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Hysterics in Old Time Radio

Hysteria and other psychological conditions made great story material for the anthology old time radio programs of the 40s and early 50s.

14 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 6 hours, 25 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
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7 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from February 24, 1944:

"Agnes Moorehead in Sorry Wrong Number"



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About this Old Time Radio Show

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Anges Moorehead in Sorry Wrong Number

In common parlance when we hear about hysteria we think of an emotional or psychiatric condition where an individual begins to lose control of their facilities. Although their fears may make perfect sense from their own point of view, to those around them it is obvious that they are sinking deeper and deeper into the depths of insanity.

Actually, Freud may not have been too far off. The term hysteria comes from the Greek word "hystera", or uterus. Thus, for generations in European medical traditions hysterical neurosis was believed to be associated with "female conditions". In fact, it was believed that the best treatment for a young woman who was displaying neurosis was to get her pregnant. Pregnancy would moisten the womb and bring balance to the blood flow through the rest of her body.

There have also been cases of "mass hysteria" where a group or even a whole society begins to act in a fashion which is clearly insane. At least, the insanity is clear to outsiders looking in.

Peter LorreModern medicine recognizes that most cases of hysteria are in fact manifestations of the mind trying to deal with psychological trauma. No matter what the cause, there is no denying the fear and frustration that is felt as your spiral deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit of insanity.

Hysteria and other psychological conditions made great story material for the anthology programs of the 1940s and early 1950s. They were actually a product of the times, as the world grew more and more complex during the War Years and in the beginning of the Cold War, it was natural to feel as though life was beyond your control. Not being in control is a particularly debilitating fear, especially in the early Cold War era when millions of lives could be snuffed out if our leaders ever lost control of themselves.

One of radio's classic descents into madness is Agnes Moorehead's on Suspense's "Sorry, Wrong Number". Orson Welles called Lucille Fletcher's radio play "the single greatest radio script ever written". The confused heroine hears on her telephone party line (tell your kids that this was something they had before 3G networks) that a murder is being planned, but no one will believe her. She begins to doubt her own sanity until she realizes who the actual victim will be.

If there was ever a voice which embodied criminal insanity, that voice belonged to Peter Lorre. His Mystery In The Air kept listeners terrified as a summer replacement for Abbott and Costello in 1945. In one tale, "The Mask of Medusa", we hear Lorre as a criminal who has been frozen alive by the legendary mask.

The science fiction anthology X Minus One explores madness as man faces the unknown of the future. In "The Martian Embassy" story, the detective thinks that his client is the crazy one because he is looking for Martian invaders. When he discovers that the client is not a screwball but a serious danger, how can he convince anyone that he is not the crazy one?

See also: Mad and Insane in OTR

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:
  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    14 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 6 hours, 25 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      14 shows - total playtime 6 hours 25 minutes
      1. Escape 471231 021 Confession.mp3
      2. Inner Sanctum 451106 244 Wailing Wall.mp3
      3. Mita 470807 Ep 06 Great Barastro.mp3
      4. Mita 470814 Ep 07 Lodger.mp3
      5. Mita 470821 Ep 08 Horla.mp3
      6. Mita 470904 Ep 10 Mask Of Medusa.mp3
      7. Mita 470911 Ep 11 Queen Of Spades.mp3
      8. Mita 470918 Ep 12 Black Cat.mp3
      9. Suspense 440224 Sorry Wrong Number Afrs41.mp3
      10. Suspense 491201 361 Mission Completed.mp3
      11. Suspense 510426 426 Thirteenth Sound.mp3
      12. Suspense 560501 648 Waxwork.mp3
      13. X 1 550728 011 Embassy.mp3
      14. X 1 551214 029 To Future.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    14 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 6 hours, 25 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      14 shows - total playtime 6 hours 25 minutes
      1. Escape 471231 021 Confession.mp3
      2. Inner Sanctum 451106 244 Wailing Wall.mp3
      3. Mita 470807 Ep 06 Great Barastro.mp3
      4. Mita 470814 Ep 07 Lodger.mp3
      5. Mita 470821 Ep 08 Horla.mp3
      6. Mita 470904 Ep 10 Mask Of Medusa.mp3
      7. Mita 470911 Ep 11 Queen Of Spades.mp3
      8. Mita 470918 Ep 12 Black Cat.mp3
      9. Suspense 440224 Sorry Wrong Number Afrs41.mp3
      10. Suspense 491201 361 Mission Completed.mp3
      11. Suspense 510426 426 Thirteenth Sound.mp3
      12. Suspense 560501 648 Waxwork.mp3
      13. X 1 550728 011 Embassy.mp3
      14. X 1 551214 029 To Future.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    14 recordings on 7 Audio CDs
    total playtime 6 hours, 25 min

    Hysterics in Old Time Radio Disc A001

    1. Suspense 440224 Sorry Wrong Number Afrs41
    2. Inner Sanctum 451106 244 Wailing Wall

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    Hysterics in Old Time Radio Disc A002

    1. Mita 470807 Ep 06 Great Barastro
    2. Mita 470814 Ep 07 Lodger

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    Hysterics in Old Time Radio Disc A003

    1. Mita 470821 Ep 08 Horla
    2. Mita 470904 Ep 10 Mask Of Medusa

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    Hysterics in Old Time Radio Disc A004

    1. Mita 470911 Ep 11 Queen Of Spades
    2. Mita 470918 Ep 12 Black Cat

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    Hysterics in Old Time Radio Disc A005

    1. Escape 471231 021 Confession
    2. Suspense 491201 361 Mission Completed

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Hysterics in Old Time Radio Disc A006

    1. Suspense 510426 426 Thirteenth Sound
    2. X 1 550728 011 Embassy

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Hysterics in Old Time Radio Disc A007

    1. X 1 551214 029 To Future
    2. Suspense 560501 648 Waxwork

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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