The Mutual Network was in many ways the “little brother” of the Big Four radio networks. However being small lead to the need to be innovative on many occasions. One example is the world of adult Science Fiction.
The anthology program 2000 Plus premiered on Mutual on Mar 15, 1952, nearly a month before Dimension X appeared on NBC. 2000+ was unique in that the program used all original stories as opposed to the adaptations featured on Dimension X and the later X Minus One. Some of our favorite episodes include:
The Brooklyn Brain, broadcast 6/21/1950. A young man needs instant wisdom and culture to win his girl, so he volunteers to have scientists give him an electronic brain that will allow him to learn anything instantly.
The Green Thing, broadcast 9/27/1950. A patient in a sanitarium is haunted by dreams of a horrible green monster. The doctors struggle to find what it means when they discover other patients are haunted by the same dreams and the same monster, even the Doctor see the huge claws, the pink eyes, what can it mean?
Worlds Apart, broadcast 11/15/1950. A spaceship traveling to Neptune is caught in the tail of an uncharted comet, escaping only by using the ship’s full power. Returning home they find a world with two moons where the milk is green.
The Insect, broadcast 8/15/1951. A scientist has success in his home laboratory enlarging insects, flies, spiders, wasps, etc. When he is away on a business trip, the grocery delivery boy talks the wife into letting him see the lab. Wife and delivery boy end up trapped in the lab with the monster bugs, which haven’t been fed for days…
Exploring Tomorrow came to Mutual for a short run in 1957-58. The program, which was a summer replacement for Gangbusters, was narrated by Astounding Magazine editor John W. Campbell. Favorite episodes include:
The Adventure of the Beauty Queen, broadcast 6/25/1958. Miss USA 1958 is awakened by a mysterious Voice, from the future! A Future scientist is exploring the nature of beauty, and has fallen in love with the Beauty Queen. Now he wants to bring her to the future, to stay with him.
First Baby in Space (a.k.a. Space Baby), by Randall Garrett, broadcast 6/15/1958. A space station is damaged by a meteorite, for which it is prepared, but it isn’t prepared for the expectant mother who is injured, or her baby which will need an incubator to survive. Incubator? There’s no incubator on a space station…