The Shadow (1994 film) Celebrates It’s 25th Anniversary

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?

What’s the problem?  Isn’t this movie jogging any memories?  That’s alright.  Many people have forgotten about this one.

The Shadow is a superhero created by Walter B. Gibson in 1931.  He’s actually older than both Batman and Superman.  When placed side-by-side you can clearly tell that The Shadow was used as a heavy influence on the creation of Batman.

In 1994, Universal Pictures gave The Shadow his very own feature film simply titled – The Shadow.  It starred Alec Baldwin as Lamont Cranston a.k.a The Shadow.  Other supporting characters in the film were played by John Lone, Penelope Ann Miller, Peter Boyle, Ian McKellen, Jonathan Winters, and Tim Curry.

The film follows wealthy playboy Lamont Cranston over in Tibet shortly after World War I.  He decides to stay in Tibet, change his name to Yin-Ko, and sets himself up as a drug warlord.  While running his empire, he is kidnapped by servants who work for Tulku.  Tulku knows Cranston’s true identity, and shows off his otherworldly powers.  Cranston is offered a chance to change his life and be an agent of good.  The offer is refused, and he stays under Tulku’s watch for the next seven years.  In that time, Cranston undergoes massive amounts of physical training, learns how to hypnotize others, read minds, and warp the perception of others so he cannot be seen, besides his shadow.  Once the seven years were up, Cranston moved back to New York and resumed his old life.  At night though, he fights the criminal underworld as the vigilante called The Shadow.

Every superhero needs a villain.  That’s where Shiwan Khan comes in.  He’s a former student of Tulku, and a descendant of Genghis Khan.  Of course Khan wants to fulfill the destiny of his ancestor, and dominate the world.  I won’t spoil how it ends.

Released on July 1, The Shadow was planned to be a big summer blockbuster.  Unfortunately it faced tough competition among other movies like The Lion King and The Mask.  It never made it passed #2 at the box office.  It started off strongly, but quickly lost momentum.  Since it’s release on VHS and DVD, The Shadow has gained quite the cult following among fans.

Universal Pictures had plans for The Shadow to be the start of a new franchise.  Once it didn’t make enough money, that went out the window.  Despite that, merchandise for The Shadow was all over the place.  I distinctly remember owning four action figures.

Guess what else The Shadow had?  You got it.  Trading cards.  Topps created a 90-card set for this movie.  A majority of the set consists of photos from the film.  These cards have a very Stadium Club-like look to them.  Other than The Shadow logo in the corner and two green lines going across the bottom, the main focus is on the photographs.

In addition to the movie photo cards, there are (10) Shadow Legend art inserts.  (4) Topps Finest inserts are by far the most difficult cards to pull.

Not a whole lot of value can be found here.  It was mass produced, and even the “rare” cards aren’t in demand.  Alec Baldwin autographs should’ve been included.

I was eight when The Shadow came out.  At the time I wasn’t old enough to see it in the theater.  I had to wait for it on VHS.  The toys stick in my memory more than the actual movie itself.  The hype for it was unbelievable.  I think I watched it a few times, and moved on.

The Shadow drew me in because he reminded me so much of my favorite superhero Batman.  It wasn’t until years later that I discovered Batman was actually inspired by him.

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