Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Do you remember..."Project UFO?"

My work on Strange Horizons has brought back memories of this show.   It is a solid entry in the pantheon of camp science fiction/speculation that both Quinn-Martin Productions and Nimoy's In Search Of can admire.  And who doesn't want to be in company like that?
Airing from 1978-1979 (that's according to Wikipedia, though I seem to remember it being on in 1977 as well), Project UFO followed the weekly exploits of two USAF officers who were members of the farce...er, program known as Project Bluebook.  A cursory summary of each episode would go something like this: there is a sighting, the officers show up to investigate, in a reversal of the Scooby-Doo paradigm they explain it but there is always an air of doubt left at the end.  Jack Webb, star of Dragnet, was the producer of the show and from all accounts a supporter of UFO research in real life.  It is his voice (and not Tom Bosely's as I once thought) that reads the intro narration:

"Ezekiel saw the wheel. This is the wheel he said he saw. These are Unidentified Flying Objects that people say they are seeing now. Are they proof that we are being visited by civilizations from other stars? Or just what are they? What you are about to see is part of a 20-year search."

Many bloggers justly point out that this show was a direct precursor of The X-Files.  Unlike the aforementioned genius production of Chris Carter, Project UFO included special fx and dialogue that contained more cheese than the entire state of Wisconsin.  More than once the show would steal props from previous science fiction films, most notable of these infractions was Robbie the Robot from Forbidden Planet.  The one thing that the show did have going in its favor was that the episodes were based on actual cases and not fictional extensions.   
I am nostalgic for the show as it is a footnote to my youth.  Therefore I'm going to add it to my Netflix queue and will post a review soon.  For now, here is the Wikipedia entry on the program and here is the intro to the show as posted on YouTube.  See if it brings back any memories for you:

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  1. Well, I'm guessing it would be the junior officer who gets to be the bitch.
    Isn't that how the military does things?


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