2000 Plus

was the first purely science fiction, adult anthology to hit the airwaves.* It aired over the Mutual network from the spring of 1950 until very early in 1952. Nearly 100 episodes were produced, but fewer than 20 survive. Episodes were in standard 30-minute format.

Unlike its contemporary rival Dimension X, which drew much of its material from the sci-fi pulps of the time, all 2000 Plus stories were original. Production values and acting were excellent, and it's a great pity that the series was so short-lived and that so few episodes survive. The script-writing of the surviving episodes is variable—some are fairly childish, some are quite good. The best of the surviving episodes, however, can't match the best of Dimension X, Exploring Tomorrow, or X Minus One... although with so many lost episodes, it is hard to judge the quality of the entire series. Even though most of the scripts were not credited, it seems likely that series creator Sherman H. Dryer (himself a writer) penned a few of them.

Based on the quality of the few surviving episodes, it is tempting to think of 2000 Plus as an 'experiment' in radio: a desperate, yet half-hearted, attempt to try anything, even science fiction, in an attempt to forestall the growing influence of television. I don't buy it.

First of all, there was nothing half-hearted about this effort. While the writing was, at times, juvenile and amateurish, the cast and crew were all seasoned professionals. The mean age of the cast was 38, backed by 10-15 years of solid acting experience. Actors included: Ed Latimer, Luis Van Rooten, Lon Clark, Gilbert Mack, Ralph Bell, William Griffis, Bryna Raeburn, Mason Adams, Joseph Julian, Hester Sondergaard, and Nat Polen! Names which should be familiar to any fan of old time radio. The director, Sherman H. Dryer, had previously directed a couple of series about progress made through science: Exploring the Unknown and The Human Adventure.

Secondly, this was 1950, and there was a collective yearning for science and technology to provide security and to increase the standard of living (from self-driving cars to robot servants, from polio vaccines to pace-makers, from solar power to 'super-atomic calculating machines'), while at the same time there was fear and distrust of that same science. This was, after all, a mere 5 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Communists were expanding their reach throughout the 3rd World. The Korean War had just started. McCarthy was ramping up the Red Scare campaign.

And finally, this wasn't a 'desperate attempt' to hold on to the past... it was a bold attempt to grab the future. The 1950s saw a six-fold increase in science fiction films and a 3-fold increase in science fiction pulp magazines. There was an arms race... and a race to the moon. And at the beginning of that decade, at the very cutting edge, was the sci-fi anthology 2000 Plus: "Who can say what is impossible in the world of tomorrow? Let us go into the future... into the years beyond 2000 AD!"

Science and Technology: the promise, the power, the threat. America was ready for it all.

So, this is the context you should bear in mind while listening to these stories. The science may not have been as sophisticated as it is today, and you may be tempted to pass these stories off as 'corn' or 'camp', but these stories reflect the times in which they were written, and enthusiasm for the future was just as strong then as it is now.

[*Well, maybe. According to Digital Deli Too, Beyond Tomorrow might have beaten 2000 Plus to the airwaves. At least three episodes and a pilot were produced, but it is unclear if any of the episodes actually aired. If they did, they probably aired very early in 1950, beating 2000 Plus by a month or two.]

Sources used to create my own log and double-check titles, dates and cast members: Digital Deli Too, RadioGOLDINdex, Nightkey's OTR Errors, IMDB, On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio (John Dunning), and Billboard magazine. The Lost episodes listed below, and their plots, were taken from the 2000 Plus log at the Digital Deli Too.

Currently this archive contains 16 of 16 plotlines and 26 reviews

Webmaster Recommends:
Flying Saucers | The Other Man

Jeff Dickson Recommends:
Space Wreck | A Veteran Comes Home | When the Worlds Met | Worlds Apart


Alone    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

"The story of a man who finds himself alone in the world." --- Pacific Stars and Stripes, 1953/01/29, as quoted at Digital Deli Too.
[I've heard rumours that this episode exists but is not in circulation; every copy I've found with this title is actually "Worlds Apart" --- webmaster.]

