Chandu the Magician

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Chandu the Magician

This atmospheric radio adventure series first sounded its trademark opening gong in 1932, appearing at the forefront of a popular interest in magic and the occult which also produced Chandu's more famous fellow heroic students of the black arts, The Shadow and Mandrake the Magician. Like any talented prestidigitator, Chandu was able to appear in several different places simultaneously, and thus managed to frustrate the world-dominating ambitions of his archenemy Roxor in a feature film (1932) and a movie serial (1934) while also holding down his day job in radio. Chandu disappeared in 1935 when the initial series of 15-minute adventures came to a close, but the master magician had one more trick up his dapper sleeves, reappearing out of the ether to a delighted public in 1948 in a new production of the original scripts before vanishing for good in 1950. Thus, in the words of radio historian John Dunning, Chandu The Magician "… became one of the last, as well as one of the first, juvenile adventure shows of its kind."

—Kevin Lause

Further Reading:

Dunning, John. On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York, Oxford University Press, 1998.

Harmon, Jim, and Donald F. Glut. The Great Movie Serials. New York, Doubleday, 1972.

Lackmann, Ron. Same Time, Same Station: An A-Z Guide to Radio from Jack Benny to Howard Stern. New York, Facts On File, 1996.