This week, I’m going to take a look at the 1950s radio series Incredible But True.
While there was a fifteen minute version of the series Incredible But True that aired in the early 1950s, the version which survives today is the three minute syndicate program.
The eighty existing programs focus on “true” stories of the strange, the unusual, and the unexplained, and there are some interesting ones with church organs playing without explanation, an Ambassador disappearing in the 19th in a public place with no explanation as to what happened, and weird phenomena and apparitions that couldn’t be explained by science. It’s all interesting stuff, but somewhat flawed.
Oftentimes, the show will press for some bizarre explanation with no proof there’s anything to explain. In one case, a woman disappeared in New York City and on the same day a swan appeared in a place where swans weren’t normally seen. The suggested link: Perhaps, the woman was turned into a swan.
And even those stories that don’t suffer from such gargantuan leaps in reason suffer from the limit of a 3 minute story. We’re often given a somewhat complex story and only one solution. Good programs on unexplained phenomena allow for multiple explanations, which really fuels listeners or viewer imagination.
In the end, Incredible but True isn’t bad if you’re looking for three quick minutes of entertainment with some unusual stories, but the limits of the format often leave a less than satisfying result.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5.0