Apr 24, 2021
On April 24, 1955, X Minus One premiered on NBC and launched a new wave of adult science fiction stories on the air. A continuation of sorts of NBC's earlier sci-fi anthology Dimension X, X Minus One dramatized stories from the giants of the genre along with original radio plays.
The show's first 15 episodes were new productions of shows from Dimension X, but it soon expanded to more stories that had never been aired on radio. A bright spot of late 1950s radio drama, X Minus One aired over 120 episodes until it left radio in 1958.
Here are my five favorite "adventures in which you'll live in a million could-be years on a thousand may-be worlds" from X Minus One.
"Mars is Heaven" - The first astronauts to land on Mars make a remarkable discovery; their dead loved ones are alive and well on the red planet. Is Mars heaven? Ray Bradbury's classic story makes for excellent radio. (5/8/55)
"Cold Equations" - A pilot is faced with a horrible decision when a young woman stows away on his supply ship to make a surprise visit to her husband. It seems like a harmless lark, but the ship only has enough fuel for the pilot and its cargo - not for the extra passenger. (8/25/55)
"Time and Time Again" - A soldier grievously wounded in battle is suddenly transported back to his 13th birthday, but with all of his memories of the devastating war that lies ahead. Can he use his knowledge of the future to save the world? (1/11/56)
"Skulking Permit" - This darkly comedic story is set on a planet awaiting arrival of a representative from Earth. When they learn how violent Earth can be, they decide to introduce crime to their society to make their visitor more at home. (2/15/56)
"A Gun for Dinosaur" - In the future, safaris can bring hunters millions of years into the past to hunt dinosaurs. But one arrogant client puts his guide and the entire hunting party in jeopardy in this precursor to the dino thrills of "Jurassic Park." (3/7/56)