The Shadow: Spider Boy by Joe Bates Smith

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The Shadow: Spider Boy by Joe Bates Smith. Perf. Bret Morrison, Lesley Woods. Mutual Network, 11 Nov. 1945. Download

Listening to this episode of "The Shadow," the long-running series of thrillers that involved Orson Welles in the late Thirties, and actually ran until 1954, made me realize just how fertile the scriptwriters' imaginations actually were.

While weaving cloth in an attic, a lonely boy befriends a giant spider. Soon after, he also tries to romance a girl in the small room, but she screams of shock and runs out the building when she notices the spider. On the street, she bumps into (aka The Shadow (Bret Morrison)) and Margot (Lesley Woods) and is taken to the hospital because she is hysterical. The duo head back to the apartment building and the lonely boy notices their approach from his window. While he hides, they enter the attic. The giant spider comes out to attack and Cranston shoots it dead.

Then follows a tale of pursuit and revenge where the boy (who has now become the giant spider) captures Margot and holds her captive. Needless to say she is rescued in the end, and the Shadow's familiar refrain about being everywhere is heard to close the episode. But in the space of twenty-four minutes we have been made aware of just how destructive human beings can be, especially when they allow their bestial natures to emerge beneath the cloak of civilization. To point that out in such a short space of time is no mean feat.