The Hypnotized Audience’ — “The Shadow”

The March 27, 1938, broadcast of “The Shadow” was entitled ‘The Hypnotized Audience’. The Shadow and his partner Margo Lane are embroiled in a plot to free a convicted murderer by kidnapping the state governor and hypnotizing him into freeing the prisoner.

Durga Khan, a mystic and dancer from the Far East, is presenting a show in New York. He is renowned for his oriental dancing, but unknown to the public, he’s also a very powerful mass hypnotist. His opening night is a major society event. The police commissioner Weston is in the audience. So is the Governor. So is Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane. Cranston expresses to Margo a certain surprise that the governor is present, because the state prison is preparing to execute a notorious criminal at midnight that night, but a special phone line has been run into the governor’s private box so that he is in contact with the prison even as he watches the performance.

At one point during his performance, Durga Khan lights a beautiful blue candle and invites the audience to take part in a ritual prayer-chant. Of course, this is how he hypnotizes the entire audience, including Margo Lane. The only one who shakes off his influence is Cranston: he snaps out of it just in time to see a pair of men kidnapping the governor. He is, however, unable to prevent the kidnapping, but he knows that Khan was, indeed, hypnotizing the house and that he must also have a hand in the kidnapping.

To make a long story shorter, the convict about to be executed is the brother-in-law of Durga Khan. He has kidnapped the governor and hypnotized him into phoning the state prison and granting a stay of execution. Under the Shadow’s direction, Margo Lane intercepts the call, pretending to obey the governor. The Shadow, of course, rescues the governor, catches the criminal Durga, and informs him that the execution went forward on schedule.

The Hypnotized Audience’ in MP3 form can be found here.

History: Orson Welles was famous for his radio performances as The Shadow at this time.

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