Martin Grams Jr. (born April 19, 1977) is an American historian who has written extensively on radio, television and films. Under the guidelines of his profession Grams provided audio commentary for commercial releases of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, written hundreds of magazine articles for scholarly journals, provided commentary for filmed documentaries and delivers lectures at various institutions including ARSC, SPERDVAC, REPS and the Library of Congress.
Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Grams is the son of magician Martin Grams Sr. and librarian volunteer Mary Pat Grams. He was educated at South Eastern School District in York County, Pennsylvania, he graduated from Kennard-Dale High School in Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania, in 1995. He worked in banking before settling on a career in writing and publishing. He created OTR Publishing in 1998, building the business into a corporation, located in Forest Hill, Maryland.
Since 1998, Grams has documented broadcasting in the 20th century through a number of reference books: Suspense: Twenty Years of Thrills and Chills (Morris Publishing, 1998), followed by The History of the Cavalcade of America (Morris Publishing, 1999) in cooperation with the Dupont chemical company. These two books were followed by two additional works, The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, co-authored with Gordon Payton, and Radio Drama. Both were contracted through McFarland Publishing, a book publishing house specializing in college and university press. Grams admitted in multiple interviews, including the OTRR Radio Times, that his contract with McFarland originally called for a three-book deal, but never disclosed whether the third book was completed or whether his contract was bought out by another publishing company.
Under his OTR Publishing byline, a company founded in 1998, Grams produced a series of six books documenting OTR and retro television. The first was The Have Gun – Will Travel Companion, co-authored with Les Rayburn, a film producer. and The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion, a 660-page survey of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents television program, with co-author with Patrik Wikstrom, a physics scientist.
Grams co-authored The Sound of Detection: Ellery Queen's Adventures in Radio with American mystery writer Francis M. Nevins, a revision of the 1981 study by Nevins and Ray Stanich. In the spring of 2013, both Nevins and Grams announced that an expanded edition was in the works for a 2015 publication, following a revised treatment of the first half of the book for "The Art of Detection" through Amazon Digital Services in 2013. Inner Sanctum Mysteries: Behind the Creaking Door extensively documented both the radio and TV series with an appendix on all of Simon & Schuster's mystery novels, three short stories based on uncirculating radio programs, plus a chapter about the Inner Sanctum movies penned by Gregory William Mank. This book was licensed through Simon & Schuster, and according to Grams in an interview with OTRnow.com and OTRR.org, almost never met fruition as a result of the tragic events of 9/11, when business offices in Manhattan temporarily closed and completion of the project by a deadline was not granted an extension due to acts of terrorism. The book was completed on schedule.
The fourth of six books under the OTR Publishing byline was Invitation to Learning, released with a print run of 500 as an experiment. "Marketing specialists at a number of publishing houses posed the question of whether the Internet, before the days when 'social media' was an actual term, could be used to promote the sale of a book no one knew anything about," Grams recalled in an interview to OTRR.org. "All 500 were sold within 48 hours."  The sixth and final book was The I Love A Mystery Companion, unearthing never-before-published material by Carlton E. Morse. The book covers I Love A Mystery, I Love Adventure, Adventures by Morse, Captain Post, The Return of Captain Post, The Cobra King Strikes Back, The Witch of Endor, The House of Myths and others. Extensive coverage included research at Dartmouth College and Stanford University, where Grams delivered a lecture about Morse in 2005, at both institutions, following publication.
After signing a contract with Bear Manor Media in 2005, for an undisclosed amount, Grams penned "Information, Please," the first of five books for the publishing company, including a chapter on the Information Please Almanac. This was followed by Bear Manor's 2007 list by Grams: The Railroad Hour, co-authored with Gerald Wilson, covers the 1948-54 radio program. I Led Three Lives documented the history of the TV series which starred Richard Carlson as Herbert A. Philbrick. "I Led Three Lives" was supposed to be the first of many books documenting ZIV Television programs of the 1950s. The second was Science Fiction Theatre: A History of the Television Program, 1955–1957. When MGM Entertainment, owners of ZIV Television programs, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2010, the contract for a third book between the studio and Grams, "Men Into Space," was voided.
