Tales of Tomorrow

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Tales of Tomorrow
Series title card
Science fiction
Directed byCharles S. Dubin
Don Medford
Leslie Gorall
Franklin J. Schaffner
Leonard Valenta
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes85
Running time25 minutes
Original networkABC
Picture format4:3 Black and White
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseAugust 3, 1951 –
June 12, 1953

Tales of Tomorrow is an American anthology science fiction series that was performed and broadcast live on ABC from 1951 to 1953. The series covered such stories as Frankenstein, starring Lon Chaney, Jr., 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Thomas Mitchell as Captain Nemo, and many others.

Featured cast members[edit]

Besides Chaney and Mitchell, the show featured such performers as Boris Karloff, Brian Keith, Lee J. Cobb, Veronica Lake, Rod Steiger, Bruce Cabot, Franchot Tone, Louis Hector, Gene Lockhart, Walter Abel, Cloris Leachman, Leslie Nielsen, and Paul Newman. The series had many similarities to the later Twilight Zone which also covered one of the same stories, "What You Need". In total it ran for eighty-five 30-minute episodes. It was called “the best science-fiction fare on TV today” by Paul Fairman, editor of If.[1]


The idea for this science fiction television series was developed by Theodore Sturgeon and Mort Abrahams, together with the membership of the Science Fiction League of America.[2] The original title was planned as Tomorrow is Yours.[3] A deal was struck with Richard Gordon and George Foley, giving the producers of the show first choice of any of the 2,000 short stories and 13 novels by the various members of the League.

Tales of Tomorrow was the first dramatized showcase for several authors, including Arthur C. Clarke.[4] Other early science fiction writers whose work was reflected in the series included Fredric Brown ("The Last Man on Earth" and "Age of Peril"), Philip Wylie ("Blunder"), C. M. Kornbluth ("The Little Black Bag") and Stanley G. Weinbaum ("The Miraculous Serum"). The show was intended for adults; at the time, most science fiction productions were targeted to children.[5] The producers wanted to blend mystery and science fiction, and emphasize fast pacing and suspense.[6]

Broadcast history[edit]

For the first few months, Tales of Tomorrow alternated the 9:30 to 10pm ET timeslot with Versatile Varieties, which had its last broadcast on December 14, 1951.

Season Time Slot
1 (1951-1952) Friday at 9:30 pm
2 (1952-1953)

Radio series[edit]

While the television version of Tales of Tomorrow was still being produced in 1953, ABC decided to try a radio version. The radio show ran from January 1 to April 9, 1953.[7] Unlike the TV version, scripts were adapted from stories appearing in Galaxy Science Fiction;[8] the contemporary series Dimension X previously had a similar relationship with Astounding Science Fiction magazine.

The radio series was not successful. After only a few episodes, on February 26 it moved to CBS for the remainder of its 15-episode run.[9] The TV version was canceled shortly afterward. A few years after its cancellation, the radio series X Minus One (a 1955 revival of Dimension X) debuted, sharing a similar relationship with Galaxy Science Fiction. Four of the fifteen Tales of Tomorrow stories were later adapted for X Minus One: "The Stars Are the Styx", "The Moon Is Green", "The Girls from Earth", and "The Old Die Rich".[9][10]

Public domain episodes[edit]

Most of the TV episodes are in the United States public domain.[11] Additionally, five of the surviving radio series episodes are now in the public domain in the United States and available for free download at Internet Archive. Live TV episodes were captured on kinescope.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ If v1#1 p. 151
  2. ^ Tales of Tomorrow at TV.com
  3. ^ The Heinlein Archives, website;
  4. ^ Arthur C. Clarke, "The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke", Preface to 'All the Time in the World' ISBN 0-575-07065-X.
  5. ^ The Billboard (magazine), May 19, 1951, page 11
  6. ^ The Billboard (magazine), August 18, 1951, page 9
  7. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 653. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  8. ^ Science Fiction Television. By M. Keith Booker, page 5, ISBN 0-275-98164-9
  9. ^ a b Tales of Tomorrow Radio: Details; Production information and review sources on the radio series Tales of Tomorrow.
  10. ^ Full listing of all "X Minus One" episodes; at Internet Archive.
  11. ^ "tales of Tomorrow TV". Retrieved 30 September 2018.

External links[edit]