During the month of February, I’ll be taking a look at the character of Sax Rohmer’s Dr. Fu Manchu. The first of a three-part series begins this Friday, February 10, with a description of who Fu Manchu is and the novels in the adventure series. In the following weeks, I’ll be looking at the films and television shows before discussing whether this character has a place in the 21st century.
To start off this month-long analysis of Fu Manchu, let’s start with the 1939 radio program, The Shadow of Fu Manchu. It wasn’t the first time Fu Manchu had been featured on the radio. There were radio appearances on The Collier Hour as far back as 1927, followed by a CBS program in 1932 along with several BBC productions.
In 1939, The Shadow of Fu Manchu aired as three-times weekly serial before eventually expanding to five daily episodes. In total, there were 156 episodes. Ted Osbourne played Fu Manchu with Hanley Stafford as Nayland Smith and Gale Gordon as Dr. James Petrie.
For a much more detailed analysis of Fu Manchu on the radio, I recommend you read the January 20, 2012 edition of Martin Grams Blog. Martin is a legend in the field of old time radio history and has written numerous books on various programs, including The Radio Adventures of Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu. Both are highly recommended!
Now, warm up next to the fire and listen to the first episode of The Shadow of Fu Manchu. The Insidious Dr. Fu Manchu originally aired on May 8, 1939.