Radio Archives: The Green Lama – The Case of the Crimson Hand Review (2011)

As always I want to give a big thank you to our friends over at Radio Archives for giving me the chance to review their latest Will Murray Pulp Classic Audiobook, the Green Lama!

Before I get into the review I figure you might want to know a little more about the Green Lama. The pulp character of the Lama and his alter ego, Jethro Dumont, was the brainchild of Kendall Foster Crossen. Crossen was asked to come up with a character that might attract the readers of the popular Smith and Street publication, the Shadow.

Will Murray interviewed Kendall about his famous Pulp creation: “I was trying to pick a name somewhat like in sound to Lamont Cranston,” Crossen candidly admitted. “You know what I mean, Lamont-Dumont. It was as close as I dared get to Lamont Cranston. A book had just been published about an American who had gone to Tibet and studied and had become a lama, the only white person who ever had at that time. The result was the Green Lama, which the company liked.”

The Green Lama wasn’t as deadly as his Pulp brother in arms, the Shadow, nor should he be. Dumount held the ‘mystic’ ability to become radioactive and use electrical powers to shock his foes. Beyond the supernatural he was a master at disguise and for his choice of weapon he chose the Kata, a ceremonial scarf, and wielded it to bind and confuse his foes.

At the behest of his Editors, Crossen changed his original character’s name of the Grey Lama to the Green Lama, the editors felt that the color was too dreary to catch the eyes of the public at the newsstands. Crossen using the pen name of Richard Foster wrote the Case of the Crimson Hand for the 1940 issue of Double Detective magazine and the Green Lama not surprisingly found his audience. 13 more issues followed spread out over a four year time period but the end of the Double Detective magazine did not mean the end of green-hued avenger of the innocent. You see, Crossen had the rights to his character so he took the Green Lama to a different audience, the comic book reading youth where the character became even more supernaturally powerful.

Then in 1949, Crossen sold the Green Lama to CBS to be on their radio network to compete with the Shadow once again. The radio series lasted only one year but the part of Jethro/Lama went to the legendary Paul Frees, famous for not only his radio work for voicing characters like Boris Badenov from Rock and Bullwinkle and John Lennon and George Harrison in the Beatles animated series to name just a few.

Now it’s 2012 and Radio Archives has Will Murray’s next exciting audiobook, once again narrated by the exceptional Michael McConnohie. They were the team responsible for the Doc Savage: Python Isle audiobook, one of my personal favorites featuring the Man of Bronze.

With this latest audiobook we get two stories, The Case of the Crimson Hand and Croesus of Murder! The first tale finds our hero involved with a villainous mastermind named the Crimson Hand who is threatening the city with a weapon that will not only bring the United States to its knees but the entire world. Could it have something to do with the new ‘Liquid’ Ray that Doctor Harrison Valco has discovered?

The second tale of Pulp excitement, Croesus of Murder, finds the Lama matching wits with another mastermind but this time in the Florida Everglades…against a camp of Nazi sympathizers..and their leader the Fuehrer of Crime! Can the Green Lama and his associates best these vile Aryan Brotherhood and their despicable concentration camps to free the prisoners?

The answers to those questions can only be known by visiting the Radio Archives site by following the links up top and purchasing this fantastic audiobook for yourself! The Digital download is a mere $11.98 while the physical set sells for $17.98, on the site for $34.95 you can also purchase the Complete Pulp Adventures, Volume 1:
Volume 1 contains in introduction by Will Murray and features the first five stories:
“The Case of the Crimson Hand,”
“The Case of the Croesus of Murder,”
“The Case of Babies for Sale,”
“The Case of the Wave of Death,”
“The Case of the Man Who Wasn’t There.”

So why not turn off the television tonight, lower the lights, and spend the evening with some high adventure in Pulp?

The Shadow By Chris Samnee!

I’ve posted some of the wonderful artwork by the incredibly talented Chris Samnee here on the site before. When I stumbled across his illustration for the best Pulp character of all time I knew I had to share it as well, because “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?”

If you like Chris Samnee’s art make sure to visit his blog by clicking the link provided above or better yet pick up some of the fantastic work he’s done for Marvel Comics at your local comic shop today!

