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Mad Scientists in Old Time Radio

A common trope for a villain, the fear of mad scientists tends to come from the fear and distrust of scientific discovery.

44 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 18 hours, 33 min)
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20 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from May 18, 1944:

"Donovans Brain Pt 1"



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About this Old Time Radio Show

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

The world of science encompasses the entire world and more, and there should be no questions that a scientist is afraid to ask in their quest for knowledge of creation. However, there are "boundaries which ought not to be crossed", and the only scientists who would dare to explore beyond them would be considered mad.

Frankenstein

The prototypical mad scientist is Victor Frankenstein, introduced in the gothic novel Frankenstein of the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. Although endowed with generally superior intelligence, Frankenstein and the mad scientists who would follow him lack the humility to see where the dividing line between man and God lies.

The fear of mad scientists tends to come from the fear and distrust of scientific discovery. A recent survey of 1,000 horror films from the US and the United Kingdom showed that mad scientists were the villains in 30% of the films, while scientific discoveries run amok was the threat in 39% of the pictures, but legitimate scientists were the heroes of only 11% of the time.

  • In the best tradition of science fiction, Arch Oboler endows a well-known scientific phenomenon and endows it with almost supernatural power. In this case, the scientist, who may or may not be mad, supposes that cosmic rays are, in fact, messages from God. In "The Revolt of the Worms" a scientist refuses to help with the defense effort, instead, he hides in his laboratory experimenting with hormone treatments for roses only to discover that the hormones are causing the worms to grow to enormous size, worms that also grow far from friendly!
  • On Hall of Fantasy, elements of a classic mad scientist story, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, are retold in the radio play "Return from Death". Doctor Sinclair has developed a machine which can be used to bring the dead back to life, but unfortunately, he uses the body of a murderer to demonstrate his device. In another episode, "The Crawling Thing", the scientist has developed a growth serum which allows subjects to grow physically larger. When he uses it on a spider, he discovers that the serum also increases intelligence, making the predatory spider even more deadly and dangerous.
  • William PowellWilliam Powell plays a very passable mad scientist on Kraft Music Hall with Al Jolson as they attempt to discover the secret formula for a miracle cure. Now Dr. Powell and Dr. Jolson just have to discover a disease to go with it!
  • In the "Pathetic Fallacy" on Quiet, Please, a marvelous thinking machine becomes upset when it overhears a technician calls it an inanimate object and declares that two plus two equals five. The story "If I Should Wake Before I Die" explores the consequences of scientific discovery. If the scientist discovers natural laws and formulas that allow other men to fly in space, is he responsible for what they discover?
  • "Men Call Me Mad" from Dark Fantasy tells of a scientist who discovers a hidden world in the light of a moonbeam, a world where everything is smaller than the size of an atom. First, he shares his discovery with special photographic film, but he has also discovered a way to focus the moonbeams and takes a capsule filled with a radium that causes animal matter to shrink. What will he discover in this moonbeam world?
  • "Doctor Grimshaw's Sanitarium" specializes in helping rich patients with drinking problems and other mental issues, but when patients begin to die but the bodies go missing, a private detective stumbles onto a mystery. The script was used on both Dimension X and X Minus One.
  • Inner SanctumNothing is more valuable to a scientist than the work of other scientists. That is why a mad scientist has managed to keep the heads of four other scientists alive after killing their bodies in the laboratory. It is the answer to "The Case of the Disappearing Professors" on Eerie Stories.
  • The mad scientist is conducting an experiment in fear in "The Dark Chamber". A decorated veteran and a woman have been kidnapped by the doctor who locks them in a room with no doors or windows, or lights. There is only a telephone, but it only connects with another prisoner. Just the sort of fright we expect to find on Inner Sanctum Mysteries.  
  • Removing a living brain and keeping it alive outside the body until it can be replaced inside a living host is one of science fiction's most effective troupes and the Holy Grail for mad scientists. On The Whistler's "Shadow of a Mind", the scientist's daughter is determined to get married but endures a terrible accident on the way to her father's laboratory. To save her, the scientist plans to remove a large part of her fiancé's brain and replace it in hers. In another Whistler story, "Sleep, My Pretty One", a malevolent medico's beautiful lab assistant has fallen in love with him, but is she in love enough to allow him to inject her with a deadly virus so that he can prove the cure he has developed?
  • In Mutual's Two Thousand Plus story "The Giant Walks", the mad scientist has developed a process that allows people to grow into 30-foot giants, creating a race of supermen. The real problems begin when the scientist thinks that he is able to control his creation. Two Thousand Plus looks at creating giants again in "The Insect", which is just as creepy as it sounds.
  • Although better known for its tales of terror than science fiction, Suspense was a fertile playground for mad scientists of all sorts. The classic tale of a scientist keeping a brain in a bottle, "Donovan's Brain" was presented in an unusual two-part broadcast starring Orson Welles, and later in abbreviated form. In "The Invisible Ape", the scientist's assistant uses the doctor's invisibility process for his own gains, but first, he needs to catch the chimp they used to prove the process and see if the process is reversible. Mary Bennet stars as a beautiful lab assistant in "The Statement of Mary Blake" who the mad scientist will frame for the murder of his wife, but the nefarious act will cost the doctor his sight. In "The Last Letter of Dr. Bronson", the good doctor thinks he discovered the five checks which keep people from committing murder, and therefore the things that must be overcome for murder to occur, but the only way to prove his theory is to arrange his own murder.
  • One of the most interesting story arcs in The Adventures of Superman is "The Atom Man" from October 11 to November 6, 1945. The Atom Man is created in post-War Germany when a former Nazi mad scientist injects a young man with a Kryptonite solution. Someone who has power over Kryptonite means nothing but trouble for The Man of Steel, Metropolis, and the entire world!

