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Tales of Tomorrow [tv/radio]

Entry updated 19 November 2023. Tagged: Radio, TV.

1. US tv series (1951-1953). ABC TV. Created and produced by George Foley, Dick Gordon. Story editor: Theodore Sturgeon. Two seasons with 85 episodes in all; season one ran from 3 August 1951 to 8 August 1952 (43 episodes) and season two from 22 August 1952 to 12 June 1953 (42 episodes). 25 minutes per episode. Black and white.

One of the earliest and most successful sf-anthology Television series, Tales of Tomorrow was ambitious but, like most television of the period, limited by the restrictions imposed by live studio shooting. It drew its material from a variety of sources, including the sf Pulp magazines, as well as using original teleplays. The first episode was "Verdict from Space" (3 August 1951) written by Theodore Sturgeon and based on his own story "The Sky Was Full of Ships" (June 1947 Thrilling Wonder). Other writers whose stories were adapted included Nelson S Bond, Fredric Brown, Arthur C Clarke, Theodore R Cogswell, Henry Kuttner, Julian May and William Tenn. Episodes #17 and #18 of the first series were a two-part dramatization of Jules Verne's Vingt mille lieues sous les mers (1870; trans as Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Seas 1872), starring Thomas Mitchell as Captain Nemo; Leslie Nielsen co-starred. Episode #37 of season two was "The Evil Within" (1 May 1953) written by David E Durston and Manya Starr, and starring Margaret Phillips, Rod Steiger and a young James Dean. Other well-known actors appearing in Tales of Tomorrow included Lon Chaney Jr, Lee J Cobb, Eva Gabor, Boris Karloff, Mercedes McCambridge, Burgess Meredith, Paul Newman, Leslie Nielsen (6 episodes), Zachary Scott and Joanne Woodward. Four novel ties to the series were written by David Houston (whom see). [FHP/RR/DRL]

see also: The Cremators.

2. US Radio series (1953). ABC Radio Network/CBS Radio Network. Producers, directors and staff authors unknown. Fifteen episodes of uncertain length, perhaps 30 minutes.

This short-lived programme, running from 1 January to 9 April 1953, was an unsuccessful attempt to produce a radio companion to 1 above. Sponsored by Galaxy magazine, it dramatized fifteen Galaxy stories including "The Stars are the Styx" (October 1950 Galaxy) by Theodore Sturgeon and "The Girls from Earth" (January 1952 Galaxy) by Frank M Robinson, both believed to be lost. Six episodes are known to survive, although not all the original story authors are known: "Betelgeuse Bridge" (15 January 1953), adapted from "Betelgeuse Bridge" (April 1951 Galaxy) by William Tenn; "The Other Now" (22 January 1953) from "The Other Now" (March 1951 Galaxy) by Murray Leinster; "Watch Bird" (19 February 1953) from "Watchbird" (February 1953 Galaxy) by Robert Sheckley; "Martians Never Die" (12 March 1953) from "Martians Never Die" (April 1951 Galaxy) by Lucius Daniel; "The Girls From Earth" (19 March 1953), presumably from "The Girls From Earth" (January 1952 Galaxy) by Frank M Robinson; "The Old Die Rich" (26 March 1953) from "The Old Die Rich" by H L Gold (March 1953 Galaxy); and "Morrow on Mars" (2 April 1953), original unidentified.

It is possible that some of the writers for the television series also worked on the radio programme. Several of the radio instalments were later remade as episodes of X Minus One (1955-1958). [GSt/DRL]


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