In Canada and the United States, FM and AM rebroadcasts of "old" science fiction and fantasy short stories can be heard. Please identify the following short story:

The radio program ends with a live radio or television reporter at a positive, daytime parade, presumably in Manhattan or some dense urban area in the United States of America. Possibly ticker tape. Happy crowd audible in the background. Male reporter notices something surprising. He seems to recognize an astronaut and reports this to his listeners (or, possibly, television viewers). The astronaut, who does not speak, realizes he may have been recognized, reacts, and attempts to preserve anonymity by evading the reporter. Reporter attempts unplanned interview. Interview never takes place. Sound quality good (specifically, range of sound frequencies, signal-to-noise ratio, absence of audible intermittent, apparently random ticks and pops heard on some vinyl pressings) which suggests first recorded late 1950s or very early 1960s. Obviously, story was written before original broadcast. Not sure time gap (published short story, then first radio broadcast of same story).

Note: I have carefully read the packaging surrounding many compact disc (CD) recordings inside retail stores. Am referring to recordings of old radio programs and new recordings of old science fiction and fantasy tales by celebrities. Have also contacted the radio host who introduced the astronaut-parade-anonymous story. That person was kind enough to write me back. Result: nothing.

  • 1
    What about this radio play was science fictional? All you've described is a pushy reporter trying to interview someone who doesn't want to be interviewed.
    – Valorum
    May 6, 2018 at 17:33
  • possibly the same as scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/144603/…
    – Otis
    May 7, 2018 at 2:08

2 Answers 2


Sounds like James Gunn's "The Cave of Night" as per this review

The Cave of the Night' (1955) (15 pages) 3.5/5 (Average): Reverdy L. McMillen, the first man in space, is the new media sensation! But, after launch a radio transmission reaches Earth with dire news -- Rev's spacecraft is unable to reenter the atmosphere. A race to build a new spaceship commences... but will they be too late? Or, is the entire flight a hoax in the first place? If so, what would be the ramifications of an invented martyr of man's first attempts at successful space travel? An interesting piece -- initially, a straight forward tale of a rescue until suspicions arise. The psychological implications of an invented martyr on the ignorant populace for the future of space travel is explored in more depth later in the collection.

You can find a recording online at https://archive.org/details/XMinusOneEpisode-CaveOfNight2-1-1956

The story was written in the 1950s and has to do with the first manned space flight.

The astronaut is apparently stranded in space, and the world is united in trying to rescue him, and then in mourning his death. However, the narrator recognizes the astronaut (an old friend) in a crowd, and realizes that the whole thing has been a hoax.

  • 5
    What about this story matches the description given in the question?
    – Valorum
    May 6, 2018 at 17:46
  • Although too brief to be a good answer, there is a good chance this answer is correct. May 6, 2018 at 19:22
  • @FuzzyBoots Thanks for the friendly amendment.
    – user888379
    May 6, 2018 at 20:15

I agree it's 'The Cave of Night' from X minus One, and perhaps also made in Dimension X. It was told in first-person from the perspective of a reporter working on the story of the brave astronaut who sacrifices all for exploration. We hear interview recordings the reporter is working on, as well as other news reports and senate hearings. It's all part of the news story the reporter is preparing. But he's stuck on an angle, a gimmick or hook. He goes through recordings of what has already transpired, as well as interviews of others in the launch and opinions of the man on the street, all in a fashion like the reporter in 'Citizen Kane' until he comes to a conclusion that makes him question whether the whole thing wasn't a big hoax.

The very well known Alexander Scourby plays the reporter. His voice is known today by many through his National Geographic narrations as well as reading the entire King James Bible for audio. Actor Bob Hastings (McHale's Navy) plays 'Rev' the astronaut that was 'stranded' in orbit. Hastings did many radio dramas in the 50s and was a regular in many installments of the science fiction genre as was Scourby.

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