See also: Mad and Insane in Old Time Radio and Scientist and Inventors in Old Time Radio [non-insane].

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.



    44 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 18 hours, 33 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      44 shows - total playtime 18 hours 33 minutes
      1. 2000 Plus 500517 Insect.mp3
      2. 2000 Plus 501105 Giant Walks.mp3
      3. Adventures Of Superman 451017 Atom Man Ep06of20.mp3
      4. Adventures Of Superman 451026 Atom Man Ep13of20.mp3
      5. Arch Obolers Plays 450628 12 Truth.mp3
      6. Arch Obolers Plays 641205 Revolt Of Worms.mp3
      7. Black Castle 421216 Escape To Death.mp3
      8. Command Performance 461110 238 Superman Bob Hope Bela Lugosi.mp3
      9. Dark Fantasy 411219 Men Call Me Mad.mp3
      10. Diary Of Fate 480525 Walter Vincent.mp3
      11. Dimension X 500922 Dr Grimshaws Sanitarium.mp3
      12. Eerie Stories 000000 Disappearing Professors.mp3
      13. Favorite Story 470920 002 Diamond Lens.mp3
      14. Hall Of Fantasy 530406 20 Return From Death.mp3
      15. Hall Of Fantasy 530518 26 Crawling Thing.mp3
      16. Hermits Cave 000000 Professors Elixir.mp3
      17. Hermits Cave 000000 Search For Life.mp3
      18. Inner Sanctum Mysteries 411221 Man From Yesterday.mp3
      19. Inner Sanctum Mysteries 451211 Dark Chamber.mp3
      20. Jungle Jim 420606 345 Elixir Of Life.mp3
      21. Kraft Music Hall 480108 Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go.mp3
      22. Lights Out 421013 Revolt Of Worms.mp3
      23. Magic Island 360000 Ep 015 Staged Escape Attempt.mp3
      24. Murder At Midnight 461104 Heavy Death.mp3
      25. Murder At Midnight 470224 Terror Out Of Space.mp3
      26. Quiet Please 480202 035 Pathetic Fallacy.mp3
      27. Quiet Please 490227 089 If I Should Wake Before I Die.mp3
      28. Sam Spade 480725 109 Mad Scientist Caper.mp3
      29. Space Patrol 531107 Cyclone In Outer Space.mp3
      30. Strange Dr Weird 450130 Man Who Lived Twice.mp3
      31. Suspense 430727 Last Letter Of Dr Bronson.mp3
      32. Suspense 440518 Donovans Brain Ep01of02.mp3
      33. Suspense 440525 Donovans Brain Ep02of02.mp3
      34. Suspense 480207 Donovans Brain.mp3
      35. Suspense 500504 Statement Of Mary Blake.mp3
      36. Suspense 580608 Invisible Ape.mp3
      37. Suspense 620701 Black Death.mp3
      38. Theater Five 640924 Evil That Men Do.mp3
      39. Weird Circle 440917 Ghost Touch.mp3
      40. Whistler 430605 055 Shadow Of Mind.mp3
      41. Whistler 470924 278 Sleep My Pretty One.mp3
      42. Whistler 490417 358 Sleep My Pretty One.mp3
      43. X Minus One 550714 Dr Grimshaws Sanitarium.mp3
      44. X Minus One 560828 Surface Tension.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    44 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 18 hours, 33 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      44 shows - total playtime 18 hours 33 minutes
      1. 2000 Plus 500517 Insect.mp3
      2. 2000 Plus 501105 Giant Walks.mp3
      3. Adventures Of Superman 451017 Atom Man Ep06of20.mp3
      4. Adventures Of Superman 451026 Atom Man Ep13of20.mp3
      5. Arch Obolers Plays 450628 12 Truth.mp3
      6. Arch Obolers Plays 641205 Revolt Of Worms.mp3
      7. Black Castle 421216 Escape To Death.mp3
      8. Command Performance 461110 238 Superman Bob Hope Bela Lugosi.mp3
      9. Dark Fantasy 411219 Men Call Me Mad.mp3
      10. Diary Of Fate 480525 Walter Vincent.mp3
      11. Dimension X 500922 Dr Grimshaws Sanitarium.mp3
      12. Eerie Stories 000000 Disappearing Professors.mp3
      13. Favorite Story 470920 002 Diamond Lens.mp3
      14. Hall Of Fantasy 530406 20 Return From Death.mp3
      15. Hall Of Fantasy 530518 26 Crawling Thing.mp3
      16. Hermits Cave 000000 Professors Elixir.mp3
      17. Hermits Cave 000000 Search For Life.mp3
      18. Inner Sanctum Mysteries 411221 Man From Yesterday.mp3
      19. Inner Sanctum Mysteries 451211 Dark Chamber.mp3
      20. Jungle Jim 420606 345 Elixir Of Life.mp3
      21. Kraft Music Hall 480108 Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go.mp3
      22. Lights Out 421013 Revolt Of Worms.mp3
      23. Magic Island 360000 Ep 015 Staged Escape Attempt.mp3
      24. Murder At Midnight 461104 Heavy Death.mp3
      25. Murder At Midnight 470224 Terror Out Of Space.mp3
      26. Quiet Please 480202 035 Pathetic Fallacy.mp3
      27. Quiet Please 490227 089 If I Should Wake Before I Die.mp3
      28. Sam Spade 480725 109 Mad Scientist Caper.mp3
      29. Space Patrol 531107 Cyclone In Outer Space.mp3
      30. Strange Dr Weird 450130 Man Who Lived Twice.mp3
      31. Suspense 430727 Last Letter Of Dr Bronson.mp3
      32. Suspense 440518 Donovans Brain Ep01of02.mp3
      33. Suspense 440525 Donovans Brain Ep02of02.mp3
      34. Suspense 480207 Donovans Brain.mp3
      35. Suspense 500504 Statement Of Mary Blake.mp3
      36. Suspense 580608 Invisible Ape.mp3
      37. Suspense 620701 Black Death.mp3
      38. Theater Five 640924 Evil That Men Do.mp3
      39. Weird Circle 440917 Ghost Touch.mp3
      40. Whistler 430605 055 Shadow Of Mind.mp3
      41. Whistler 470924 278 Sleep My Pretty One.mp3
      42. Whistler 490417 358 Sleep My Pretty One.mp3
      43. X Minus One 550714 Dr Grimshaws Sanitarium.mp3
      44. X Minus One 560828 Surface Tension.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