Reviews:

Break in the Chain, A    *LOST*

Year: 1952
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

"What will the criminal be like in Two Thousand plus? Join in the hunt for thugs who are bent on robbing the world bank in 'A Break in the Chain'." --- Pacific Stars and Stripes, 1952/10/16, as quoted at Digital Deli Too

Reviews:

Brooklyn Brain, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Super Science, Humour
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

A thick-headed dimwit hopes that being the subject of a science experiment will help him win the love of his dream woman.

Reviews:
A very funny episode. Listening to two men with heavy Brooklyn accents debate art is hilarious. --- Seth Gaines

This episode has a good air of humor to it and is quite an enjoyable listen... Good ending, too. [4 stars] --- Douglas Hoyer

Diamond Helmet, The    *LOST*

aka: "The Diamond Skull"
Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Doom Machine, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Super Science, Robots
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Edgar Marvin

Irritated by human failings, a scientist working to harness solar power creates a robot to assist him in his efforts, because robots—as everyone knows—are incapable of error... [I think this episode exists, but is not in circulation; the plotline is taken from a version which was broadcast later on Suspense. --- webmaster]

See also "Almost Human" (Dimension X and X Minus One), "The Automaton" (Hall of Fantasy), "Beware of Tomorrow" (Mysterious Traveler and Sealed Book) and "The Doom Machine" (Suspense and 2000 Plus).

Reviews:

Earth vs Alexander Corday, The    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

"Scientist goes to moon to plot Earth's destruction." --- Wisconsin State Journal, 1950/06/14, as quoted at Digital Deli Too

Reviews:

Explorers from Space    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

First Men, The    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Flower of Evil, The    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Flying Saucers

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Pierre Gerson

An alien spacecraft appears over an Air Force base. In a dazzling display of military logic, the local General decides the wisest response is to shoot at it—igniting a series of rather unfortunate consequences.

Reviews:
My favorite episode of the series. It has all the elements of great 50's sci-fi... fear of the strange and unknown, a bit of suspense and mystery, and the unexpected twist ending. To top it all off, the episode was excellently produced and acted. The music and sound effects are very good in this series, and are particularly well-done in this episode. ~ Highly recommended! --- Douglas Hoyer

Giant Walks, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Super Science
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Julian Schneider

A megalomaniacal scientist concocts a serum that transforms men into titans, with the intention of creating a super-race for world conquest.

Snippet: "What's the matter, Westin? Don't you think it would be valuable to give yourself to Science?" -- Dr Ellsworth

Reviews:
A fun episode until the end, which is preachy and corny. --- Seth Gaines

A great 'Mad Scientist' story. One of the best in the series IMO. The 2000 Plus acting troupe was quite good and gives a particularly effective performance in this episode. Listen for Henry Norrell's performance as Dr. Ellsworth in particular. ~ Highly recommended episode! --- Douglas Hoyer

Green Thing, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Edgar Marvin

Patients in a sanitarium share a common nightmare of a 'green thing' threatening them in their sleep. But how can they all have the exact same dream?

Reviews:
While the concept here is entertaining and fun, the delivery is somewhat lacking. The theme of 'mass hysteria' has promise, but ultimately this tale falls apart in the telling. While it is worth your time, there are better shows in this series. --- Brian Lane

One of the best episodes of the series... excellent acting and production... good air of mystery, very suspenseful. Classic 50's sci-fi from start to finish. ~4 stars. --- Douglas Hoyer

Hosts above the Thunder    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Insect, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Super Science, Horror
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

The wife of a scientist experimenting with an arthropod growth-ray gets trapped in the laboratory by one of his more successful efforts.

With Joan Shea (Betty), Larry Robinson (Bill), Ralph Bell (George) and William Griffis (the Dean).

