BW - EP131—010: Orson Welles Is The Shadow—The Mercury Theater Leaves The Shadow

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The success of The Shadow was shared by Blue Coal. Billboard reported that twelve months after the premiere their sales were up nearly eleven percent. Blue Coal was selling for as much as two dollars per ton more than their competitors. In February of 1938 Orson Welles opined that “radio’s future big-wigs will be college graduates.” By then more than ninety colleges offered courses in radio speech, while radio writing was taught at fifty-seven colleges, and fifty-three colleges were teaching radio acting. Both radio music and radio law were also becoming class offerings. The last episode of The Shadow’s autumn run aired on March 20th, 1938. Although everyone knew who played Lamont, for the first time on air, Orson Welles was given credit for his role. Welles was contracted to produce twenty-six more episodes for a syndicated summer run. They co-starred Margot Stevenson as Margot Lane. Ironically, the character was named for Miss Stevenson who was originally supposed to play the role that fall. Goodrich Tires would sponsor the summer run, with Blue Coal immediately signing on for another season in the fall. Agnes Moorehead would again play Margot, but Welles would be leaving for CBS that summer and taking the Mercury Theater troupe with him. Welles was contracted to produce twenty-six more episodes for a syndicated summer run. They co-starred Margot Stevenson as Margot Lane. Ironically, the character was named for Miss Stevenson who was originally supposed to play the role that fall. Goodrich Tires would sponsor the summer run, with Blue Coal immediately signing on for another season in the fall. Agnes Moorehead would again play Margot, but Welles would be leaving for CBS that summer and taking the Mercury Theater troupe with him.

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