Series Name: X Minus One
Episode Title: Sea Legs
Original Air Date: 5/1/56
Available On: Relic Radio Sci-Fi Podcast September 7, 2009
Sound Quality: Good
X Minus One is the successor to the science fiction radio show Dimension X. Both series are favorites of mine, the stories are adapted from Galaxy Magazine and they capture the feel of Atomic Age Sci-Fi. In general the direction, acting and stories are more complex than many of their peers. These shows are the spiritual ancestors to such TV classics as "Outer Limits" and "Twilight Zone".
"Sea Legs" starts out well with a carefully measured script. Robert Craig is a space pilot who's put in for a transfer to Earth. Everyone from the desk clerk to the staff psych officer seems wary about him going back to Earth which irks the man. Why are people trying to keep him off Earth? While taking a hospital stay due to a mishap during his gravity training he meets Charlie Brockman, a dying "space bum" who gives Craig a message tube to open when he's on Earth.
The pacing of the story is really the highlight. Many OTR shows try to cram so much into their half hour that the stories never have time to breathe. The careful unfolding of the events here makes for a welcome change and a very entertaining listen until the over-arching theme of the story takes form. A lot of 50s science fiction falls into the whole "Red Scare" themes of the day and that's what happens in "Sea Legs". The set-up here is so good that it is disappointing to hear things move down that well worn and personally uninteresting path.
The acting, music and direction are all quite good and I feel bad giving the story any less than a 4 but due to the ending I can only give it 3/5 Golden Masks. Worth listening to but I don't imagine it's one I'll re-listen to.