Reviews:
This is a great little tale that centers on the phobias of a scientist's wife. This is unexpected in the fact that it is not the "cookie-cutter" plot of many of the stories of the time. Specifically, it is not a "mad-scientist" story nor does it warn against man playing God in the realms of science. Highly entertaining. --- Brian Lane

Apparently the skies were just chocked-full of giant insects back in the 50's (along w/ all the saucers of course). Well...this show has got some of 'em, and a very melodramatic episode this is indeed! Listen for the wife's performance in particular. Great stuff. ~ Recommended! --- Douglas Hoyer

Journey into the Germ World    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Living Dead, The    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

"A scientist joins the land of the dead." --- Pacific Stars and Stripes, 1953/05/04, as quoted at Digital Deli Too

Reviews:

Man Who Conquered Time, The    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Time Travel
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

"A man uses machine to project himself into year 10,000 A. D." --- Wisconsin State Journal 1950/04/12, as quoted at Digital Deli Too.

Reviews:

Man Who Found Himself, The    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Super Science
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

" 'The Man Who Found Himself' is the unusual futuristic tale of a man whose personality was altered by a psychoanalysis machine, presented on the 2000 Plus program Wednesday night (KMAC 8 PM)." --- San Antonio Light, 1950/06/07, as quoted at Digital Deli Too.

Reviews:

Man Who Tried to Stop June 8th, The    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Men from Mars, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Peter Berry

Two kids, denied the opportunity to take a trip to Mars, decide to build their own damn rocket.

With Ronald Liss (Micky), Ronnie Jacoby ?? (Dink), Solette McMann ?? (Mabelle), Ed Latimer (the father), John Griggs (), and Sandy Fickert ?? ().

Reviews:
For the first show from this series, the story comes out of the gate quite well. While 2000 Plus was originally designed for adult audiences, this episode seems to be a transition between a childrens' show and one geared more for adults. Nice twist ending. --- Brian Lane

The textbook definition of 'corn'. --- Alex diPietro.

A good introduction to the series. The vision of the future year 2040 is quite amusing. The story—though slightly predictable—is good and the production is very good... well-acted and the sound is very effective—as it is in the entire series. --- Douglas Hoyer

Reminded me of the early, juvenile science fiction stories of Robert Heinlein like Rocket Ship Galileo (1947), Space Cadet (1948), Red Planet (1949), The Rolling Stones (1952), and Have Spacesuit, Will Travel (1958). You could remove all the 'science' and it wouldn't affect the story at all; what you'd have left is a juvenile adventure story that just happens to take place in space. --- zM

Other Man, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Super Science
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Sherman H. Dryer

Scott Douglas returns home one evening to discover that he is being sought by the World Security Police for murder. And so is Scott Douglas...

This show is sometimes incorrectly tagged as "The Man Who Found Himself". A later version appeared on Theatre Five as "Molecule Masquerade".

Reviews:
Fun concept for this episode, though not my favorite. I would say this is an average attempt at science fiction using a standard device: human duplication. --- Brian Lane

My favourite episode of the series. A nice little super-science mystery. Solid acting. Very clear audio quality. Loved the whole doppelgänger conundrum. [8/10] --- zM

Robot Killer, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Robots
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

A suburban couple win a robotic house-servant in a contest; sounds ideal, except that the wife is mentally unstable and has a taste for homicide.

Reviews:
Hysterical fear of technology. It just doesn't get any better than that! Listen for the "future" ads on "Happy Sam's" show...quite amusing. ~4 stars. --- Douglas Hoyer

Rocket and the Skull, The

Year: 1951
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Communist spies, saboteurs, and extraterrestrials intrigue over a critical American space launch.