Beginning in 2008, Grams published a series of four books, the second and third deemed by The New York Times as "raising the bar" for reference guides. The first was The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic, which won Best Book of the Year at the Halloween Book Festival. His second reference book, The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion-Pictures, Comics and Television, was released in time for the major motion picture starring Seth Rogen. Martin provided liner notes for the 2010 DVD release of The Green Hornet motion-picture, and assisted with the editing of the movie. His third was The Shadow: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930–1954. The fourth was a history of Duffy's Tavern.
In 2012, Grams authored The Time Tunnel: The History of the Television Program, in conjunction with Irwin Allen Enterprises. Unlike prior books about The Time Tunnel, Grams included production costs, dates of production, conception sketches, and never-before-published photographs. Christine Brennan, a journalist for USA Today, and sportscaster Bob Costas, both admitted in the February 11, 2016, issue of USA Today that they were fans of The Time Tunnel, proudly displaying the Grams book in a photograph and feature article. According to a press release, this was supposed to be the first in a series of four books documenting Irwin Allen's television programs, including Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants and Lost in Space.
Grams' latest book is The Top 100 Classic Radio Shows, co-authored by film and radio host Carl Amari, available at Costco and Sam's Club in the winter of 2017-2018. According to an interview, Martin plans to finish two books, Renfrew of the Royal Mounted and The Lone Ranger, both of which have been projects close to his heart and in the works for more than a decade.
Grams has authored more than 200 magazine articles over the last 20 years, including contributions to Time, SPERDVAC's Radiogram, Filmfax Magazine, Scarlet Street Magazine, the OTR Digest, Nostalgia Digest, Blood n' Thunder, and many others.
In 2005, Martin created a non-profit foundation that benefits children with treatable cancer. Among the institution's programs, the organization known as MANC holds an annual event in Hunt Valley, Maryland, hosting Hollywood celebrities to sign autographs for fans and raise money for cancer victims.
In 2011, Grams supplied audio commentary for the Blu-ray release of The Twilight Zone. His commentary for "King Nine Will Not Return" was nominated for a Rondo Award months following the Blu-ray release. He lost to Ray Harryhausen.
Grams is the recipient of the 1999 Ray Stanich Award, the 2005 Stone/Waterman Award and the 2004 Parley Baer Award for his contribution to preserving the arts. He won the 2008 Rondo Award for ‘Best Book of the Year’ for The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic.
- Interview and quote from Martin Grams in USA Today
- "Author's official website"
- "DuPont Innovation and the Science of Movies"
- "Martin Grams Biography on OTRR.org"
- "Old-Time Heroes Burst Back Into Pop Culture by Brian Truitt, March 19, 2012."
- "IMDB, Les Rayburn, film producer"
- "The Hitchcock Zone, The Alfred Hitchcock Wiki, 2001."
- "St. Louis University School of Law Faculty Page, Francis M. Nevins"
- "Gregory William Mank"
- "OTRR.org, Meet the Author Martin Grams"
- "Dartmouth College, Arts & Sciences Department, Lectures, 2005."
- "Science on American Television: A History, by Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette (University of Chicago Press)"
- "2011 Halloween Book Festival Has An Eerie Winner, DIY Convention, April 30, 2012."
- "VCI Entertainment, The Green Hornet Movie to DVD."
- Audio Classics Archive: Martin Grams Jr.
- "Nostalgia Digest Podcast, Duffy's Tavern, Interview with Martin Grams, Jr., 2014"
- "Christine Brennan's Time Tunnel Summit in Hollywood, USA Today, February 11, 2011"
- The Quest for the Unholy Grail, by Martin Grams Jr.
