“Of recent I have been troubled by an overwhelming number of publications that are subjective, proposing theory and analysis,” quoted Martin Grams in an interview for USA Today. “These books, usually published through print-on-demand, masquerade as documentary in nature, only to contain opinion and are short on facts. When I buy a book about a particular subject, such as The Twilight Zone, I expect to know more about the program such as how specific special effects were made, production costs, story origins, and so on. Who was cast for the lead role before being replaced by the actor we see today? Can scans of archival historical documents be included? For years I have had a damn-the-cost attitude when it comes to research. Just last week I spent $150 on eBay for an original signed contract involving a future book project. Not only will that contract provide information necessary for documentation, but an added bonus when a scan of all 14 pages is reprinted in the back of the book.”
Dubbed the young “Isaac Asimov” by Ivan Shreve of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, Martin Grams has authored or co-authored more than 20 books about old-time radio and retro television. His criticism about “true research” was accurately defined at a recent film festival when Martin explained as doing legwork, tracking down family relatives involved with the programs and consulting every lead was a responsible approach, as opposed to browsing the Internet and reprinting Wikipedia verbatim. It may be this sole reason that Martin Grams has won “Best Book of the Year,” “Significant Contribution” and other noteworthy awards.
Martin wrote more than 100 magazine articles for Filmfax, Scarlet Street, Ed Hulse’s Blood ’n’ Thunder and Sperdvac’s Radiogram (to name a few). He contributed chapters, essays and appendices for numerous books including Ken Mogg’s The Alfred Hitchcock Story (Titan Books, 1999), Bear Manor Media’s It’s That Time Again (2002 and the two sequels), Arthur Anderson’s Let’s Pretend (2004) and Ben Ohmart’s The Alan Reed Story (2010). He also wrote two books for McFarland Publishing, a college/university press, and is presently a research consultant for two magazines and one publishing company.
While still in High School, Martin proposed his first book project, Suspense, to a number of publishers. “I met them personally at conventions when the publishing houses set up to sell their wares,” Martin recalled. “They never even looked or glanced at my manuscript. They saw how young I was and patted me on the head, told me I was a good boy and handed me one of their catalogs to go home with.” Using the rejections as his personal Dumbo feather, Martin was motivated to back his own money to self-publish his first book. In 1998, book sales were strong and with the proceeds of his first book, Martin was able to purchase the plot of ground his house now resides on. Talk about a success story!
Besides authoring books and magazine articles, Martin spends a good part of his year preserving archival photographs and radio scripts. He also assists for two museums. In a recent magazine article Martin defined “preservation” by insisting that offsite backup copies be made to prevent loss from flood or fire. Martin also defined, clear and concise, the difference between a collector, an archivist, a historian and a hoarder. The terms, according to Martin, are loosely used without proper classification and leads to the destruction of historical artifacts. “The stories about archival materials being tossed into the dumpster have a basis of truth,” he explained.
Martin and his wife Michelle are co-founders of the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, a three-day festival designed to stimulate interest in the by-gone era we now call “nostalgia.” The event helps encourage and preserve all aspects of the past including old-time radio, vintage comic books, retro television, drive-in movie theaters and more. “The event is not about making money… it’s about preserving our past,” Martin explains. “Last year’s event reached 2,000 in attendance and still growing.” The convention is open to the public. For more information about the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, visit: www.MidAtlanticNostalgiaConvention.com
July 2016. Martin has agreed to attend SPERDVAC as a guest in Las Vegas in January of 2017. Martin will deliver two slide show presentations.
June 2016. Martin recently wrote the liner notes for two bookshelf editions of Have Gun-Will Travel and The Lone Ranger for Radio Spirits. You can find out more by click the link HERE.
January 2016. Martin’s next two books have been posted on the website. THE BIG SHOW and TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES. A brief summary, along with the book covers, are available for review. Both books will be available for sale September 2016. Martin’s book signing/autograph appearances are now posted on the website.
November 2013. Jack French and David Siegel edited a new book for McFarland, RADIO RIDES THE RANGE, documenting more than 100 radio Westerns from GUNSMOKE to HAVE GUN-WILL TRAVEL. The book features two contributions from Martin Grams and is available from Amazon.com
October 2013. Martin’s book about THE TIME TUNNEL recently received “Honorable Mention” at the annual Halloween Book Festival. Way to go Martin!
September 2012. Martin’s latest book catalog for 2013 is now available in pdf format. CLICK HERE to see the new catalog! (It might take a couple minutes to download, have patience.)
November 2011. Martin’s book on THE TWILIGHT ZONE recently won the 2011 Halloween Book Festival’s best Science-Fiction book of the year! The competition honors general excellence and the awards are intended to draw public attention to worthy selections during the busiest season for book sales. The festival is part of the 2011 Aliens to Zombies Convention (The A to Z Convention) in Hollywood, CA.
October 2011. Martin contributed audio commentary to THE TWILIGHT ZONE Bluray releases (Seasons Two through Five). His audio commentary for the “King Nine Will Not Return” episode on the Season Two Blu Ray release of TWILIGHT ZONE recently got nominated for “Best Commentary” by the Rondo Awards! Congrats Martin!
September 2011. VCI Entertainment recently released THE GREEN HORNET: The Motion Picture. Martin helped provide the editorial cuts for the motion-picture, now available wherever DVDs are sold. Both the 1940 and 1941 cliffhanger serials are available on DVD, also through VCI Entertainment. Martin provided the extensive liner notes that accompany the serial. This is a great opportunity to read up on the serials before watching them!
On Jan. 5, 2010. Radio Once More celebrated its one year anniversary with the first annual Radio Once More Awards and Hall of Fame Enshrinement. The first person to receive The Founder’s Award, a special award given at the discretion of Radio Once More for those who have gone above and beyond in the promotion of the Old-Time Radio hobby, was given to author, researcher, and historian Martin Grams, Jr.