Conceived in 1939 at the behest of the editors of Munsey Publications to compete with the juggernaut that The Shadow had become in print, on radio, and in film, The Green Lama was the creation of writer Kendell Foster Crossen, who was asked to think up a hero who could lure mystery-minded readers away from The Shadow's loyal legion of followers.
©1940, 1968 Kendra Crossen Burroughs (P)2013 RadioArchives.com
Returning to the States, Dumont assumed an alternative identity of the Buddhist cleric, the Reverend Dr. Pali, then began gathering about him a band of civic-minded citizens to join him in his Buddhistic battle against suffering in all forms - particularly that caused by criminals. And aiding him from the shadows, the mysterious Magga, a woman of many faces who had taken an interest in guiding The Green Lama's campaign against malefactors.
It was an outlandish concept. While The Shadow possessed the power to cloud men's minds after his time in the East, The Green Lama relied on other, even weirder powers - including the ability to become radioactive and electrically shock opponents into submission! He carried a traditional scarf, which he employed to bind and befuddle opponents, and possessed a knowledge of vulnerable nerve centers, which he put to good use in hand-to-hand combat.
Writing as Richard Foster, Crossen produced "The Case of the Crimson Hand", which was published in the April 1940 Double Detective under the equally colorful title "The Green Lama". That first installment raised the magazine's circulation several notches. Amazingly, the Lama was a hit.
"The real success of the Lama was because of the mysticism," Ken Crossen recalled. "We received a tremendous amount of mail about the Lama. His first case and its sequel, 'The Case of the Croesus of Murder', are presented in one set, voiced by the talented Michael McConnohie. You'll never encounter another hero anything like him. Om Mani Padme Hum! The Green Lama knows!"