- The Story of the Green Lama, by Martin Grams Jr.
- The Radio Career of Rod Serling, by Martin Grams Jr.
- Jack Benny and the Walking Man, by Martin Grams Jr.
- "Official website for MANC, llc"
- WFDU Radio Interview with Martin Grams Jr. Martin provided audio commentary for numerous DVD and Blu-ray releases including Mill Creek's November 2020 release of Inner Sanctum Mystery.
- "Metro Washington OTR Club Official Website"
- Suspense: Twenty Years of Thrills and Chills Morris Publishing, 1998 ISBN 1-57502-675-9
- The History of the Cavalcade of America Morris Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0-7392-0138-7
- The CBS Radio Mystery Theater: An Episode Guide and Handbook to Nine Years of Broadcasting, 1974–1982 McFarland Publishing, 1999.
- Radio Drama: American Programs, 1932–1962 McFarland Publishing, 2000.
- The Have Gun – Will Travel Companion OTR Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-9703310-0-2
- The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion OTR Publishing, 2001. ISBN 0-9703310-1-0
- Invitation to Learning OTR Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-9703310-4-5
- It's That Time Again BearManor Media, 2002. ISBN 978-0971457027
- The Sound of Detection: Ellery Queen's Adventures in Radio OTR Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-9703310-2-9
- It's That Time Again 2 BearManor Media, 2003. ISBN 978-1593930066
- The I Love A Mystery Companion OTR Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-9703310-5-3
- Inner Sanctum Mysteries: Behind the Creaking Door OTR Publishing, 2002. ISBN 0-9703310-3-7
- Information Please BearManor Media, 2003. ISBN 0-9714570-7-7
- Gang Busters: The Crime Fighters of American Broadcasting OTR Publishing, 2005. ISBN 0-9703310-6-1
- The Railroad Hour: A History of the Radio Series BearManor Media, 2007. ISBN 978-1593930646
- I Led Three Lives: The Television Series BearManor Media, 2007. ISBN 1-59393-092-5
- The Radio Adventures of Sam Spade OTR Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9703310-7-6
- The Alfred Hitchcock Story Titan Books, 2008. ISBN 978-1845767082
- The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic OTR Publishing, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
- The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comic Books and Television OTR Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-0-9825311-0-5
- Car 54, Where Are You? Bear Manor Media, 2010. ISBN 978-1593933401
- The Shadow: The History and Mystery of the Radio Program, 1930–1954 OTR Publishing, 2011. ISBN 978-0-9825311-1-2
- Science Fiction Theatre: A History of the Television Program, 1955–1957 Bear Manor Media, 2011. ISBN 978-1593936570
- The Best of Blood n' Thunder: Selections From the Award-Winning Journal Murania Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0979595516
- The Green Lama: The Complete Pulp Adventures Altus Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1618270214
- The Time Tunnel: A History of the Television Program Bear Manor Media, 2012. ISBN 978-1593932862
- Duffy's Tavern: A History of Ed Garner's Radio Program Bear Manor Media, 2014. ISBN 978-1593935573
- The Big Show: The Obscure Career of Tallulah Bankhead LR Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978-1984309990
- The Top 100 Classic Radio Shows Portable Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1684121274
- WYXIE Wonderland: An Unauthorized 50-Year History of WXYZ Detroit Bold Venture Press, 2017. ISBN 978-1976081002
- Bass Reeves and The Lone Ranger: Debunking the Myth LR Publishing, 2017. ISBN 978-1984066725
- Truth or Consequences: The Quiz Show That was a National Phenomenon LR Publishing, 2020. ISBN 978-1984309846
- Renfrew of the Mounted: A History of Laurie York Erskine's Canadian Mountie Franchise OTR Publishing, 2020. ISBN 979-8699041442
- MacGuffin: "Murder and Suspense" by Martin Grams Jr. (excerpt from Grams' book on Suspense)
- The Twilight Zone: To Serve Man, by Martin Grams Jr.