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The Shadow: Rare 90's Merchandise

The Shadow, a 1994 adventure film starring Alec Baldwin was a special effects extravaganza produced by Universal Studios that did not pay-off. It's not for lack of trying though. The studio financed a massive marketing blitz worthy of the hero that the mysterious pulp magazine and radio icon ultimately inspired, Batman. Even though the general public was apathetic towards The Shadow, it was still was a major movie event of my childhood and I gathered up as much of the merchandise as I could find at the time of its release.


Unfortunately the film's almost immediate failure at the box office caused many of the products bearing the invisible avenger's image to be pulled quickly from shelves before I could get to them. Though I've owned every home video release, have the official movie magazine and even joined The Shadow fan club, there are still many elusive items I need to satisfy my obsession, Recently I scoured eBay for the missing items in my collection and was amazed by what I found. 

The Shadow T-Shirt


If my local Target or JC Penney had a rack full of these beauties on display during the Summer of '94, my back to school shopping experience would have been an absolute joy. I can just imagine walking into my first day of 7th grade and instantly making an impression on my classmates. Maybe they would have started calling me "Shadow" as a nickname and my occasional outbursts of theatrically maniacal laughter would have made more sense. Not kidding, I once used the echoing acoustics of my middle school hallway to create the ultimate Shadow laugh and in the process confirmed my spot as the ultimate weirdo.

The Shadow Watches


I have owned many cool watches in my lifetime, a Starfox Nintendo Game Watch, a wrist mounted TV remote, but none were as classy as this watch of The Shadow. Apparently this was a prize to be had through a Keebler promotional giveaway (see below), but there was also another model available at Burger King. Not participating in a snack food promotion is understandable, but totally missing a fast food movie tie-in is inconceivable! The closest I ever got was settling for one of those BK reversible Star Wars digital watches years later. There's just no comparison in my mind.


The Shadow Lunch Box


OK, this article is quickly starting to sound like Yogurt from Spaceballs, "Shadow the t-shirt, Shadow the wrist watch, Shadow the flamethrower (the kid's love that one)", but The Shadow lunch box is worthy of coveting in my mind. I'll admit that I was firmly in the brown sack lunch phase when Aladdin produced this beauty, being 12 at the time the film hit theaters. However, had this been available through my local grocery store it's very possible I would have endured any and all ridicule hurled at me by my peers.

Tiger Electronics Handheld


Every movie, TV show or sports star had a Tiger handheld LCD video game, so the fact that The Shadow got his own hunk of digital plastic is no real shock. That being said, it's such a sign of the times and has become one of my most sought after collectibles.(It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.) This item turns out to be especially important since it is the only video game based on The Shadow to officially see the light of day.

Unproduced Super Nintendo Game


This licensed game of The Shadow was nearly completed by Ocean in 1994, but when the film tanked it was decided not to release it. Seriously, if this game had actually hit stores, my Super Nintendo may not have been shoved in the back of a closet to gather dust. Luckily it was not lost forever to video game legend because a ROM surfaced online several years back, so you can actually play the game!


The graphics are pretty decent for the time and with beat 'em up style adventures being my favorite type of video game, this would have been a major win for me. Luckily there are online sellers offering both a reproduction cartridge and box design that will allow me to retroactively declare The Shadow to be my favorite game for the Super Nintendo. Take that, Mario Kart! 

Keebler Brings You The Shadow?


Finding this promotional cap blew my mind. I knew there was a lot of merchandise featuring The Shadow, but I had no idea there was a tie-in with Keebler. I'm trying to imagine which of their snacks would have been fitting enough for a mystical vigilante to grace the box in his frighteningly intense manner. Did they add a hat and scarf to their E.L. Fudge cookie design and I somehow missed it?


