Happy Birthday, Dimension X - Radio's pioneering sci-fi series

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 8, 2012 08:57am | Post a Comment
Dimension X debuted on NBC radio on this day (April 8), 1950. The first thirteen episodes were performed live whilst the remainder were pre-recorded. It was directed by Fred Wiehe and Edward King. The narrator and announcer was Norman Rose, who began each program with the introduction, "Adventures in time and space- told in future tense..." before "Dimension X!" boomed and echoed.

Dimension X wasn't the first adult science-fiction anthology program (2000 Plus debuted a month earlier on the Mutual network) but it was, perhaps, the best - drawing from writers like Clifford D. Simak, Donald A. Wollheim, E. M. Hull, Fletcher Pratt, Frank M. Robinson, Fredric Brown, Graham Doar, H. Beam Piper, Isaac Asimov, Jack Vance, Jack Williamson, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, L. Ron Hubbard, Murray Leinster, Nelson BondRay Bradbury, Robert A. Heinlein, Robert Bloch, Stephen Vincent Benet, Villiers Gerson, and William Tenn. Most episodes were adapted from pre-existing works by Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts but the two also provided original
It was first auditioned as Out of This World, which it was originally auditioned as on February 23, 1950. Though one of the best sci-fi series ever, the famously clueless folks at NBC never gave it proper promotion or care, bouncing it around to various slots on four different days of the week.

It's influence can most easily be heard in X Minus One (1955-1958), many episodes of which wereremakes of Dimension X programs. On TV, Dimension X inspired shows like Tales of Tomorrow (1951-1953), Science Fiction Theatre (1955-1957), One Step Beyond (1959-1961), Twilight Zone (1959-1964), Way Out (1961), Outer Limits (1963-1965), The Ray Bradbury Theater (1985-1986), and Masters of Science Fiction (2007).

All fifty episodes (and a fifteen-minute preview, "Preview to the Future") have been preserved and most can be listened to here. They also appear on CDs and Audio DVDs, which can sometimes be found at Amoeba. Special thanks to the folks at the Digital Deli Too for their hard work in the name of preserving OTR.


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Robert A. Heinlein (1), Ray Bradbury (4), 1950s (25), Old Time Radio (27), Science-fiction (9), Robert Bloch (2), Murray Leinster (2), Kurt Vonnegut (1), L. Ron Hubbard (2), Villiers Gerson (1), Stephen Vincent Benet (2), Graham Doar (2), H. Beam Piper (3), Jack Williamson (1), Jack Vance (1), Isaac Asimov (4), H. Beam Piper (3), Fredric Brown (1), Donald A. Wollheim (2), Frank M. Robinson (2), Clifford D. Simak (1), Nbc (6), William Tenn (2)