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.”

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?'”

I would watch the *heck* out of that

Someone also chimed in with, “Bring Me the Head of Beta Ray Bill”

Readlist: Harry Vincent, you had ONE JOB

85dca8303aefc105db3c1a3eb158a084A sinister force holds New York City’s elite in terror! A mysterious madman known as….The Black Falcon!….is kidnapping and holding millionaires for ransom across the city. He strikes at will, contemptuous of the hunches of NYPD ace, Detective Cardona, and the personal direction of Police Commissioner Weston. Even the chance intervention of celebrated world traveler and big-game hunter, Lamont Cranston, barely disrupts and does not even foil his dastardly abductions!

In fact, the menacing mind of the supercriminal is quick to grasp that Lamont Cranston is The Shadow! And thus, plans his most daring and most astounding coup yet–the kidnapping for ransom of…Lamont Cranston!

Caught, threatened by gunfire and with his guests’ lives at stake, the eccentric millionaire has no choice other than to go quietly! He is taken, like the other victims, to a remote hideaway. Of course, instant news of the capture is communicated to Burbank, but with their chief gone, who will direct his agents? All hope lies on the one man placed in readiness, the one man with the record of faithful service, the one free agent of The Shadow standing by: Harry Vincent! We, the readers, know of the dedication and prowess of men who serve The Shadow’s cause of justice! We know their selflessness, their expertise, their….

….Harry Vincent gets spotlighted and whacked with a sap within half a chapter of his appearance. Great job, Harry. Why does he even keep you around?

Rated: That Lamont Cranston’s a quiet sort of chap, isn’t he?

mixed blessing

One of the (moderately) good things to come out of the new Dune movie is the increased normie and normie-adjacent chatter about it. Most of this is inane and/or stupid, but there are some takes that are worth a snigger or two.

The entire thread is worth reading

Edited to add:

Overheard on and offline

“Show of hands…oh wait, you can’t raise your hands, this isn’t a real class.”

“It is worse than useless to tell someone to calm down. You might as well try to baptize a cat.”

“So as far as eye contact goes, people are basically like dogs.”

“It’s the sweet little old ladies you feel bad about being mean to.”

“Do you think she knows she has problems?”

Movies With My Mother – The Phantom (1996)

d2b1d18794538e17fa764db17506afef“What kind of movie is this? What are they looking for?”
“I dunno.”
“Can you just give me an outline? What are they looking for?”
“….I could have figured that out myself.”

“This is like that movie with Harrison. Who stole from who? They steal from Indiana?”

“Who is that?”

“Oh look! right behind there! Did he get away? Did he get away with that little head thing?”

“This is so like that Harrison movie. Or was it Lara?”

“And what’s with the purple outfit?”

“Uh oh. Uh oh! Oh this is too much.”

“….This is like Batman!”

“Oh that’s a shame. The whole bridge is gone.”
“But the kid’s OK.”

“So what happened to that skull?”
“The other guys got it.”

“I know him. I don’t care for him. He was a bad man in another movie…”

“What’s with the hair, look, check the hair out!”

“Is there a book to this?”

“Look at him, it’s Anthony…is it?”
“…Oh yeah,  it is….”
“Anthony Quinn! Wow, look at him!”
“Yes! I was thinking Anthony Quayle. It is him! Quinn.”

“Look, look! He already got the mayor and the police chief!”

“Ooooh what’s he goin’ do with him? Is he goin’ mess with his eyes?…Ohmigosh!”

“Who is this?”
“A bad guy.”
“A bad girl! Bad girls!”
“Hey, it’s Catherine Zeta-Jones!”

“Stop the thing! I just got it. Stop it! I just got it! I just got it! I just got it! Diana Palmer! That rings a bell! It’s The Phantom! The Phantom from the comic strip! Oh, I just remembered it when I heard her name! He was purple? I remember it being black and white! Oh my gosh!”


“Who is this guy, by the way?”

