Geek Trivia

Which Of These Popular Novels Began Life As A Radio Show?

The Hobbit
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
The Maltese Falcon
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The United States Postal Service Printed Billions Of Stamps With The Wrong Image Of?

Answer: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Although best known as a very popular book series (that was later turned into a popular television series, movie, and other media), the iconic and whimsical sci-fi comedy The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy did not begin life on the printing press or the silver screen, but as a radio broadcast on the airwaves of the United Kingdom.

The original story was serialized into 30 minute spots, first broadcast by BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom and then around the world on various services like CBC Radio and NPR, starting in 1978 and spanning two original series (which lead to the publication of the books) and then three additional series created and broadcast decades later in 2004 and 2005, followed by a sixth series in 2018.

The two original series are notable, the writing genius of Douglas Adams aside, for their use of music and extensive sound effects that helped to immerse listeners in the wild and silly world that Adams carefully crafted. In fact, the BBC broadcasts of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy were the first time that a comedy series was produced in stereo sound.

Image courtesy of the BBC.