Tag Archives: flying saucers

Night Terrors 1979

6 Sep

September 6, 2016

I’m into things like ghosts and UFO’s (which is why I’m so hard on George Noory) and I just finished reading The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects from 1956 by Edward J. Ruppelt. He’s one of the original Project Blue Book leaders.

Project Blue Book was one of the Air Force’s attempts to investigate the UFO phenomena. It’s an interesting read, though you won’t learn much other than the Air Force in the 1950’s was as full of red tape as it is now.

But it reminded me that there was a TV show based on this called Project U.F.O. and it scared the heck out of me when I was a kid.

project ufo

From the internet:

Project U.F.O. is an American anthology television series which ran on NBC from 1978 to 1979. Running for two seasons of 13 episodes each, the show was based loosely on the real-life Project Blue Book. The show was created by Jack Webb, who pored through Air Force files looking for episode ideas.

The show features two U.S. Air Force investigators charged with investigating UFO sightings.

In an odd reversal of the Scooby-Doo dynamic, the series eventually settled into a pattern in which the investigators would spend most of the hour uncovering some conventional explanation for a UFO sighting, only for the last five minutes to reveal that UFOs (or some similarly unexplained phenomena) were involved after all.

I went to Youtube and found the specific episode that terrified young me, The Believe It or Not Incident. I saw the thumbnail and like a flash, I suddenly knew that it was the one episode that gripped me back then. It was so clear. This show has not aired in the United States since its original airing so this was the first time I saw it since 1979. I have not thought about this show in literally over 30 years, at least. Not since the last century!

Well, I can’t say it opened up a floodgate of memories, but it did bring back a couple. What scared me so much were scenes of a giant alien ship replaying images of people and events as it hovered over a man in the desert. These were scenes the aliens inside had no earthly way of seeing. (It’s around the 19 minute mark in the video at the end of this post.)

project ufo ship

For years that part stuck in my head, gave me nightmares and kept me up at night. I’d nervously look up into the sky when I was outdoors, and I live in crowded NYC. The other part that spooked me was at the end of the episode, when the house shakes as the giant ship passes overhead.

Nowadays I’m not sure anyone but me would be creeped out by it, and had this not been the stuff of childhood nightmares I, seeing this for the first time now, would be bored. But little 1979 me was spooked badly. For a long time that UFO replay was the cause of that tingle at the back of my neck.

Much like my last post about the audio tapes, I was again brought back to a moment in my childhood when all it took to scare me were cheesy special effects and my imagination.



The Saturday Comics: Flying Saucers

13 Aug

August 13, 2011

Today we’ll take a look at something that combines a quartet of my interests: comic books, toys, flying saucers, and old ads. I have a sampling of ads and articles about do-it-yourself flying saucers and home-made spaceships for you this week.

Exciting! Fun! Low Cost! A great father and son project! And powered by an ordinary vacuum cleaner motor! Sign me up! Never mind that I’ve owned vacuums that have had trouble getting a stubborn piece of lint out from under the bed, I am sure this thing can really lift 200 pounds. Who am I to argue? I am just some guy with logic and a background in engineering.

But I am sure that free inventors calendar is really cool.

Before you say “it’s a Frisbee,” let me explain the principle of differential expansion.

Differential expansion is a phenomenon peculiar to rotors and rotating discs which causes tilt based on the effect of weight or gravity upon the rotating object. It is a natural phenomenon observable in helicopter rotors, steam engines, and Frisbees.

Now you can say “it’s a Frisbee.”This one is a model, and speaking as a man who built a ton of models in his youth, it is a pretty boring model. What is that, three pieces? According to the ad it can be flown with a motor. I doubt that. That is highly unaerodynamic, and it is made of balsa wood. There isn’t enough weight to it. It also “flies extremely well as a glider.” I think it would make a better Frisbee.

But I love the price, 2/6 plus purchase tax. What country uses nomenclature like 2/6 for pricing?

Now this clears things up a bit. the only problem is, the third column starts with “launching is done by your assistant.” Assistant? What is this, the Lockheed Skunk Works? At any rate, a propeller in the front is a better design than a jet in the back. And this one seems like more fun to build since it is mostly homemade. But overall, I really like the article’s lingo. “After Air Trails ran the ‘Saucy Saucer’ flying control line whizzeroo…” All we need is Stan Lee to blurt out “Excelsior!”

Thank you Wham-O! They may call it a “Pluto-Platter” but they don’t pretend it is anything but a 79 cent Frisbee, even if they do pretty it up with the “Scientific airfoil” guff. I love the “Flying Saucer Horseshoe Game.” Two Frisbees and a pair of sticks for $4.98.

Here’s where I’d rather spend my $4.98. And the 10-day free trial? Who needs it? In ten days I’ll already be on Mars.

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