According to shadowsanctum.net, Keebler was running a touch tone phone game where if you called into 1-800-SHADOW-1 and you could win everything from The Shadow pinball machine (see below) to a copy of the unproduced SNES game that I mentioned above, yet there's not a word about a hat on the potential prize list. I wonder if this chincy cap was the stand-in prize for the Super Nintendo cartridge, since there ended up being nothing to ship out to those who won it. What a mystery!

The Shadow Pinball Machine


I've heard it said by many that 1992's The Addams Family by Bally/Midway is the last great pinball machine, but I think The Shadow from 1994 deserves a shot at the title. It is an endlessly fun game with beautiful artwork, great audio clips from the film and innovative play features.


First of all, you shoot the ball with one of The Shadow's silver colt .45s, which is awesome. Then you can play on a raised platform mimicking the revolving throne room from the film's climax. Finally, it has a brick wall that opens up to allow your ball entry to the Sanctum, which is The Shadow's version of the Batcave. What more do you want?!

Radio Replica Tape Player


Now this is pretty awesome. Prior to the movie's release I had bought many cassette tapes of the old radio broadcasts from the 30's and 40's that made The Shadow a household name back in the day. If I had been able to play those tapes through a replica radio this like, it would have been my own version of Back To The Future. I would have sat there imagining myself sitting in front of the this wooden box of wires necxt to my Dad did when he was young.


According to the eBay seller though, I never had a chance at owning this upon its release. He explains, "One was given to each Video Store during a promotion for the movie, based on the number of Movies purchased for Sale... I took one home and have used it in my Formal Dining Room since they were shipped to our video stores, 23 years ago." Had I been so fortunate to own this rare item I would have been living 2 amazing dreams, owning a video store and a vintage radio.

The Shadow Rings


In the film, The Shadow gives his agents rings that confirm them as members of his international crime fighting network. I assume these cheap-o models with illustrated graphics were intended to be impulse buy items at checkout counters, but since most people were unaware of The Shadow I doubt many were sold at any price.



Now these replica rings were a different story. So beautiful, so hypnotic, so screen accurate! I remember desperately wanting one for myself after seeing the ad for these in the official movie magazine, but didn't have the guts to ask my parents for $100-400. Frankly, who would? Although there was another piece of The Shadow jewelry I could have so easily called my own and not owning it has haunted me for over 2 decades.


The Shadow action figures by Kenner came with a special offer to get a Shadow Agent Hologram Ring with the purchase of any 2 toys. Well I had six figures (action figures, not money in the bank), so I went ahead and cut out 2 proofs of purchase from the card backs, but that's where it ended. I never mailed them in! I can only imagine I was too busy watching Saved By the Bell reruns to walk out to the mailbox. As a result, I have held on to this duo of cardboard squares for 23 years and still they mock me. I know it's just a chincy plastic ring with a lenticular sticker, but I own every other item from that toy line and so without it my collection remains incomplete. (Sigh)


Thanks for giving me a chance to gush about this forgotten cinematic gem from 1994 (again). If this gave you any interest in the film or you're already a fan, I invite you to check out the latest episode of my podcast, SequelQuest, where we spent an hour sharing our ideas for a sequel to The Shadow. Just go on over to www.sequelquestpod.com or search SequelQuest on iTunes to listen now.
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Mr Magic Posted on Sep 07, 2017 at 10:07 PM

I never got to play it, but back in '97 we were walking down the sidewalk in downtown Panama City Beach, FL and I noticed there was one inside a bar.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 06, 2017 at 11:44 PM

@NLogan Like I said, even I missed most of the merchandise as I recently found out. So no surprise you didn't catch sight of it either.

@MrMagic Say what you will about the movie, the pinball machine is tons of fun. Where did you see it?

Mr Magic Posted on Sep 06, 2017 at 05:55 PM

I remember the pinball machine.

NLogan Posted on Aug 26, 2017 at 02:19 PM

Aside from the action figure line I don't remember seeing any of the Shadow merchandising. However as you know I also listened to the cassette tapes of the old radio broadcasts. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"

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