“I find it very strange to write my own biography for a website because it is nothing more than a list of dates, events and achievements,” Martin remarked. “But I know few authors who do not have a website of their own, promoting their accomplishments. So I commissioned a good friend to create one for me. This site is brand new and very different from what was previously available. Among the highlights… you will be able to sample pages from my books and book covers can be enlarged by clicking on the photos.”
Dubbed as 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. He also 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.
Everyone has a different take on what defines “success.” The famous literary giant, Henry James (The Turn of the Screw), once remarked: “With the proceeds of my last novel, I purchased a small handbarrow, on which my guests’ luggage is wheeled from the station to my house. It needs a coat of paint. With the proceeds of my next novel, I shall have it painted.”
Martin considers himself lucky in regard to book sales. Remembering David Brinkley, Martin chose to lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him. 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. His insistence of creating offsite backup copies are made to ensure the longevity of rare radio scripts and glossy photos. “There are people who lodge complaints about why there isn’t more preservation,” Martin remarks. “I find it ironic that most people who complain are part of the problem… not the solution. I say ‘Don’t complain about it, do something.’ Don’t find reasons why you cannot preserve the arts. If the budget is shrinking, then do a fundraiser. That’s how preservation happens.”
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. Original documentaries receive premiere screenings, “lost” silent and early talkies are screened, authors and historians are given a platform to present slide show seminars of their recent findings, vendors offer nostalgic goods and Hollywood celebrities sign autographs and pose for photos with their fans. By video taping all of the events — and offering a convention guide designed to bring awareness of historical societies and clubs, vintage pop culture is now being exposed to a younger audience. “The event is not about making money… it’s about preserving our past,” Martin explains. “With this business model, more than one person has laughed at me, both publicly and privately, claiming the event will not be a success. But since last year’s event reached 2,000 in attendance, I would say our motto holds firm.” The convention is open to the public. For more information about the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, visit: www.MidAtlanticNostalgiaConvention.com
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.
October 2013. Martin’s book about THE TIME TUNNEL recently received “Honorable Mention” at the annual Halloween Book Festival. Way to go Martin!
Street date is January 1, 2014. CLICK HERE to learn more.
February 2013. Martin agreed to attend as a guest of the annual REPS Convention in Seattle, Washington. The dates of the convention are June 20 to 22, 2013.
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.)
August 2012. Radio Spirits recently released a new set of GREEN HORNET radio broadcasts, featuring 20 never-before-released episodes from 1944. The liner notes were co-written by Martin Grams. You can purchase your set from your local comic book shop or Barnes and Noble book store. Or CLICK HERE to visit the Radio Spirits website.
July 2012. Martin’s latest book, THE TIME TUNNEL, is now available. The two stars of THE TIME TUNNEL, James Darren and Robert Colbert, signed a limited number of copies at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention so you can now get one signed by the author and the two actors! Sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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.
Author David Menefee recently spoke of Martin’s blog in a recent newsletter: “Speaking of Martin Grams, Jr., if you’re at the point where you cannot stand to receive another e-mail, robotelephone call, or news flash on your computer about the mud-slinging battle for the 2012 Presidential election, consider subscribing to the free weekly blog by Martin Grams and get away from it all. Martin unearths fascinating information and images about Old Time Radio and early TV, and he presents them weekly in a bright, upbeat format that’s both fun and informative.”