X-Minus 1

By | April 29, 2012

Galaxy Magazine

X Minus One was a 30 minute science fiction radio drama series broadcast from April 24, 1955 to January 9, 1958
on NBC. It ran for a total of 125 episodes (episode guide) with one pilot or audition story.

Initially a revival of NBC’s Dimension X (1950–51), the first 15 episodes of X Minus One were new versions of Dimension X episodes but the stories for the remaining shows came from two of the most popular science fiction magazines at the time; Astounding and Galaxy. Adaptations of these stories were performed by Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts. They even wrote a few original stories of their own. The writers of the magazine stories were not well known then but now are the giants of today. These stories came from the minds of Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Poul Anderson to name a few.

Included in the series were adaptations of Robert Sheckley’s “Skulking Permit,” Bradbury’s “Mars Is Heaven,” Heinlein’s “Universe” and “The Green Hills of Earth”, ” Pohl’s “The Tunnel under the World,” J. T. McIntosh’s “Hallucination Orbit,” Fritz Leiber’s “A Pail of Air” and George Lefferts’ “The Parade.”

Ernest Kinoy

The program opened with announcer Fred Collins delivering the countdown, leading into the following introduction (although later shows were partnered with Galaxy Science Fiction rather than Astounding Science Fiction):
Countdown for blastoff… X minus five, four, three, two, X minus one… Fire! [Rocket launch SFX] From the far horizons of the unknown come transcribed tales of new dimensions in time and space. These are stories of the future; adventures in which you’ll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may-be worlds.

The National Broadcasting Company, in cooperation with Street and Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction presents… X Minus One.

George Lefferts with actress Kim Hunter.

The series was canceled after the 126th broadcast on January 9, 1958. However, the early 1970s brought a wave of nostalgia for old-time radio; a new experimental episode, “The Iron Chancellor” by Robert Silverberg, was created in 1973, but it failed to revive the series.

NBC also tried broadcasting the old recordings, but their irregular once-monthly scheduling kept even devoted listeners from following the broadcasts.

 

Episodes based on stories by famous writers

Philip K Dick – “The Defenders”, “Colony”

  An Interview with Philip K. Dick (1976)

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Ray Bradbury – “And The Moon Be Still As Bright”, “Mars is Heaven”, “The Veldt”, “Dwellers in Silence”, “Zero Hour”, “To the Future”, “Marionettes, Inc.”, “There Will Come Soft Rains”

  X-Minus 1  – Mars is Heaven (1955-05-08)

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Isaac Asimov – “Nightfall”, “C-Chute”, “Hostess”
Robert A. Heinlein – “Universe”, “The Green Hills of Earth”, “Requiem”, “The Roads Must Roll”
L. Sprague de Camp – “A Gun for a Dinosaur”

  X-Minus 1  – A Gun for a Dinosaur (1956-03-07

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