Reviews:
Mystery! Suspense!! Spies!!! Martians!!!! What more could you ask for? If you only listen to one episode of 2000 Plus... you couldn't do much better than to listen to this one. BTW... this story's "future" (2006) has already passed! --- Douglas Hoyer

Rocket to the Moon    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

" 'Control the Moon and you control the world' is the watchword for peace in the years 2,000 plus. How the future policy makers of the world will be about this task will be unfolded on KCKG—KCRK's 2,000 Plus broadcast tonight at 8 o'clock." --- Cedar Rapids Gazette, 1950/04/19, as quoted at Digital Deli Too

Reviews:

Silent Noise, The    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Space Wreck

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Space Exploration
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Titanic in space. On its maiden voyage, the interplanetary passenger liner Golden Star is struck by a meteor and set adrift.

Reviews:
Join 750 passengers aboard "The Golden Star" luxury space cruise liner... and get LOST IN SPACE!! An amusing note: listen for words about 'Super-atomic calculating machines'. Don't we all want one of those? :D One of the better episodes. ~4 stars --- Douglas Hoyer

Sphinx, The    *LOST*

Year: 1953
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Temples of the Pharaohs, The

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Time Travel
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

Two astronauts fall through a time warp and crash-land in ancient Egypt, where they find themselves guests in the court of the Pharaoh.

Reviews:
Time travel sure is fun, ain't it? You might have to suspend your disbelief in a few areas to enjoy this story, but it is fun if you can. Slightly above average quality for the series in this episode. --- Brian Lane

The [audio] quality of this recording is a bit on the poor side, but it is an excellent production and quite an interesting tale... and 2000 Plus's only time travel story. ~5 stars! --- Douglas Hoyer

That Which Lives in a Steel Head    *LOST*

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Time Out of Hand    *LOST*

Year:
Duration: 30 min
Genre:
Available for Listening Booth: N
Story by:

Veteran Comes Home, A

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: War
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

A traumatized war vet returns from the Martian War to his family on Earth, only to discover to his horror that his son can't wait to enlist.

Reviews:
This is an extremely topical and poignant tale. It has a powerful message and an equally powerful ending. This is one of the best shows of the series. --- Brian Lane

A somewhat anti-climactic episode, it nevertheless is worth a listen. The central character's reminiscences about the Martian War are the highlight of the show, but the beginning and ending, which bookends the Martian War part, is an interesting character study and worth a listen also. --- Douglas Hoyer

When Machines Went Mad

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Dystopia
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Donald Stapleton

In an uncertain future, within a computerized city, a small knot of revolutionaries challenge the tyrannical Master Controller.

Reviews:
This episode's plotline is one of the classic ones of the fifties... fear of technology run wild... and writer Donald Stapleton does an admirable job of encompassing that fear, as does the great cast in portraying it. As with all good sci-fi of the era—and as usual in 2000 Plus—there is a good twist ending. See if it surprises you! --- Douglas Hoyer

When the Worlds Met

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Judith and David Bublick

Martians arrive on Earth to deliver a dire warning to the primitive, warlike natives.

Reviews:
This episode harbors the stereotypical preachy message of "love thy neighbor" in a blatant manner kindled with the genuine concern that we can't always trust our neighbors. It is worth the listen simply to catch a glimpse of the culture of the time. --- Brian Lane

One of the best episodes of the series. Well produced and acted. The sound effects are particularly "effective" in this episode. Good ending. Classic 50's sci-fi ~ Recommended. --- Douglas Hoyer

Worlds Apart

Year: 1950
Duration: 30 min
Genre: Space Exploration
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by:

A space expedition returning from Neptune find themselves arrested and imprisoned for reasons unknown.

This episode is sometimes incorrectly tagged as "Alone".

Snippet: [two prisoners call to a rescuer] prisoner 1: "Hello there. Who is it?" rescuer: "It's me, Reynolds." prisoner 2: "Reynolds, the chess-playing physicist."

Reviews:
Quite a good episode. You may think you have it all figured out... but the ending may still surprise you a bit. This is also one of the better [audio] recordings... ~4 stars --- Douglas Hoyer