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Orson Welles Radio CinemaIn the first half of the twentieth century a little boycould conceivably have heard Orson Welles longbefore he heard of him The year was 1937 and over the ethercame the cavernous menacingly righteous growl Who knowswhat evil lurks in the hearts of men The Shadow knows Heh-heh-heh A twenty-two-year-old prodigy world wanderer andeventually man for all media had assumed the radio role ofthe Shadow alias Lamont Cranston the man of mystery whocould cloud mens minds so that they cannot see him Thereis indeed in this description a foreshadowing of the magicaltricks and Germanic expressionism that were to go into themaking of the film Citizen Kane Some would say that Welles became a personification ofhis Lamont Cranston character when he began making featurefilms in 1940 That is to say that his prior work with radiohad taught him much about the workings of the human psycheand as such he had become a master of clouding the mindsof his audience to such an extent that what they saw in hisfilms and what they experienced while seeing them were twodifferent things entirely Penny Mintz has described OrsonWelles as an artist who gains control our ability toorganize the barrage of stimuli that is constantly assaultingus Weis and Belton Film Sound 289 She goes on to saythat a careful study of Citizen Kane reveals a progressiontoward manipulation of the viewer s powers of concentrationhis visual and aural perception and disorientation of hisspatial and temporal organization 289 In fact some would say that without having invented andhoned his storytelling craft as part of the Mercury RadioTheater Group prior to his embarkation on the Kane projectthe resulting film and those that followed it might wellhave found a rather bland destiny The influences of Welles background in radio drama uponCitizen Cane and much of narrative film thereafter are quitepronounced and with little more than a cursoryconsideration one begins to realize the extent of thisinfluence The first and most superficially apparent ofthese
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