The Shadow debuted on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious narrator of the radio program Detective Story Hour, which was developed to boost sales of New York City publishing company, Street and Smith's, monthly Detective Story Magazine.
Initially narrating "tales of mystery and suspense from the pages of the premier detective fiction magazine.", the bulk of the radio series was written by 'Maxwell Grant', a fictional name created by the publishing company. Although several different people wrote under the pseudonym, Walter B. Gibson wrote most of the stories, 282 in all.
The Shadow's exploits were also avidly followed by readers in The Shadow magazine, which began in 1931 following the huge success of the old-time mystery radio program.
In 1937, Street & Smith entered into a new broadcasting agreement with Blue Coal, and that summer Walter B. Gibson teamed up with another writer, Edward Hale Bierstadt, to develop the new series. The Shadow returned to network airwaves on September 26, 1937, over the Mutual Broadcasting System, with Orson Welles starring as Lamont Cranston, a "wealthy young man about town."
However, it was radio veteran Frank Readick, Jr who spoke the famous words "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" He created the echo effect using a water glass next to his mouth. Now, I've tried this, and I sound nothing like he did! You should try it - I'd love to see some videos or 'selfies' of you guys giving this a go! You can post them on our RUSC Facebook page.
After Orson Welles departed the show in 1938, Bill Johnstone was chosen to replace him and voiced the character for five seasons. Following Johnstone's departure, The Shadow was portrayed by such actors as Bret Morrison (10 years total in two separate runs), John Archer, and Steven Courtleigh.