Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Old Time Radio: X Minus One

This is the first in an occasional series covering my favorite Old Time Radio (OTR) shows. If you are new to OTR, these shows were broadcast on radio anywhere between the 30's and the late 50's with X minus one being a sequel to Dimension X and originally broadcast in the late 50's. I am starting with X-Minus One because it is not only my favorite, but when you look through the authors of the scripts or the stories upon which they were based, you are reading a who's who of early science fiction. Bradbury,L. Sprague de Camp, Lieber, Pohl, James Blish, and many more are all represented here. I hope you enjoy them as much I do.

A few episodes I recommend in no particular order: (Descriptions from

  • A Gun For Dinosaur Episode 38 A safari into the Cretaceous to hunt for Tyrannosaurus Rex is endangered by a reckless glory hound, whose ineptitude and arrogance are matched only by his capacity for murder. Story by L. Sprague de Camp.

  • The Cold Equations Episode 114 Classic story about the pilot of an EMS (Emergency Medical Shuttle), on a mission to deliver vital serum to a plague world, who discovers a young woman stowaway whose extra weight must condemn her to death for lack of sufficient fuel. -remade into a new Twilight Zone or Outer limits episode, I can't remember which.

  • Mars is Heaven Episode 3 The first astronauts to land on Mars discover-- Earth; a planet where their long dead loved ones are waiting for them in a small Midwest town just like home. Story by Ray Bradbury; part of his Martian Chronicles series. A remake was done in an old Twilight Zone episode. -Scott

  • Perirgi's Wonderful Dolls Episode 7 A dollmaker sells a father an unusual doll which seems capable of responding to people, presumably by recording voices and replaying them in its own voice. Is it just a bit of technical wizardry, or is there something more to this doll than meets the eye?

  • First Contact Episode 20 Classic story of a starship which encounters an alien vessel in the Crab Nebula, and the dilemma they both face when they realize that neither ship dares depart for fear of giving away clues as to their origin. Story by Murray Leinster.

  • The Roads Must Roll Episode 32 In the future the country depends on an electro-hydraulic road system which acts as a conveyor belt to transport people and cargo. The system works well, until the engineer's union which maintains the roads stages a strike as a bid to gain power. Story by Robert Heinlein.

  • Surface Tension Episode 62 The world is headed for unavoidable destruction, so a brilliant scientist conceives a microscopic civilization in a drop of water; one day, however, his 'children' must begin to wonder what lies beyond the surface of their cosmos. Story by James Blish. One of my favorite SF short stories of all time, this is a bit different, but still good. -Scott

  • Tunnel Under the World Episode 39 Every day seems to be a repeat of June 15, but only one man in the entire city is aware of the anomaly. Story by Frederik Pohl. Remade into an old Twilight Zone Episode. -Scott

  • Zero Hour Episode 26 & 73b Neighborhood children invent a new game called 'Invasion'-- or is it just a game? Story by Ray Bradbury.

Sites to go to:

Episodes 000-015 Episodes 016-030 Episodes 031-045 Episodes 046-050

Episodes 061-075 Episodes 076-090 Episodes 091-105 Episodes 106-122

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