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.[1][2]

X Minus One
Cover of Dell paperback (1951) of original Heinlein's story "Universe".
GenreScience fiction
Country of originUSA
Home stationNBC
Original release24 April 1955 – 9 January 1958
No. of episodes126


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,[3] 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".[4]

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.[4]

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.[5]

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

Episodes based on stories by famous writers


See also


  1. ^ Dunning, John, On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, Oxford University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-19-507678-8.
  2. ^ Peter Nicholls with John Clute. The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (1993), St. Martin's Press
  3. ^ John Dunning (1998). On The Air. Oxford University Press. p. 729. ISBN 0-19-507678-8.
  4. ^ a b OTR Plotspot: X Minus One
  5. ^ "X Minus One Podcast". Archived from the original on November 1, 2007.

External links

A Pail of Air

"A Pail of Air" is a science fiction short story by American writer Fritz Leiber. It originally appeared in the December 1951 issue of Galaxy Magazine and was dramatized on the radio show X Minus One in March 1956.

A Saucer of Loneliness

"A Saucer of Loneliness" is a short story by American writer Theodore Sturgeon that first appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction n. 27 (February 1953). It was later adapted as a radio play for X Minus One in 1957, and as the second segment of the twenty-fifth episode (the first episode of the second season, 1986–87) of the television series The Twilight Zone, starring actress Shelley Duvall.

Bill McCord

William J. "Bill" McCord (December 18, 1916 – January 17, 2004) was an American radio and television announcer.

Born in Colville, Washington, McCord moved to Spokane in the 1930s, where he began his broadcasting career. During World War II, he served as a pilot in the United States Army Air Corps, stationed in Riverside, California, and rose to the rank of First Lieutenant. For several years starting in the 1940s, he was based out of WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, and announced on a few programs that aired on NBC, including The Circle Arrow Show.

McCord joined the announcing staff of NBC in New York in the early 1950s. His radio announcing credits for the network included Easy Money, Monitor, and a 1956 episode of X Minus One.

On television, McCord was one of several announcers, including Don Pardo, Bill Wendell, Roger Tuttle, Vic Roby and Wayne Howell, whose voice was heard on several NBC game shows. His most notable credits in that realm, in the 1950s, included Twenty One, Concentration, and Tic-Tac-Dough. In his later years with the network, up to his retirement in 1980, McCord's announcing work largely consisted of sub-announcing on NBC Nightly News and the one-minute NBC News Updates (as a frequent fill-in for regular announcer Bill Hanrahan), as well as occasional booth announcing duties for the local flagship station, WNBC-TV. McCord hosted shows like 30 Minutes in New York until he moved to California.

Following his retirement, McCord moved to San Diego, California. He died there of complications from pneumonia at age 87.

His son is famed rock musician Billy Vera.

Colony (short story)

"Colony" is a science fiction short story by American writer Philip K. Dick. It was first published in Galaxy magazine, June 1953. The plot centers on an expedition to an uncharted planet, on which the dominant, predatory alien life form is capable of precise mimicry of all kinds of objects. The size and complexity of the mimicked object can vary from simple doormats to whole spaceships with the larger objects usually attempting to trap and "absorb" humans similar to carnivorous plants.

The story was adapted for radio for the series X Minus One, airing on October 10, 1956.

Kenny Williams (announcer)

Kenny Williams or Ken Williams (April 12, 1914 – February 16, 1984), born Kenneth Williams Fertig Jr. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, was an announcer for American television from the late 1940s to 1980s. He was best known as the announcer of many game shows produced by Merrill Heatter and Bob Quigley (including Hollywood Squares, High Rollers, Gambit and others). He also appeared on screen as "Kenny the Cop" on Video Village and Shenanigans. He did one show for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions, Two for the Money, in 1952. As a radio actor in the 1940s to 1950s, he appeared on shows like X Minus One, where he played Rhysling on the episode "The Green Hills of Earth". He was also one of the announcers for the Buck Rogers radio program, among others. He died at home in Los Angeles, California on February 16, 1984.

Kermit Murdock

Kermit Murdock (20 March 1908 – 11 February 1981) was an American film, television and radio actor known for his avuncular and professorial character portrayals.

