Martin Grams Jr.
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Martin Grams Jr. (born April 19, 1977) is a radio historian who has written extensively on radio, television and films.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Grams is the son of magician Martin Grams Sr. and librarian Mary Pat Grams. Educated at South Eastern School District in York County, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Kennard-Dale High School in Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania, in 1995. He worked a variety of jobs from factory labor to banking before settling on a writing career.
Since 1998, Grams has documented broadcasting in the 20th century in his books: Suspense: Twenty Years of Thrills and Chills (1998) was followed by The History of the Cavalcade of America (1999) about the Dupont-sponsored radio and television program of the same name. After The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, co-authored with Gordon Payton for McFarland Publishers, Grams followed with Radio Drama (McFarland), The Have Gun – Will Travel Companion, co-authored with Les Rayburn, and The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion (OTR Publishing, 2000), a 660-page survey of Alfred Hitchcock Presents with a complete episode guide.
Francis M. Nevins and Grams teamed for The Sound of Detection: Ellery Queen's Adventures in Radio, a revision of the 1981 study by Nevins and Ray Stanich. In the spring of 2013, both Nevins and Grams announced that an expanded edition was in the works for a 2015 publication. Inner Sanctum Mysteries: Behind the Creaking Door covered both the radio and TV series with an appendix on all of Simon & Schuster's mystery novels, three short stories based on uncirculating radio programs, plus a chapter about the Inner Sanctum movies penned by Gregory William Mank.
After the limited edition Invitation to Learning (OTR Publishing), Grams wrote The I Love A Mystery Companion, unearthing never-before-published material by Carlton E. Morse. The book covers I Love A Mystery, I Love Adventure, Adventures by Morse, Captain Post, The Return of Captain Post, The Cobra King Strikes Back, The Witch of Endor, The House of Myths and others.
Information Please (Bear Manor Media, 2005) includes a chapter on the Information Please Almanac. Gang Busters: Crime Fighters of American Broadcasting (2005) weighs in at 700 pages. In addition to magazine articles (Filmfax, Scarlet Street and Radiogram), Grams has contributed short stories, chapters and appendixes for other books, including The Alfred Hitchcock Story (Titan) and It's That Time Again (Bear Manor).
Bear Manor's 2007 list included two by Grams: The Railroad Hour, co-authored with Gerald Wilson, covers the 1948-54 radio program. I Led Three Lives covers the history of the TV series which starred Richard Carlson as Herbert A. Philbrick. "I Led Three Lives" was supposed to be the first of many books documenting ZIV Television programs of the 1950s. The second was Science Fiction Theatre: A History of the Television Program, 1955–1957. When MGM Entertainment, owners of ZIV Television programs, filed bankruptcy, the contract for a third book was voided.
Beginning in 2008, Grams published a series of four books, the second and third deemed by The New York Times as "raising the bar" for reference guides. The first was The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic, which won Best Book of the Year at the Halloween Book Festival. His second reference, The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion-Pictures, Comics and Television, was released in time for the major motion picture starring Seth Rogen. His third was The Shadow: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930–1954. The fourth was a history of Duffy's Tavern.
In an interview for USA Today in April 2011, Grams stood his ground on a controversial subject regarding research in a digital age. Criticized by some, praised by others, in 2010 Grams publicly stated that the majority of published reference guides in print form and on the internet were hack jobs courtesy of the ease of access to information on the internet.
I know of no serious researcher or scholar who uses the internet as reference for their studies. They should use the internet as a 'tool' for research. Too many people sit behind a computer and browse websites and write articles based on what they find, branding their articles with the word 'definitive' to claim they have the final say regarding subjects they know nothing about except for what they find through a search engine. Myths begin when mistakes in prior publications carry over into new publications. Reprinted many times, a myth becomes the gospel. I wrote four books recently that each total more than 800 pages and documents everything from budgets, dates of production, rehearsals, contracts, script reprints and even family photographs. Since my job is to research, do the physical leg work and publish my findings, my books speak for themselves. I proved that you can do a scholarly form of print preservation without consulting websites that are many times created by self-obsessed, good-natured fanboys. With unchallenged proof through footnotes and scanned copies of archival documents, I have, many times, proven that fifteen books can be wrong.
In 2012, Grams authored The Time Tunnel: The History of the Television Program, in conjunction with Irwin Allen Enterprises. Unlike prior books about The Time Tunnel, Grams included production costs, dates of production, conception sketches, and never-before-published photographs. According to a press release, this was supposed to be the first in a series of four books documenting Irwin Allen's television programs, including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants and Lost in Space.
Grams is the recipient of the 1999 Ray Stanich Award, the 2005 Stone/Waterman Award and the 2004 Parley Baer Award for his contribution to preserving the arts. He won the 2008 Rondo Award for Best Book of the Year for The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic.
He is the convention organizer for the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, held annually in Hunt Valley, Maryland. A resident of Whiteford, Maryland, Grams and his wife are both active in environmental protection programs; they support the funding and physical labor involved with planting new trees, recycling and alternative resources for electricity, including solar and wind.
- Suspense: Twenty Years of Thrills and Chills Morris Publishing, 1998 ISBN 1-57502-675-9
- The History of the Cavalcade of America Morris Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-7392-0138-7
- The CBS Radio Mystery Theater: An Episode Guide and Handbook to Nine Years of Broadcasting, 1974–1982 McFarland Publishing, 1999.
- Radio Drama: American Programs, 1932–1962 McFarland Publishing, 2000.
- The Have Gun – Will Travel Companion OTR Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-9703310-0-2
- The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion OTR Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-9703310-1-0
- Invitation to Learning OTR Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-9703310-4-5
- The Sound of Detection: Ellery Queen's Adventures in Radio OTR Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-9703310-2-9
- The I Love A Mystery Companion OTR Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-9703310-5-3
- Inner Sanctum Mysteries: Behind the Creaking Door OTR Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-9703310-3-7
- Information Please BearManor Media, 2003. ISBN 0-9714570-7-7
- Gang Busters: The Crime Fighters of American Broadcasting OTR Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-9703310-6-1
- The Railroad Hour BearManor Media, 2007.
- I Led Three Lives: The Television Series BearManor Media, 2007. ISBN 1-59393-092-5
- The Radio Adventures of Sam Spade OTR Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9703310-7-6
- The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic OTR Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
- The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comic Books and Television OTR Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9825311-0-5
- The Shadow: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930–1954 OTR Publishing, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9825311-1-2
- Science Fiction Theatre: A History of the Television Program, 1955–1957 Bear Manor Media, 2011. ISBN 978-1593936570
- The Time Tunnel: A History of the Television Program Bear Manor Media, 2012. ISBN 978-1593932862
- Duffy's Tavern: A History of Ed Garner's Radio Program Bear Manor Media, 2014. ISBN 978-1593935573
- Audio Classics Archive: Martin Grams Jr.
- The Quest for the Unholy Grail, by Martin Grams Jr.
- The Story of the Green Lama, by Martin Grams Jr.
- The Radio Career of Rod Serling, by Martin Grams Jr.
- MacGuffin: "Murder and Suspense" by Martin Grams Jr. (excerpt from Grams' book on Suspense)
- "The History of Flash Gordon" with quotes from Martin Grams Jr.
- Radio Recall (August 2005): "Shakespeare on Radio" by Martin Grams Jr.
- Jack Benny and the Walking Man, by Martin Grams Jr.
- The Twilight Zone: To Serve Man, by Martin Grams Jr.
- Martin Grams Jr. quoted in USA Today, 2012.
- Martin Grams Jr. quoted in USA Today, 2014.