The Shadow Sunday Pt. 2

To finish up this idea I had for the Shadow Sunday we are going with another wonderful illustration by yet another legendary comic book illustrator, Jim Steranko. It looks like in this piece of art that perhaps Steranko himself donned the cape and scarf of the the famed vigilante with the power to cloud men’s minds!

Thanks to Comics Alliance for the pic above. Speaking of things relating to pulp, thanks to our good friends over at Radio Archives I’ll have a special review this week, concerning what most fans think of as the polar opposite of the Shadow. Stay tuned!

Return Of The Originals: Battle For L.A.

The glass pane shattered inward as the shadowy avenger of the night known to the citizens of the city as Vic Sage hurled himself through it…inside the darkened room as he rolled to a crouched position the misshapen creatures he had spied from the outside stirred sluggishly at his unexpected entrance. Some growled and others mewed, distorted flesh barely recognizable as being once humanoid, the results of the nightmarish genius of the vile Professor Walker aka Doctor Efialtis as he was known to the world at large.
“Ah, Sage…it would seem that once again you and I shall dance with death!” the mad Doctor’s voice bellowed in the room.
It took the vigilante only a few moments to scan the room, his highly trained senses detected the voice of his nemesis was coming from behind what looked like a bookcase. Reaching into his trench coat, the avenger withdrew a cylindrical device, hurling it to the floor at his feet he covered his featureless face as the room erupted into a bright light that rivaled that of the noonday sun! The nightmarish beasts of Doctor Efialtis raged at their sudden blindness, the poorly developed eyes that the evil genius had crafted them for underground living ill-suited the daytime illumination. As the device began to lose its charge, Sage darted forward, his gloved fists connecting solidly with whatever looked most like facial features on the poor creatures. The vigilante did his best to not tremble as his punches connected, it was like giving sacks of jelly his best haymaker, he thought to himself.
Scant minutes passed and the avenger had finished with the beasts, they lay at his feet. He used the the last of the dying light to quickly examine the bookcase, searching for the hidden lever that would allow him entrance. With a whoosh the bookcase slid back and into the wall of its own accord, the vigilante leapt backwards as a metallic talon swiped at the spot he was standing in just seconds before.
Light from behind the advancing automaton filled the library, the only thing of flesh and blood atop the monstrosity was Doctor Efialtis’s head which began to cackle, “Ha, ha…How do you like my improvements, Sage?”
“Improvements, Walker? What has your dark genius wrought?”
“Walker? That weak name no longer holds any meaning to me nor does the title of Doctor! One as brilliant as myself may only be called by a fitting title…the reign of Emperor Efialtis the first has begun!”

Whoa, are you still here? Sorry about that stuff up above…I have a mighty passion for all things pulp as you can probably imagine by now. I can remember listening to my grandparents as I sat in their living room as they talked about the Shadow and the Green Hornet. As soon as I found a stash of audio tapes at my local Hasting’s in my youth I became an avid listener to most Radio Shows, whether they be pulp related or not. Luckily for those that share my passion for the likes of the Spider, Doc Savage, The Avenger, etc. Moonstone Books who have fantastic comic books based on everything from Buckaroo Banzai to Kolchak: The Night Stalker to the Phantom and many more have released a new title that is on store shelves right this minute, Return of the Originals: Battle for L.A. Better yet, unlike what I wrote above, the story is really good!

To avoid any true spoilers here is the blurb from the back of the book:

“In February, 1945, a strange giant object appeared in the night sky above Los Angeles. The U.S. anti-aircraft shore artillery opened fire, planes were scrambled, and schemes were hatched, as over 1000 shells were fired at this object.
No amount of ammunition seemed to affect this slow moving monstrosity.

What this object was remains a mystery to this day!
Moonstone has unearthed the classified government documents that show the real truth!

The Phantom Detective, The Black Bat, Domino Lady, G-8, and Secret Agent X all teamed up to get rid of this threat!”

CJ Henderson and Mark Sparacio have done an excellent job with this first title, Moonstone Books is going to release new works that deal will all manner of classic pulp heroes in the upcoming months. I for one cannot wait until they do so!