On this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo on KUCR 88.3 FM you heard a deep cut from Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, The Shadow Knows. The Mindbenders are best known in the U.S. for their hit songs Game of Love and a version of A Groovy Kind Of Love which you may also know from the Phil Collins' version which appeared on the soundtrack of his 1988 film Buster. Unlike The Mindenders' hit songs, The Shadow Knows is brooding and slow with odd howling and shrieking in the background. The song was originally performed by The Coasters, a group that gained fame from their novelty songs Charlie Brown and Yakety Yak. The Coasters' version is a bit cheerier than The Mindbenders' version which leans more towards the macabre.
The Shadow Knows is based on the radio drama The Shadow which famously used the line; "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows." and due to the popularity of the radio drama, the line; "The Shadow knows" became a sort of catch phrase which people would repeat in their daily lives.
Did you brush your teeth today? The Shadow knows.
|Tearing your face off? The Shadow knows.|
Although there were many pulp magazines, comic books, and serialized dramas based on The Shadow my first and only real exposure to the character was through the 1994 film starring Alec Baldwin. If you watch the film within the context of 1994, you can understand why the film received underwhelming reviews and box office sales to match. The film is fairly stylized and has exciting visual effects but at the time many people were quick to associate The Shadow with other film noir/pulp/golden age comic inspired movies such as Batman Returns (1992) and, perhaps in a more damning way, Dick Tracy (1990). It's one of those films that you really want to like but ultimately it leans too hard on aesthetics and ignores the importance of good dialogue and character building.
If you want to listen to some of the old episodes of The Shadow radio drama, check out the collection on Old Radio World. Tracking down issues of the pulp magazine aren't as easy but I've found a few archived websites which has text versions of The Shadow Magazine, as well as, a couple scanned issues on archive.org.
Have you listened to this week's playlist? The Shadow knows.