- The Shadow/Lamont Cranston
- Pete Stockton: A contractor and an old school
friend of Lamont.
- Pop Burkey: Pete's partner in the company Pete's
father and Pop set up together.
- Joe Branley: A contractor and Pete's rival.
- Margo Lane
- Commissioner Weston
Synopsis: (Warning! Contains spoilers!)
100 feet under the river, working on the intercity tunnel,
the listener is introduced to the "Sandhogs": specialized construction
workers who work in areas under high atmospheric pressure. Mr. Pine, who
is seemingly new, is called to the decompression chamber at the end of
the day to join his fellow workers. He is informed about "the bends":
a fatal condition in which the high pressure leads to the formation of
nitrogen bubbles in the blood stream. To return to to surface without
being properly decompressed would mean death. The decompression chamber
helps them adjust to the deep tunnels or the surface atmosphere by either
raising or lowering the pressure. But today would be different as the
workers suddenly notice that the pressure in the decompression chamber
is dropping faster than normal. It is too late to escape.
In the car, Margo notices that Lamont is preoccupied
with his thoughts. He tells her about the death of the eight workers in
the decompression chamber. An old school friend, Pete Stockton, is the
contractor in charge of those men. The intercity tunnel is his first big
project since the death of his father.
Upon visiting Pete, they learn that he filled with guilt
over the men's deaths and plans to quit. A new contractor, Joe Branley
will take his place on Monday. Pop Burkey, Pete's father's partner in
the business, comes to tell Pete that the men still want to work for him
(Pete) instead of Branley. Pete introduces him to Lamont and Margo. Burkey
was a partner of his late father's when they broke into the sandhog business
together. Burkey had suffered in an accident some time ago and couldn't
work in the tunnels anymore, so Pete's dad found him work on the surface.
When Pete leaves, Lamont asks Burkey for any opinions regarding the dead
men. Burkey believes it was no accident, and reveals his theory that maybe
Branley, who was competing alongside Pete for the tunnel project and was
beaten out, is now out for revenge. Lamont considers it and decides to
visit Branley as The Shadow.
The Shadow overhears Branley on the phone. Branley learns
that the job has been handed over to him, and that he will be at the tunnel
to "settle this thing once and for all". The Shadow makes himself
known to Branley and demands to know who was on the phone, Branley confesses
his innocence, but refuses to tell him who he was speaking to.
Lamont returns to the tunnel and is met up by Margo.
Burkey has called Lamont, as he has noticed that someone has gone into
the tunnel. He had found the elevator at the bottom of the shaft after
returning from dinner. Burkey takes them down to the tunnel, and into
the decompression chamber to adjust the pressure in their bodies to the
pressure in the tunnel. As Lamont and Margo search the tunnel, Burkey
decides to go back to the surface to prevent the intruder's escape. Margo
wonders if this is a good idea. Just then, they hear a cry and the lights
go out. Finding their way back to the door, they find it locked. Burkey
doesn't answer their cries. Suddenly, the foreman's phone starts to ring.
Answering it, Lamont hears Branley's voice telling him that he doesn't
like his meddling and that he'll turn up the pressure until the tunnel
explodes, causing the river to flood the area, killing both Lamont and
Margo. He hangs up. Margo asks if it was Branley; Lamont thinks so. As
the pressure builds, Lamont comes up with an idea to climb up the framework
of the reinforced tunnel. They scramble up the structure. Suddenly, Margo
slips and the listener hears the tunnel explode....
Commissioner Weston learns from Pete that
even though the tunnel was drained, Lamont's and Margo's bodies
were never found. They must have been washed away by the river.
Burkey was found knocked unconscious outside the tunnel. Feeling
that Lamont cared so much about him to risk his life, Pete
will go back to the tunnel to finish the work in Lamont's
honour. Weston assures him that cops will be stationed around
to prevent mishaps, as he guesses that the decompression chamber
accident was intentional.
When Pete goes into the tunnel. Weston is suddenly contacted
by The Shadow, who tells him that he knows who the murderer is. The murderer
will finish the job today by blowing up the pump, as his final victim
is Pete himself. Hidden, Weston and The Shadow lie in wait. When the murderer
appears, the police pounce on him. It is none other than Burkey himself.
Margo and Lamont visit a surprised Weston and explain
their escape from death. They managed to reach the top of the structure
before the tunnel exploded and found an air pocket. Lamont remembered
that there was an escape chamber at the top of the tunnel, something Burkey
had forgotten about. It seems Burkey hated Pete's father because he thought
him responsible for the accident that ended his career in the tunnels.
Also, Pete's father ended up marrying the woman he loves. So, instead
of extracting revenge on the father, he decided to get back at the son
and tried to implicate Branley.
In the end, Lamont and Margo got to do something they've
been dying to do: read their own obituaries!