Escape adapted two stories from The Martian Chronicles (1950) by Ray Bradbury, a collection of science fiction short stories about the colonization of Mars. "The Earthmen" was first published in Thrilling Wonder Stories in August of 1948 and appears in the The Martian Chronicles under the same chapter title. "Mars is Heaven!" first appeared in Planet Stories in the fall 1948 issue, but it appears under the chapter title of "The Third Expedition." "Mars is Heaven!" was also published in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One: 1929-1964 after it was chosen as one of the best science fiction short stories of all time by The Science Fiction Writers of America in 1970. Escape modified the two stories for radio, but overall, their adaptations are good.
"The Earthmen" tells the tale of a captain and his crew after they arrive on Mars. (They are the second expedition.) To their surprise, no one on Mars seems interested in them. When they finally do receive the hero's welcome that they expect, they realize that they are receiving it for all of the wrong reasons. Can they make the Martians believe they are really visitors from Earth-- and not insane?
"The Earthmen" was adapted for radio by screenwriter Walter Newman and directed by Norman MacDonnell. Parley Baer starred. Also appearing were Harry Bartell, Hans Conried, Lawrence Dobkin, Lou Krugman, John Dehner, Sidney Miller, Georgia Ellis, Jack Kruschen, and Byron Kane. This episode aired on July 25, 1951.
"Mars is Heaven" tells the story of Captain John Black and his crew, the third expedition to Mars. When their rocket lands, they are surprised to find themselves in a world remarkably similar to their own. Not only does Mars have the appearance of home, but it is populated with the deceased loved ones of the captain and crew. Is Mars heaven? Or, is there another reason why this small town exists?
"Mars is Heaven" was adapted for radio by Morton Fine and David Friedkin. William N. Robson produced/directed. Jeff Corey played Captain Black. Also appearing were Florence Bates, William Johnstone, Walter Catlett, Elizabeth Root, Paul Frees, Ian Wolfe, and Stuart Novins. This episode aired on June 2, 1950.
(Cover of the first edition of The Martian Chronicles. 1950. Doubleday.)