His more prominent character roles in major motion pictures included Dean Pollard in Splendor in the Grass (1961), Henderson, the banker in In the Heat of The Night (1967), and Dr. Robertson in The Andromeda Strain (1970).

He is also well known for his voice acting in many episodes of the 1950s science fiction radio series X Minus One. He was in The Mysterious Traveler episode "Survival of the Fittest" with Everett Sloane, and was featured in an episode of the series Adventure Ahead.

He appeared in character roles in television drama of the 1960s and 1970s including episodes of Kung Fu, The Mod Squad, and The Defenders. He portrayed a prosecutor of witches in the penultimate Star Trek episode, "All Our Yesterdays".

Knock (short story)

"Knock", is a science fiction short story by American writer by Fredric Brown. It starts with a short-short story based on the following text of Thomas Bailey Aldrich:

IMAGINE all human beings swept off the face of the earth, excepting one man. Imagine this man in some vast city, New York or London. Imagine him on the third or fourth day of his solitude sitting in a house and hearing a ring at the door-bell!

Fredric Brown condensed this text to "a sweet little action story that is only two sentences long". "Knock" then goes on to elaborate on those two sentences and build a more complete plot around them.

It was published in the December 1948 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories. There have been three different radio adaptations (Dimension X, X Minus One and Sci Fi Channel's Seeing Ear Theatre). The story was reprinted in The Best Science Fiction Stories: 1949

List of X Minus One episodes

List of episodes for the X Minus One radio show.

Ralph Moody (actor)

Ralph Moody (1886–1971) was an American actor with over 50 movie and over 100 television appearances plus numerous radio appearances. He was a regular on radio broadcasts of Gunsmoke, and also performed on the Roy Rogers Show, Wild Bill Hickok and X Minus One.At the age of 62, Moody began a string of film and television appearances, including films such as Road to Bali, Toward the Unknown, The Legend of Tom Dooley, and The Story of Ruth. On television, he was seen in episodes of Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Circus Boy, Perry Mason, The Rifleman, Bonanza, Have Gun - Will Travel, Rawhide, Daniel Boone, Wanted Dead or Alive, and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. He was also among a rotation of actors used by Jack Webb in the 1950s version as well as the 1967-70 revival of Dragnet, and in 1970 appeared in the last Dragnet episode produced by Webb. His most frequent television roles were as a kindly old man or Native American.

Requiem (short story)

"Requiem" is a short story by American writer Robert A. Heinlein, a sequel to his science fiction novella "The Man Who Sold the Moon", although it was in fact published several years earlier than that story, in Astounding, January 1940. The story was also performed as a play on October 27, 1955 on the NBC Radio Network program X Minus One.

It is also the first story in the retrospective Requiem: New Collected Works by Robert A. Heinlein and Tributes to the Grand Master.

Seventh Victim

"Seventh Victim" is a science fiction short story by American writer Robert Sheckley, originally published in Galaxy Science Fiction in 1953. In 1957 it was adapted for NBC's X Minus One radio play as "The Seventh Victim." It was heavily revised for the 1965 Italian movie The 10th Victim. Sheckley published a novelization of the film under that title the next year, and later followed with two sequels, 1987's Victim Prime and 1988's Hunter/Victim.

The story concerns a future society that has eliminated major warfare by allowing members of society who are inclined to violence to join The Big Hunt, a human hunting game. This eliminates the approximately one quarter of the population that would otherwise be a danger. The story follows an experienced hunter who is excited to receive his latest mission, but is faced with the concern that something is seriously wrong with the assignment.

Soldier Boy (short story)

"Soldier Boy" (also known as "X Minus One #71: 56-10-17 Soldier Boy") is a 1953 science fiction short story by American author Michael Shaara, about a soldier who, when sent on a routine patrol to a colonized world, saves the planet from an alien and its robot attack devices. Despite an ingrained contempt for the military that arose as part of conditioning to avoid war, the human colonists gradually assist the soldier when strange occurrences suggest they are not alone on the planet and may be, like several other colony planets, under threat of extermination by outside forces. It was originally published in the July 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. It is also the title of a 1982 collection of Shaara's short stories

Tales of Tomorrow

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 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.

The Defenders (short story)

"The Defenders" is a 1953 science fiction novelette by American author Philip K. Dick, and the basis for Dick's 1964 novel The Penultimate Truth. It is one of several of his stories to be expanded into a novel. The story was first published in the January 1953 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.

