thousand dollars.

Naturally, this goes awry and in the escape our apparent villain Petey is left behind to take the rap. In order to convince him to do so the leader of the 'gang' that pulled this heist off brings in Petey's wife and tries to tell her that keeping Petey from "singing louder than an amateur soprano" is in everyone's best interest.

Which, of course, it's not. In the world of The Shadow, there is no honor among thieves. People who take the rap end up with the rap and usually have to work that out themselves. In all honesty, revenge for the double cross does more to eliminate criminals than The Shadow does. Most of the time he's just there to rub that shit in at the end.

As one would expect, Petey's wife is a looker. Which of course means that she becomes part of the post-heist prize.

Lamont and Margo enter the picture when Cranston has drug the intrepid Ms. Lane to yet another court case where Petey's lawyer enters a Guilty plea despite the judge's warning that it carries a 20 year sentence.

There is a note here about the different tones of the various Shadow programs. This one contains a reference to the long suffering Commissioner Weston but no Weston himself (more on him later), and there is no off topic banter. At some point in the series Margo and Lamont are given some sort of life outside of crime fighting, whether it's Cranston rich guy lifestyle or Lane's society woman activities. But here, it's just Cranston dragging Margo to a case. He does this a lot, it provides a fair chance for exposition, why we should know the lawyer or the defendant or something, though this time Cranston is only bringing Lane up to speed on what we know is going to happen. We already know that Petey is going to plead guilty and even that the gang is going to double cross him.

This late entry of Lamont and Margo is an indication of how little The Shadow is involved in this story. We don't hear from them again until after Petey makes his escape (while being wounded). He goes to visit the lawyer a second time because he has "an idea he'll The Shadow."

That is our most common introduction to The Shadow. Lamont wants to go talk to someone, often some they've talked to before, Margo expresses that the person won't talk or whatever, and Lamont insists they'll do it...for The Shadow.

Which I've always thought was kind of a dick move. She knows he's The Shadow, does she keep forgetting? Well, no, because sometimes she serves up the line herself, so I guess it's really just a cute little game they like to play with each other. Or maybe later in the series she's just making fun of his melodrama.

This episode has not one, but two of my favorite trope from The Shadow, the guy who dies right before giving The Shadow the key piece of information he needs to know. Usually the person is shot in the process. Apparently, if you're going to do crime in this city, keep an eye out for people who look like they're talking to themselves, they're probably giving you up to The Shadow.

And because of that timely death The Shadow continues to be a spectator in the drama as Petey seems to be going on his killing revenge spree. In fact, in this narrative we know way more than The Shadow does, who only pops in now and then to be too late to save one of Petey's victims.

Meanwhile, it seems that Mrs. Petey's loyalty has been bought over by the mob boss with a diamond necklace. The mob boss and the wheel man have their traditional showdown as they realize that they are the last two left from the heist splitting the $100k and decide that now would be a good time to split the money, before anything else happens.

Which of course does before the money is split in The Shadow's second attempt to get someone to confess only to have them shot mid-sentence. When I sort out a way to host audio here, I think I'm going to compile these events, they're kind of awesome.

We work our way to the end of the story and The Shadow is still trailing behind it as the cross and double cross begins to unfold. The mob boss shows up with the $100k to take Mrs. Petey away only to find out where everyone's loyalties lie.

I'm wrestling with 'spoilering' these endings since it's not likely the two or three people that might read these will listen to the actual show if they can find it. I'm going to err on the side of caution for the moment even though this particular ending says a lot about attitudes towards women in The Shadow radio programs.

What I will say is that The Shadow prevents almost nothing in the end as well, showing up only to foul up the last act of villainy in order to leave a witness so someone will face murder charges.

It seems weird, but the arbitrary nature of the selection has meant that the first one I did was the least Shadow episode of The Shadow possible. This isn't as uncommon as you would think in mobster episodes, generally I like to imagine that it's the hardworking radio script writers who have their gangster scripts running around wedging The Shadow into their stories when that's the job they get.

The Shadow's biggest dick-move comes from his first 'appearance' when he interviews the shady lawyer. Most of the time the mobsters know who The Shadow is, a conceit to the notion that if there is an invisible man who keeps getting mobsters busted, that might get around. However, if they know who the Shadow is we don't get the exposition for the new listener that he's invisible. That's usually handled by the person either blurting out the exposition ("The invisible crime fighter who works on the side of the law!?!") or we get to see their plan to take care of The Shadow should they ever met him.

In this case it's the latter. How it comes about, however, is why it's the dick move. After The Shadow gives his trademark laugh introduction the lawyer is momentarily stunned, after which The Shadow asks, "Aren't you going to ask me to sit down?" What? Of course he does, even offers The Shadow a drink before hurling the decanter at the chair...which of course The Shadow isn't sitting in. For once, The Shadow's laughter is motivated, but now it's motivated by this little trick he pulled on this dude for no other reason than to just fuck with him for a minute.

Bet he wishes he had that minute back when the guy gets shot right before giving him the name he was looking for...

The denouement is fairly pointless since, unlike Lamont and Margo, we've been there for the entire story, so it just sums up what happened for people who might have tuned out at some point in the program.

So, there it is, my first haphazard run at reviewing/commenting on The Shadow radio program.

New Semi-Project, Hosted Here!

So, I got another bug up my ass and this time I can just do it here since we're not using it for anything else anyway.

I am a huge fan of The Shadow. Like, a huge fan. Well, okay, this is the internet, there are bigger fans out there by a bunch. But I'm a pretty big fan. And I have this collection of Shadow programs that I've amassed over the years.

Every once in while I bore someone near me with my thoughts on The Shadow or various programs and then I thought, "Hey, the internet is nothing if not a giant pile of unsolicited opinions!" So, to keep my friends and still get this out of my system, I'm going to summarize/review(ish)/comment on every episode in my collection here. This is obviously not a new idea, there are actually a lot of sites with summaries and reviews of The Shadow. Well, here's another one.

This time there is no time-table or anything like that. I'm going to do it when I feel like it and I'll figure out the format as I go. Hopefully someone will enjoy it.