Fantasy Casting: The Shadow

So about the only description given of The Shadow–the nameless, potentially literally faceless dark avenger and master of stealth–is that of a tall, thin man with a hatchet nose and burning eyes (sometimes, rather distractingly referred to as “optics”); his features are often noted as being creepily immobile, “almost masklike.” With time, he can take on any disguise, such as the one he most often wears: that of Lamont Cranston; he can pass with ease in any layer of society. Incidentally, he does not wear a red scarf, or leave his nose poking out over it. Sheesh.

6000870_135233599219Walter B. Gibson, considering the question, apparently thought that John Wayne would be able to physically pull off The Shadow–but not Lamont Cranston. (Which is fine, they could cast him as Shiwan Khan instead.) Similarly, he dismissed Orson Welles as a fine voice actor but…not so much an actioneer. Victor Jory donned the cape and hat  for the 1940s serial and has a decently Shadowy look about him, but apparently didn’t make the cut at all. In the 1990s, of course, Alec Baldwin did a decent enough job in The Shadow movie, but he was honestly far more Bruce Wayne than Lamont Cranston…or The Shadow. 

In fact, Gibson considered that (wait for it) Ronald Reagan would be the perfect actor for the job.

The Shadow isn’t some useless playboy; he’s a mature man, and even his borrowed identity is that of a world traveller (and this was back in the days when travelling was hardcore) and big-game hunter. He’s as comfortable exchanging barbs with the Police Commissioner in the Cobalt Club as he is gliding through a darkened alleyway with armed thugs waiting for him. He’s taken on this war with a steady, meaningful purpose not motivated by emotion; he’s not despairing the loss of his parents, or grieving a love interest, or lashing out for a slight or a wrong. HE’S A HELL OF A LOT MORE STABLE THAN BRUCE WAYNE IS WHAT I’M SAYING, BASICALLY.

114ce89e1854ab3a295addAnother actor whose description fits the bill (he was also 6’3) is Michael Rennie, possibly best known for The Day The Earth Stood Still, but also serving a marvelous turn in the deathlessly wonderful Princess of the Nile (1954, Debra Paget sword-fights bad guys in a bikini after dancing for them. You’re welcome.) and not to forget The Wicked Lady. On the other hand, although he might have the right look and the height, Rennie’s screen persona tended to be easy-going and kindly. He might not have been able to pull off the intensity required.

For the modern day, Raz0rfist via his Shadowcastknows twitter, suggests Tobias Menzies. All I can say is that he doesn’t know how to wear a hat properly. 

Half the battle

“Do you want to watch Shang-Chi?”
“What is that?”
“That’s the new Marvel movie.”
“Is Shang-Chi some Chinese person?”
“I don’t wanna watch that. Is there a new Avengers movie?”
“No, they’re all dead.”
“They all got killed off so they could bring in new characters like Shang-chi.”

“Does anybody want to watch Ninja?”

“Does anybody want to watch Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear?”
“We didn’t go for Ninja 1, she trying to sell us Ninja 2!”
“….Batman Ninja…?”

“Can we see Frozen 2?”

“Your uncle is not a movie person. You know what he likes? Hallmark movies.”
Dune is kind of like a Hallmark movie….”

“Can I see something like Legally Blonde?”

“L, do you know Audie Murphy?”
“Uh-huh. He is a cowboy actor. Oooold-time.”
“Audie! He’s not a car, he’s a person.”

“You know what is a good movie is? House of 1000 Corpses.
“I have Ninja Assassin…..”

“What is Blade Runner about? Is that about ice skating?”
“She’s writing that stupid question you asked down, look.”

The Matrix! You haven’t seen The Matrix.”
“I haven’t? Is it like Terminator?”
“It’s like a Hallmark movie.”
“Riders, stop.”

“You know what I like? Always In My Heart.”
“What is that?”
“It’s like an old Hallmark. 1950s.”
“Does it have action?”
“It’s like an old Hallmark movie. It’s very sweet.”
“Does it have ninjas?”
“It’s sweet.”
“Does it have cowboys?”
“It’s sweet.”
“Does it have terminators?”
“….It has all of them.”
“Do you have it?”

“This is Always In My Heart?”
“It is?”
“D, you are giving her such good lines.”

State of the author: blessings

shadow52fcPrimus: This is supposed to be a sci-fi/fantasy review blog. I swear, I have at least three posts upcoming on that theme:

  • Moms in SF,
  • a review of Jawbreakers: G0d-King,
  • and…since I’m now at The Shadow #59, The Crime Master, which is superb…there’s going to be a review of probably that one,
  • and definitely a review of The Circle of Death, which was also superb.

Secondus: Count your blessings. A gratitude habit / journaling or recording things you are grateful for each day, with specifics, is a powerful tool for improving mental health and resilience. And the amazing thing about being specific in numbering out your blessings is that they will multiply before your eyes.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


“I will come back,” the Wolf Boy stated. There was no bravado in him. He spoke as ever: without fear, without doubt, without understanding the weight of the word.
“You must never come back here.”
“I will come back, and I will free you from these chains.”
The Witch’s hands, which had risen with sharp defensive motion towards her hood, sank slowly to her sides again. “You cannot free us from chains we have chosen.”

Overheard: country roads….

“Looks like this is a great road!…I was being sarcastic. This road looks like…holy [bleep].”

“All right, car, you’re cool but you’re not that cool.”

“Did I shred that bird?”

“Oh man, fresh oil and loose gravel? Hell yeah, looks like a good time.”

“Stay strong, li’l all-wheel drive soccer mom van….”

“I ain’t driving over that. We’re parking here. [sung] These boots were made for walkin’…and that’s what they’re gonna do….

“That cow was not there before.”

“Are you writing ‘Next time bring map of X County?'”