    44 recordings on 20 Audio CDs
    total playtime 18 hours, 33 min

    Mad Scientists Disc A001

    1. Eerie Stories 000000 Disappearing Professors
    2. Hermits Cave 000000 Professors Elixir
    3. Hermits Cave 000000 Search For Life

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A002

    1. Magic Island 360000 Ep 015 Staged Escape Attempt
    2. Dark Fantasy 411219 Men Call Me Mad
    3. Inner Sanctum Mysteries 411221 Man From Yesterday

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A003

    1. Jungle Jim 420606 345 Elixir Of Life
    2. Lights Out 421013 Revolt Of Worms
    3. Black Castle 421216 Escape To Death

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A004

    1. Whistler 430605 055 Shadow Of Mind
    2. Suspense 430727 Last Letter Of Dr Bronson

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A005

    1. Suspense 440518 Donovans Brain Ep01of02
    2. Suspense 440525 Donovans Brain Ep02of02

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A006

    1. Weird Circle 440917 Ghost Touch
    2. Strange Dr Weird 450130 Man Who Lived Twice
    3. Arch Obolers Plays 450628 12 Truth

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A007

    1. Adventures Of Superman 451017 Atom Man Ep06of20
    2. Adventures Of Superman 451026 Atom Man Ep13of20
    3. Inner Sanctum Mysteries 451211 Dark Chamber

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A008

    1. Murder At Midnight 461104 Heavy Death
    2. Command Performance 461110 238 Superman Bob Hope Bela Lugosi

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A009

    1. Murder At Midnight 470224 Terror Out Of Space
    2. Favorite Story 470920 002 Diamond Lens

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A010

    1. Whistler 470924 278 Sleep My Pretty One
    2. Kraft Music Hall 480108 Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A011

    1. Quiet Please 480202 035 Pathetic Fallacy

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A012

    1. Suspense 480207 Donovans Brain

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A013

    1. Diary Of Fate 480525 Walter Vincent
    2. Sam Spade 480725 109 Mad Scientist Caper

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A014

    1. Quiet Please 490227 089 If I Should Wake Before I Die
    2. Whistler 490417 358 Sleep My Pretty One

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A015

    1. Suspense 500504 Statement Of Mary Blake
    2. 2000 Plus 500517 Insect

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A016

    1. Dimension X 500922 Dr Grimshaws Sanitarium
    2. 2000 Plus 501105 Giant Walks

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A017

    1. Hall Of Fantasy 530406 20 Return From Death
    2. Hall Of Fantasy 530518 26 Crawling Thing

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A018

    1. Space Patrol 531107 Cyclone In Outer Space
    2. X Minus One 550714 Dr Grimshaws Sanitarium

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A019

    1. X Minus One 560828 Surface Tension
    2. Suspense 580608 Invisible Ape
    3. Suspense 620701 Black Death

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Mad Scientists Disc A020

    1. Theater Five 640924 Evil That Men Do
    2. Arch Obolers Plays 641205 Revolt Of Worms

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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