Long before Rod Serling created The Twilight Zone, this radio Genre Anthology drama which ran from 1955 to 1958 on the NBC radio network. Using material supplied by the two major science fiction magazines of the day, Astounding Science Fiction and later Galaxy, the show produced a weekly radio drama involving science fiction, aimed at adults. (One of the program's sponsors was Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.)
As noted on The Other Wiki, the show opened with the same teaser:
Later they would use Galaxy in place of Astounding. Some openings did not include the word 'transcribed'.
Each week, a new story, taken from either Astounding or Galaxy, was performed as a radio drama (or comedy) in which the material was played straight for an adult audience, as opposed to typical 1950s science fiction (especially science fiction movies or TV shows) which either trivialized this type of story (as in the case of most "bug eyed monster" style low-budget "Earth is being invaded by monsters (or) Martians" films) or targeted it for juveniles (e.g., Captain Video).
For its time, the show was somewhat groundbreaking in that it covered science fiction as serious fiction directed to adults. Story lines included characters with gambling and addiction problems, criminal tendencies, and even one case where a space ship piloted by a computer with a female personality, was being "made love to" by its "robot boyfriend."
MP3s of the show can be downloaded for free from the Internet Archive http://www.archive.org/details/XMinus1_A , or can be purchased on CD for $10 for the low quality set or $25 for the high-quality set from the "official" http://www.xminusone.com/text/showlist.htm website, it claims to include all 195 episodes. You can also listen to episodes on YouTube.
The various episodes of the series supply examples of:
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: In "The Cold Equations", Marilyn Lee Cross stows away aboard the Emergency Dispatch Ship to Woden in order to reunite with her husband Gerry, on whom she cheated. In the short story by Tom Godwin, Marilyn and Gerry are siblings.
- Adaptational Backstory Change: In "A Saucer of Loneliness", Jason Bernaides is a journalist who investigates Janet Boyce's encounter with the Flying Saucer in 1957 and later prevents her from drowning herself on June 25, 1962. In the short story by Theodore Sturgeon, the unnamed equivalent character has no connection with the woman until he finds the copy of the saucer's message that she placed in a bottle and does not meet her until the night that he saves her.
- Alien Arts Are Appreciated: "Pictures Don't Lie" involved a scientist who was trading TV broadcasts with Sagittarians. They really liked the "Dancing hippo" segment of Fantasia and in return, sent an episode of one of their TV shows.
- Audio Adaptation: Of The Green Hills of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein.
- Double Don't Know: One episode had the character using this trope.
- Downer Ending: Many of the shows ended up with a bad result for the protagonist.
- Genre Anthology: X Minus One was a science fiction radio anthology series.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: In "A Saucer of Loneliness", Jason Bernaides slaps Janet Boyce to prevent her from killing herself.
- Named by the Adaptation: In "A Saucer of Loneliness", the woman who receives the telepathic message from the Flying Saucer is named Janet Boyce while the man who prevents the woman from committing suicide is named Jason Bernaides. In the short story, they are not named.
- No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: "Pictures Don't Lie" features Saggitarians trading video libraries with an Earthling scientist. They send him a talk show and an adventure movie, and he sends them Fantasia.
- Spiritual Successor: X Minus One is this to Dimension X, which aired on NBC radio from 19501951.
- Whole Episode Flashback: "A Saucer of Loneliness" begins on June 25, 1962 and then flashes back to 1957 to tell the story of Janet Boyce's difficulties after her refusal to divulge the contents of the message from the Flying Saucer.
- Worthless Yellow Rocks: In "Project Mastadon", the protagonist got mixed up in a time-traveling get-rich-quick scheme by going to the past and investing in stocks that would rise and property loaded with a type of mineral that the seller told him had interesting scientific qualities but was basically worthlessuranium.