Tales of Tomorrow

Tales of Tomorrow is an American anthology science fiction series that was performed and broadcast live[1] 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 featuring such performers as Boris Karloff, Brian Keith, Lee J. Cobb, Veronica Lake, Rod Steiger, Bruce Cabot, Franchot Tone, 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.[2]

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


The idea for this science fiction television series was developed by Theodore Sturgeon and Mort Abrahamson, together with the membership of the Science Fiction League of America. 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

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

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

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


  1. ^ Tales of Tomorrow at TV.com
  2. ^ If v1#1 p. 151
  3. ^ http://www.heinleinarchives.net/upload/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=831
  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. ^ On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. By John Dunning. ISBN 0-19-507678-8, page 653
  8. ^ Science Fiction Television. By M. Keith Booker, page 5, ISBN 0-275-98164-9
  9. ^ a b http://www.digitaldeliftp.com/DigitalDeliToo/dd2jb-Tales-of-Tomorrow.html Production information, and review sources on the radio series Tales of Tomorrow.
  10. ^ https://archive.org/details/XMinus1_A Full listing of all "X Minus One" episodes at Internet Archive.
  11. ^ "tales of Tomorrow TV". Retrieved 30 September 2018.

External links

A Little Peace and Quiet

"A Little Peace and Quiet" is the second segment of the first episode of the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone.

Brian Keith

Brian Keith (born Robert Alba Keith, November 14, 1921 – June 24, 1997) was an American film, television and stage actor who in his six-decade-long career gained recognition for his work in movies such as the Disney family film The Parent Trap (1961), the comedy The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966), and the adventure saga The Wind and the Lion (1975), in which he portrayed President Theodore Roosevelt.

On television two of his best-known roles were those of bachelor-uncle-turned-reluctant-parent Bill Davis in the 1960s sitcom Family Affair, and a tough retired judge in the 1980s light hearted crime drama, Hardcastle and McCormick. He also starred in The Brian Keith Show, which aired on NBC from 1972–74, where he portrayed a pediatrician who operated a free clinic on Oahu, and in the CBS comedy series Heartland.

Charles S. Dubin

Charles Samuel Dubin (February 1, 1919 – September 5, 2011) was an American film and television director.

From the early 1950s to 1991, Dubin worked in television, directing episodes of Tales of Tomorrow, Omnibus, The Defenders, The Big Valley, The Virginian, Hawaii Five-O, M*A*S*H, Matlock, The Rockford Files, Kojak , Murder, She Wrote and among other notable series.

Esther Ralston

Esther Ralston (née Esther Louise Worth; September 17, 1902 – January 14, 1994) was an American film actress who was popular in the silent era.

Henry Jones (actor)

Henry Burk Jones (August 1, 1912 – May 17, 1999) was an American character actor of stage, film and television.

Henry Kuttner

Henry Kuttner (April 7, 1915 – February 3, 1958) was an American author of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Joanne Woodward

Joanne Gignilliat Trimmier Woodward (born February 27, 1930) is an American actress, producer, and philanthropist. She is best known for her performance in The Three Faces of Eve (1957), which earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama.

In a career spanning over six decades, she received four Academy Award nominations (winning one), ten Golden Globe Award nominations (winning three), four BAFTA Film Award nominations (winning one), and nine Primetime Emmy Award nominations (winning three).

John Newland

John Newland (November 23, 1917 – January 10, 2000) was an American director, actor, television producer, and screenwriter.

List of programs broadcast by DTour

This is a list of television programs currently and formerly broadcast by the Canadian television channel DTour and its former incarnation as Prime and TVtropolis.

Louis Hector

Louis Hector (March 19, 1883 – October 1968) was an American radio, theater, film, and television actor. He is best known for his roles of Sherlock Holmes in the 1937 broadcast of The Three Garridebs (the first US televised portrayal of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's protagonist); and that of the Reverend Browne in MGM's 1950 Technicolor release of Northwest Passage.

Mann Rubin

Mann Rubin (December 11, 1927 – October 12, 2013) was an American film and television screenwriter, whose credits included The Best of Everything in 1959, Brainstorm in 1965, Warning Shot in 1967, The First Deadly Sin in 1980, and The Human Shield in 1991. He also taught screenwriting within the cinema and TV department at the University of Southern California for more than ten years.Rubin was born in Brooklyn, New York. He served in the United States Army from 1945 until 1947 before completing his Bachelor of Arts degree at New York University in 1952. He initially worked as a science fiction writer for DC Comics. His writing credits at DC Comics included Mystery in Space and Strange Adventures. Rubin later published stories in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. He would later pen the screenplay for an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.Rubin penned scripts for dozens of television series between the 1950s and 1990s. His work in television began in the late 1940s with the CBS anthology series, Studio One in Hollywood, and Tales of Tomorrow, which aired on ABC. His numerous television credits included episodes of Dynasty, The F.B.I., The Feather and Father Gang, The Fugitive, Mannix, Mission: Impossible, The Mod Squad, Perry Mason, Quincy, M.E., The Rockford Files, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Starsky & Hutch. His later television series was the short-lived reboot of Dragnet in 1990.Rubin was also active in feature film. Rubin and Edith Sommer co-wrote the 1959 Jean Negulesco film, The Best of Everything, which they adapted from the 1958 novel of the same name by Rona Jaffe. Rubin also adapted the 1980 film, The First Deadly Sin, from a novel by Lawrence Sanders. The First Deadly Sin, which starred Frank Sinatra and Faye Dunaway, marked Sinatra's last major film role.In more recent years, Rubin wrote the scripts for two short films. He co-wrote A Nice Touch, a 2012 short directed by Richard Jones, which starred Scottish actor, Dougray Scott. Rubin's last short film, A Lasting Impression, which stars Tanna Frederick, will debut at various film festivals in 2014.Mann Rubin died of a long illness on October 12, 2013, in West Hills, California, at the age of 85.

