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The 1950s Science Fiction Podcast S:3 E:3

Radio Drama Review, 2000 Plus, and Escape, episodes: The Flying Saucers, North of Polaris

By Edward GermanPublished about a year ago 4 min read

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Hello, and welcome back to the 1950s Science Fiction Podcast. I am back after a long break while I worked on a different project. I was busy recording a segment for the StarPodLog podcast, which is forthcoming on a future show. That spot will make my fourth appearance on their podcast. I have also been by with both my work and personal life.

Today I will review two episodes from different radio series. The first review is 2000 Plus and their story, The Flying Saucers. The second review, North of Polaris, from the series Escape.

The Flying Saucers from 2000 Plus.

The Science Fiction radio drama 2000 Plus ran on the Mutual Broadcasting Network from March 15, 1950, to January 2, 1952. The series running time was 30-minute episodes each and was produced as an anthology. Each story was an original script instead of a story taken from a published magazine. 2000 Plus is considered the first adult Science Fiction radio drama; it debuted one month before Dimension X.

The episode was broadcasted on August 23, 1950, by Mutual broadcasting. It stared actor Ralph Bell as a scientist who wants to know why UFOs sightings keep happening near the military base where he works. He sends a message to Washington stressing the importance of security at the site due to the nature of the rocket testing conducted there. When a Flying Sacurer is detected just before a test, he orders it shot down. A craft of some kind crases in the nearby desert, and a local rancher finds the wreckage. Dr. Horton, (Ralph Bell) goes to the crash site to investigate further, but when he does, things start getting weird. He thinks the alien craft is abandoned but finds an occupant at the controls.

I don't want to tell you the rest of the story, but I want you to listen to it for yourself. Hey, no plot spoilers! The Flying Saucers is an excellent episode and excellent sci-fi radio drama of the period. The show used some excellent sound effects for a radar-tracking scene during a missile launch. The lead actor, Raph Bell has a distinctive voice, and I remember him from The CBS Radio Mystery Theater program during the 70s. Overall it is a great story and worth listening to, if you are serious about OTR sci-fi stories, this episode is a must-listen.

You can find this episode of 2000 Plus at achive.org, just look for the OTR section of the site. Also, available at relicradio.com in the Science Fiction section of that website. For this podcast, I have included the intro for this episode and I will have it up next. I will also have the complete show linked on my vocal.media page. Just go to vocal.media and type in my name into the search bar and type in the podcast name and you should be able to find it.

Escape: North of Polaris.

The second story is from Escape, episode number 183, North of Polaris, broadcasted on May 17, 1953. Escape was an action-adventure series aired on CBS from July 7, 1947, to September 25, 1954. This radio drama was a leading anthology for adventure radio dramas of the period. The show was noted for its opening narration mixed with the classic music score, The Night on Bald Mountian, by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky a Russian composer. While the opening narration was read by American actor James Conrad, best known for his role as Frank Cannon in the TV crime drama Cannon broadcasted in the 70s for CBS. Conrad is also the lead actor in this episode of Escape. During the 50s, the actor worked extensively in radio dramas, he was the first to play Marshal Dillion in the radio version of Gunsmoke. Conrad got his start in radio drama when he was just 22 years old working at a radio station in Los Angeles during the 40s. At KMPC he produced and starred in the horror fiction anthology series The Hermits Cave.

The Planet:

In this story, a group of astronauts lands on an alien planet for the first time. Once they disembark from their spaceship they encounter a barren and hostile world. While surveying the planet, the astronauts encounter giant rats but manage to avoid getting hurt. As they continue about the planet, the lead astronaut notices signs of a civilization that once flourished in the alien world, even more, astonishing are a handful of aliens that resemble humans and speak English. The aliens explain how they survived an atomic war that devastated the planet and left giant mutant rats as one of the effects. One of the aliens asks where they had come from, and a very surprising explanation is given.

My Thoughts:

This episode of Escape was an excellent story, full of mystery and suspense. The series used talented writers to create an engaging story. Since the show was low-budget, the producers faced limitations on music and sound effects for the series. A common theme that ran in science fiction stories at the time was the post-atomic war destruction of the population. In the show, we see how the astronauts discover a world that nearly destroyed itself via Atomic warfare, a plot device discussed during a previous podcast, Rocketship X-M. It seems like this was a good plot for sci-fi at that time due to the Cold War and continuing A-bomb tests on the public mind. I do recommend listing to this story, I have included the first two minutes of the show in the podcast, and I will have the link to the entire show on my vocal. media page. You can find this episode of Escape at relicradio.com or the Internet archive.

Well, that is all for now: I hope you have enjoyed my podcast and that you will continue to listen. This past year has seen growth in listenership for this podcast according to Spotify Wrapped. I do want to thank all those who have listened and subscribed to my show. Please feel free to send me feedback at any time on social media, by e-mail, or via comments. I am most active on Twitter @EdwardGerman3, and on Instagram at Sutterbug1681. I also promote my podcast on my vocal. media page as well, you will find the link on the podcast webpage on any of the platforms.

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About the Creator

Edward German

A long-time sci-fi fan who loves the internet. I am also writing on subjects other than sci-fi.

you can follow me on "X" @EdwardGerman3 Listen to my podcast The 1950s Science Fiction Podcast on Spotify for Podcasters.

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