“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 Can scans of archival historical documents be included?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