‘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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