BW - EP129—003: Radio, Roswell And The Flying Saucer Craze—Dimension X Launches


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Until March of 1950, most reported UFO observations were seen from a great distance. On March 16th, a physician and pilot — Dr. Craig Hunter of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia — saw one close up. That same month, the Mutual Broadcasting System launched a series called 2000 Plus. Considered the first adult science fiction show in radio history, a month later NBC launched their own. Produced from Radio City in New York, It would be called Dimension X, and debut on Saturday April 8th at 8PM. The man you’re listening to is Arnold Moss. An accomplished New York actor, by 1950 he was all over the radio dial. Moss was also no stranger to playing multiple parts in a single broadcast. On May 6th, 1950 Arnold Moss starred in Dimension X’s “Knock.” For its time. Dimension X was a wonder. Two and sometimes three sound effects men worked each show. Each show was produced in a huge, two-story studio, giving the crew the ability to obtain tremendous echo effects. Blended in were futuristic musical scores, composed by Albert Berman and played on the organ. Host-narrator Norman Rose was the perfect voice, combining an authoritative resonance with a touch of dark irony. Arnold Moss was right at home in these futuristic dramas. He was flanked by Joan Alexander and Luis Van Rooten. The show was produced live for the first thirteen weeks and transcribed thereafter. It ran against Gene Autry on CBS. To help promote it, the NBC press department sent out a Radio Editors' Flying Saucer Mail Service. It was a promotional piece made up of a white saucer-shaped cardboard lettered in red and white and attached to a blue square. It wasn’t long before Wheaties grabbed the series with their Big Parade in the summer of 1950. They began sponsorship on July 7th. But, aside from Friday, Saturday night was radio’s lowest-rated evening. NBC won three of the four time slots between 8:30 and 10PM, but they were all comedies. While Dimension X was well-produced, it was an outlier sandwiched between The Joe Dimaggio Show and Truth of Consequences. Wheaties ended their big parade in August and NBC began to bump Dimension X around its schedule. It was picked up and dropped without announcement, and finally went off the air for good on September 29th, 1951.

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