Wednesday, December 11, 2019

K.A.C. 2019 - T - 14 ...

     Welcome back! Two weeks to go until Santa's arrival - have you finished your shopping? Have you STARTED your shopping? Are you even bothering? Well, let's not stress about the big gifts ... for today, let's just concentrate on the stocking stuffers, shall we? With that in mind, I've got the PERFECT addition to our Christmas For Your Ears holiday stories, featuring one of radio's longest-running hosts (and shows): The Shadow. 

     The Shadow was the top superhero crime fighter of the pulp magazine era, whose exploits ran for 325 stories, beginning in 1931 and continuing until 1949. Of those, one man, Walter B. Gibson, wrote 282 tales, cranking out a full-length novel twice a month - a feat unduplicated by any other writer of the pulp era.

     The magazine became so popular and sold so many copies each month that it was a natural for radio and began in 1930 with the character The Shadow serving as narrator for different detective, mystery and suspense stories. The format was changed in 1937, with Gibson co-writing actual adventures of The Shadow (or adapting stories from the pulps) for radio audiences. As Wikipedia notes: 

     "The series, inspired by an announcer character on earlier anthology series, premiered on the Mutual Network on September 26, 1937, and ended on December 26, 1954. The 677 episodes aired over 18 seasons, including an additional summer series in the first season."

     Many actors portrayed the character of The Shadow on radio, most famously Orson Welles (during the years 1937 and 1938). Today's tale comes from December 24th, 1939, and features William Johnstone as The Shadow - it's an interesting example of shoehorning a Christmas tale into a type of hardboiled tale that usually went much darker. Remember what I said at the beginning of this article about Christmas stockings? Well, give a listen to The Shadow in 'The Stockings Were Hung': 


     Switching gears, it's time to peruse our pungent potpourri of oddball stories. Let's get right to it, shall we?

      First up, I've been waiting for The Sun or one of the other UK papers to report on this year's 'Grotty Grottos' - the seamy 'Winter Wonderlands' that pop up like afterseason ticks to surprise you - and wasn't disappointed. The spanner in the works this year? It's not the PARK that's Grotty - it's the tourists! Read more here: 

      Next up, a surprisingly touching and funny animated short of the season about what happens when a little girl writes a Christmas wish list to Santa ... and makes a typo with two letters. Enjoy 'Dear Satan', with narration by Patrick Stewart!

      Think that's just a cute as Hell short? Oh, Hell, no! What if I told you a similar typo happened in real life, where a newspaper ad promised 'pictures with Satan' as part of their celebration? One enterprising young man wanted to make DAMN sure the little tykes wouldn't be disappointed, so on the appointed time ...

      And speaking of all those little devils acting up, Our Mascot has been a bad boy this year! I'll grant you it's supposed to be part of his job, but not THIS bad!


     More tomorrow!

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