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X Minus One

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X Minus One
Cover of Dell paperback (1951) of original Heinlein's story "Universe".
GenreScience fiction
Country of originUS
Home stationNBC
AnnouncerFred Collins
Directed byFred Weihe, Daniel Sutter, George Voutsas
Produced byWilliam Welch
Original releaseApril 24, 1955 (1955-04-24) –
January 9, 1958 (1958-01-09)
No. of episodes126

X Minus One is an American half-hour science fiction radio drama series that was broadcast from April 24, 1955, to January 9, 1958, in various timeslots on NBC. Known for high production values in adapting stories from the leading American authors of the era, X Minus One has been described as one of the finest offerings of American radio drama and one of the best science fiction series in any medium.[1][2]


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 remainder were adaptations by NBC staff writers, including Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts,[1] of newly published science fiction stories by leading writers in the field, including Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Frederik Pohl and Theodore Sturgeon, along with some original scripts by Kinoy and Lefferts.

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".[3]

The program opened with announcer Fred Collins delivering the countdown, leading into the following introduction (although later shows beginning with Episode 37, 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 & Smith, publishers of Astounding Science Fiction presents... X Minus One.[3]

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 produced 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.

The series was re-released in podcast form beginning on June 22, 2007.[4]

In November 2008, Counter-Productions Theatre Company became the first theater company to stage three episodes, "The Parade", "A Logic Named Joe", and "Hallucination Orbit".

Episodes based on stories by famous writers[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 729–730. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-09-15.
  2. ^ Peter Nicholls with John Clute. The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (1993), St. Martin's Press
  3. ^ a b OTR Plotspot: X Minus One
  4. ^ "X Minus One Podcast". Archived from the original on November 1, 2007.

External links[edit]