The Pioneer: Radio’s First Sci-Fi Anthology, "2000 Plus"
Updated: Mar 29, 2020
By John C. Alsedek:
*cue stentorian music*
“Two Thousand Plus!”
“The world of tomorrow—the years beyond 2000 A.D.! The age of rocketships, interplanetary travel . . . a time for adventure!”
One of the joys of doing this column for Flapper Press is that sometimes I’ll learn something new, and this is one of those times. For it was only when I was researching last month’s piece on the great science fiction anthology series X Minus One that I discovered that, while it was the most popular "serious" sci-fi radio series of the 1950s, it wasn’t the first. That distinction belongs to another show that premiered one month prior to the first episode of the X Minus One predecessor program Dimension X; that show was 2000 Plus.
2000 Plus (also listed as Two Thousand Plus and 2000+) was a science fiction anthology series that aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System from March 15, 1950 until January 2, 1952. It was the first of several like-minded programs to air in the early Fifties; besides Dimension X, there was also CBS’s Beyond Tomorrow (1950) and ABC’s Tales of Tomorrow (1953). However, unlike those others that adapted their scripts from short stories appearing in magazines such as Astounding Science Fiction and Galaxy Science Fiction, 2000 Plus did original stories written by Sherman H. Dryer and Robert Weenolsen, who were also the program’s creators and producers. The Dryer-Weenolsen production team also included sound effects man Adrian Penner, composer Elliott Jacoby, announcer Ken Marvin, and a strong group of veteran radio actors including Lon Clark, Joseph Julian, Bill Keene, Henry Norell, Bryna Raeburn, and Amzie Strickland.
The scripts, written by Dryer and Weenolsen, are pretty much what one would expect from Fifties science fiction, with pulp-esque titles such as "The Flying Saucers," "The Robot Killer," "Men from Mars," and "When the Machines Went Wild," with stories to match. That's not to say they're bad—I've been giving them a listen, and every episode I've caught so far has been pretty good. But it does suffer in comparison with Dimension X and X Minus One, which is totally understandable; I mean, X Minus One did stories by Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, and other giants of the genre.
2000 Plus moved around the Mutual Broadcasting schedule for a little under two years before going off the air for good at the beginning of 1952 due to lackluster ratings. Around forty total episodes were recorded, but only sixteen survive today. You can listen to them at
Mutual Broadcasting would return to the science fiction anthology well in 1957 with Exploring Tomorrow, which adapted tales from Astounding Science Fiction Magazine (previously a partner of X Minus One) and was hosted by Astounding editor and writing great John W. Campbell. But Exploring Tomorrow lasted just one season, and Mutual Broadcasting wouldn’t do another sci-fi drama until 1980.
Speaking of the Mutual Broadcasting System, we’ll be talking about the company’s history next time. Until then, thanks for tuning in!
P.S.: If you love science fiction old-time radio, then you might like this…
Writer, producer, and radio-drama aficionado, John C. Alsedek, shares the history of radio and the impact it has made on the world of entertainment.