In 1956, the story was adapted for the radio program X Minus One by George Lefferts.

The Illustrated Man

The Illustrated Man is a 1951 collection of eighteen science fiction short stories by American writer Ray Bradbury. A recurring theme throughout the eighteen stories is the conflict of the cold mechanics of technology and the psychology of people. It was nominated for the International Fantasy Award in 1952.The unrelated stories are tied together by the frame device of "the Illustrated Man", a vagrant former member of a carnival freak show with an extensively tattooed body whom the unnamed narrator meets. The man's tattoos, allegedly created by a time-traveling woman, are individually animated and each tell a different tale. All but one of the stories had been published previously elsewhere, although Bradbury revised some of the texts for the book's publication.

The book was made into the 1969 The Illustrated Man, starring Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom. It presented adaptations of the stories "The Veldt", "The Long Rain" and "The Last Night of the World".

A number of the stories, including "The Veldt", "The Fox and the Forest" (as "To the Future"), "Marionettes, Inc.", and "Zero Hour" were dramatized for the 1955-57 radio series X Minus One. "The Veldt", "The Concrete Mixer", "The Long Rain", "Zero Hour", and "Marionettes Inc." were adapted for the TV series The Ray Bradbury Theater.

The Merchants of Venus

"The Merchants of Venus", also known by the title "The Merchants of Venus Underground", is a science fiction novella by American writer Frederik Pohl published in 1972 as part of the collection The Gold at the Starbow's End.

It is a satire of runaway free market capitalism. It also features the first appearance of the Heechee.

It was adapted as a graphic novel by Victoria Petersen and Neal McPheeters in 1986, as the fourth title in the DC Science Fiction Graphic Novel series.

An unrelated story with a slightly different title ("The Merchant of Venus") by A.H. Phelps was published in Galaxy magazine, March 1954. In it, an advertising man takes on the problem of getting colonists to go to Venus. This unrelated "The Merchant of Venus" was dramatized on the radio series X Minus One, which was affiliated with Galaxy.

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.

Wendell Holmes (actor)

Wendell Holmes (August 17, 1914 – May 18, 1962) was an American actor whose career included work in radio, television, broadway, and film.


X1 or X-1 may refer to:

VehiclesBell X-1, the first aircraft to exceed the speed of sound in controlled level flight

BMW X1, a BMW Compact Sports Activity Vehicle

HM Submarine X1, a Royal Navy submarine

McLaren X-1, a 2012 bespoke supercar created for an anonymous client and based on the McLaren MP4-12C

Red Bull X1, the former name of the Red Bull X2010, a fictional car created for the game Gran Turismo 5

SL X1, a former Swedish commuter train

Sinclair X-1, an electrically assisted faired recumbent bicycle

Wrightspeed X1, an electric sports car based on the Ariel Atom chassis

X-1 Submarine, the United States Navy's only midget submarine

X1 (dinghy), a fast, light-weight sailing dinghy designed for inland racing

XS-1 (spacecraft), a space plane in development

Yamaha X-1 and X-1R, related Yamaha underbone motorcyclesComputingX1 (computer), a Japanese home computer manufactured by the Sharp Corporation

Xbox One, a video game console

a one-lane PCI Express slot

Cray X1, a supercomputer sold since 2003

Electrologica X1, an early Dutch computer

ThinkPad X1 Carbon, a high-end notebook computer released by Lenovo in 2012

X1 (software company) formerly known as X1 Technologies, Inc.

Tegra X1, a system on a chip released by Nvidia in 2015OtherX1 (New York City bus)

X1, a Metrobus route

X Minus One, an old time radio show

x −1, the multiplicative inverse of x (another way to denote 1⁄x, one divided by x)

Cygnus X-1 and Scorpius X-1, two astronomical x-ray sources

M82 X-1, a candidate intermediate-mass black hole detected in January 2006

Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1, a mobile phone

Excel X1, a bus route from Lowestoft to Peterborough in Eastern England

X1 Steel Link, a bus rapid transit service between Sheffield, Rotherham and Maltby in northern England

United States patent X1, by Samuel Hopkins (inventor)

X-Men, the first film in the X-Men franchise

X1 (Egyptian hieroglyph t), an extremely common alphabetic letter in the Ancient Egyptian alphabet

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