“I don’t remember The Phantom being…I barely remember it. This is from when I was ten years old!”

“Why he taking the child with him? He’s putting the child in danger. He is! He’s going to go rescue someone, he’ll be in danger!”

“OK, he’ll hold the horse. Hopefully.”
“No, he’s sending him home.”
“Good. Hopefully he is smart enough to go home!”

“Did The Phantom have a dog? The dog is his scout?”the2bphantom2b0122b2528196525292b2528gold2bkey25292b2528c2c25292b2528rescan25292b2528comicnut25292b2528abpc2529_phantom2b12-01

“How did the horse know where to go?”
“The dog told it.”
“Of course.”

“How come they…oh. Because they shot at the thing.”

“Oh no. That plane gonna go into a mountain?”
“They always do.”
“And blow up?”
“They always do.”

“Why is that stupid horse going so fast?”

“What did they just see? Who are these people?”
“Bad guyssss.”
“Did he just throw that man out?”

“What, did she get shot or something? All of a sudden she tired?”
“It’s the adrenaline dump.”

the_20phantom_2001-08_20july_201966_20gold_20key_20comics_large“I just don’t remember anything about The Phantom. Just that I used to watch it. And I used to read it for a little while. It was a comic book. Way back.”

“What’s all this?”
“Where did he get it?”
“It’s a secret hidden temple. They always have treasure in secret hidden temples.”
“And they are in the secret hidden temple? And he just gives her a string of pearls? To remember him by? Just like that?”

“That is such a stupid costume.”

“Oh he’s signing his own obituary. His death thing.”

“See him? He back there is a traitor! He’s working for them! See!”

“This fool gon’ break the glass?! Oh! How did he get there so fast? Ooooh, someone told him!! That guy told him! Look!”

“Ooooh, look look, what’s happening, Riders?”

“Oh, he brought the skull together, you’re not supposed to bring them together! They do something when they’re together. They’re pointing to the third skull, look!”

l3uu“I don’t know that girl’s face. She have a face like she could be a thousand girls.”

“He has to put more oomph into when he hits them so they stay down!”

“What is his power actually?”
“He’s got some guns.”
“What is The Phantom’s power?”
“Apparently to have guns and wear purple.”

“I don’t wanna see this. This is violence! How did he get out?”
“He jumped out.”
“So everybody can see him? Oh and the police will be after him!”

“Oh that’s pretty cool.”
“It’s what he used to in the jungle!”

“The Phantom. Gosh, if I could remember anything except ‘The Phantom.’”

“You mean this fool couldn’t get away without them seeing?”

“So what did that girl say?”
“She knows who he is.”
“Who who is?”
“The Phantom.”
“Oh. But Diana didn’t know.”
“Diana does know.”
“How did she know?”

“How did he get up on the plane?”

“Ohhhh, look, it’s creepy! They don’t know where they going, but they’re going? Oh look at him, look at his mouth, heh heh heh. He’s scared. Look, they really are going in somewhere.”

“Amazing. They knew exactly where to go.”

“Who are these people? How did they get there?”
“They been guarding it all along.”
“It’s a sacred hidden temple, you always have people guarding sacred hidden temples.”

“What was that? You weren’t looking. What was that?”
“What did it look like?”
“Looked like something going under the bridge. It looked like a critter.”
“Then it was a critter going under the bridge.”

“Your dad says I would be scared of Dune because there are worms. Worrrrrrrms.”

“Say that again!”
“Things going under the bridge?”
“No, before that. You said something and it was funny.”

“How he don’t know the man won’t just beat him up and take both skulls?…Uh oh.”

“Oh, he gon’ die.”

“Uh oh! Look! Look!….Awwww, again?”

[due to a stuck FF button, we missed about five minutes of the climax]

“…Star Wars.”

“So all that destroyed him? And the fire is from that….?”
“The skulls…I dunno, they reacted with the other skull?”
“What other skull?”
“The skull on his ring was the fourth skull.”

“Wasn’t bad at all!”