Raymond F. Jones

Raymond Fisher Jones (15 November 1915 – 24 January 1994) was an American science fiction author. He is best known for his 1952 novel This Island Earth, which was adapted into the eponymous 1955 film.

Science Fiction League

The Science Fiction League was one of the earliest associations formed by science fiction fans. It was created by Hugo Gernsback in February 1934 in the pages of Wonder Stories, an early science fiction pulp magazine. Gernsback was the League's "Executive Secretary', with Charles D. Hornig its "Assistant Secretary". The initial slate of "Executive Directors" included Forrest J. Ackerman, Eando Binder, Jack Darrow (Clifford Kornoelje), Edmond Hamilton, David H. Keller, P. Schuyler Miller, Clark Ashton Smith, and R. F. Starzl.Gernsback intended for the magazine to promote fandom, much as his earlier "Radio League" had promoted interest in his radio and electrical hobby magazines. It was successful, and chapters were formed in the US, UK and Australia. Although the League was popular, with membership soon reaching about 1,000, it did not last long; in 1943 Sam Merwin, the editor of Thrilling Wonder Stories (the magazine had changed its name in 1936) dropped the organization when he took over the editorship. Frederik Pohl recalled that the League "changed a lot of lives. It filled a need" by helping fans meet each other, and reported that some chapters still existed 30 years later.The Science Fiction League of America was a different organization of science fiction writers including Ted Sturgeon, Anthony Boucher, and Isaac Asimov, and associated with the television show Tales of Tomorrow.

The Adaptive Ultimate

"The Adaptive Ultimate" is a science fiction short story about an experimental medical treatment gone awry. It was written by Stanley G. Weinbaum and first published in the November 1935 issue of Astounding magazine under the pen name "John Jessel". It was collected in various editions of A Martian Odyssey, as well as the 1979 The Best Of Stanley G. Weinbaum.The story was dramatized on the radio program Escape March 26, 1949 and later that year on the television program Studio One episode called "Kyra Zelas" (the name of the title character) aired on September 12, 1949. It was dramatized on June 20, 1952 on the television show Tales of Tomorrow under the title "The Miraculous Serum" (Season 1, Episode 38), and again on December 3, 1955 on the television show Science Fiction Theatre under the title "Beyond Return", starring Zachary Scott and Joan Vohs, with the story credited to John Jessel. A film version was released in 1957 as She Devil, starring Mari Blanchard, Jack Kelly, and Albert Dekker.

In the 1971 Astounding/Analog All-Time Poll, the story tied for 16th in the Pre-1940 Short Fiction classification.

The Crystal Egg

"The Crystal Egg" is a science fiction short story written by H. G. Wells in 1897.

The story tells of a shop owner, named Mr. Cave, who finds a strange crystal egg that serves as a window into the planet Mars.

The story was written the same year in which Wells was serializing The War of the Worlds in Pearson's Magazine, a year before it was published as a novel. Because of the vaguely similar descriptions of the Martians and their machines, "The Crystal Egg" is often considered a precursor to The War of the Worlds, though there is no clear foreshadowing of the events that transpire in the novel.

The Little Black Bag

"The Little Black Bag" is a science fiction short story by American Cyril M. Kornbluth, first published in the July 1950 edition of Astounding Science Fiction. It is a predecessor of sorts to the story "The Marching Morons". It won the 2001 Retroactive Hugo Award for Best Novelette (of 1951) and was also recognized as the 13th best all-time short science fiction story in a 1971 Analog Science Fact & Fiction poll, tied with "Microcosmic God" by Theodore Sturgeon. It was among the stories selected in 1970 by the Science Fiction Writers of America as one of the best science fiction short stories published before the creation of the Nebula Awards. As such, it was published in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.

It was the basis of episodes (using the same title) in three television series: Tales of Tomorrow in 1952, Out of the Unknown in 1969 and Night Gallery in 1970.

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone is an American media franchise based on the anthology television series created by Rod Serling. The episodes are in various genres, including fantasy, science fiction, suspense, horror, and psychological thriller, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral. A popular and critical success, it introduced many Americans to common science fiction and fantasy tropes. The original series, shot entirely in black and white, ran on CBS for five seasons from 1959 to 1964.

The Twilight Zone followed in the tradition of earlier television shows such as Tales of Tomorrow (1951–53, which also dramatized the short story "What You Need") and Science Fiction Theatre (1955–57); radio programs such as The Weird Circle, Dimension X, and X Minus One; and the radio work of one of Serling's inspirations, Norman Corwin. The success of the series led to a feature film, a radio series, a comic book, a magazine, a theme park attraction, and various other spin-offs that spanned five decades, including two revival television series. The first revival ran on CBS and in syndication in the 1980s, while the second ran on UPN from 2002 to 2003. TV Guide ranked the original TV series #5 in their 2013 list of the 60 greatest shows of all time and #4 in their list of the 60 greatest dramas.In December 2017, CBS All Access officially ordered the third Twilight Zone revival to series, which will be helmed by Jordan Peele. It is slated for a 2019 premiere.

What You Need (The Twilight Zone)

"What You Need" is episode 12 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It is based on the short story of the same name by Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore).

X Minus One

X Minus One was an American half-hour science fiction radio drama series 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.

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