In The Annihilist (November 1934), there are some interesting items. A couple of times I could close my eyes and imagine I was reading about some other character besides Doc Savage. Then there’s this expression: Basenstein reporting,” he repeated over and over. “Basenstein reporting.” Report,” directed a voice over the receiver. At this point in the story the reader does not know exactly to whom Basenstein is reporting. It turns out to be Hardboiled Humbolt but it reads like something that Maxwell Grant penned.
Here’s an example from The Shadow, The Crime Cult (July 1932). “Burbank reporting,” he said. “Report,” came the voice.
Moving on to The Mystic Mullah this is an interesting passage:
Of course, it’s Doc Savage and not The
Shadow but the reader could be excused for getting the two
confused here. This stuff gets you to
thinking. Let’s go look at Cold Death:
The Shadow is a big fan of blue ink
as is shown in The Living Shadow from April
The Purple Dragon from September
1941 has another Shadow-like cameo. A dark clad
figure roams the night as he “shadow’s Fielding Falcan who
enters an office. This unknown, laughs “mirthlessly”
as he trails his man. The figure, who is completely
clothed in black, enters an office directly above
Falcan’s. This office belongs to a “John
Jones.” The Jones name bring to mind the B. Jonas
name used in The Shadow.
Lastly in The Three Wild Men (August 1942) here is a nod at The Shadow. One trait the wild men possess is an unpleasant kind of laugh.
So in regards to The Shadow it looks like
Lester Dent was having a little fun.
The Shadow is not the only Street & Smith character to make an appearance here. Falling back to The Annihilist we come across this passage:
This is the same weapon Richard Benson,
The Avenger uses a few years later.
Finally, let’s remember a henchman we encountered in The Seven Agate Devils:
These are the same facial characteristics
that become The Avenger’s trademark. While The
Shadow already had his own magazine, these Avenger-like
references all appear before the first issue of the
magazine. They are some of the raw materials that
ended up as Richard Benson.
Sometimes it looks like characters from the competition are stopping by. There is an interesting ring in Mad Mesa from January 1939. Tom Idle stares unbelieving at his hands. He is also wearing a very interesting ring that would be more at home in the pages of Operator #5.