X Minus One

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Overview | Significance | Background | Plot | Cast | Resources | Episodes

Overview

X Minus One (1955-1958) was a half-hour OTR science fiction drama series with many episodes featuring adaptations of stories by leading science fiction writers.

Significance

Often acknowledged as the best science fiction anthology radio show. Featured adaptations of stories by leading science fiction writers. First fifteen episodes revived from Dimension X, National Broadcasting Corporation, 8 April 1950-29 September 1951.

Background

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 (NBC), in cooperation with Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, presents—X-X-X-X—MINUS-MINUS-MINUS-MINUS—ONE-ONE-ONE-one . . .

The first fifteen episodes of X Minus One were revived from Dimension X (8 April 1950-29 September 1951; 50 total episodes, 50 surviving), the first science fiction series with broad adult appeal, featuring works by young science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch (Psycho), Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and Kurt Vonnegut. Notable episodes are Bradbury's "Mars Is Heaven" and "Martian Chronicles."

Continuing with the "X factor"—stories told in future "time and space"—the remaining episodes of X Minus One were new adaptations of fiction written by leading science fiction writers whose stories appeared in Galaxy Magazine including Isaac Asimov ("Nightfall," "C-Chute," and "Hostess"), Ray Bradbury ("And The Moon Be Still As Bright," "Mars is Heaven," "The Veldt," "Dwellers in Silence," "Zero Hour," "To the Future," "Marionettes, Inc.," and "There Will Come Soft Rains"), Philip K. Dick ("The Defenders" and "Colony"), Robert A. Heinlein ("Universe," "Requim," "The Roads Must Roll," and "The Green Hills of Earth"), George Lefferts ("The Parade"), "Fritz Leiber ("A Pail of Air"), J. T. McIntosh ("Hallucination Orbit"), "Frederik Pohl ("The Tunnel under the World"), Robert Sheckley ("Skulking Permit"), and L. Sprague de Camp ("A Gun for Dinosaur").

NBC aired transcriptions (recordings) of X Minus One beginning 24 June 1973, as an experiment to see whether nostalgia would support radio drama. The once-a-month scheduling was confusing and problematic, and X Minus One died again in 1975.

Plot

Each episode featured adaptations of stories by leading science fiction writers.

Cast

Cast varied by episode.

Resources

Scripts at Generic Radio workshop website
X Minus One radio logs at Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs website
X Minus One plot summaries and credits at Radio Gold Index website
Episodes of X Minus One at Internet Archive website
The Definitive X Minus One at Digital Deli Too website
Dimension X radio logs at Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs website
Dimension X log by James Widner
The Definitive Dimension X at Digital Deli Too
Dimension X plot summaries and credits at Radio Gold Index website
Episodes of Dimension X at Internet Archive website

Episodes

Totals

Total episodes: 125 (estimated from 119 alleged unique scripts)
Surviving episodes: 129

Timeline

Dimension X
8 April 1950-29 September 1951
50 total episodes
50 surviving

X Minus One
24 April 1955 - 9 January 1958
National Broadcasting Company (NBC)

X Minus One
24 June 1973-1975
National Broadcasting Company (NBC)
Rebroadcasts of episodes