My implacable affinity for websites that deal with the "fringe" has led me to an item I could scarcely have imagined.
In 1995, The Disney Corporation (damn, I love those guys) aired a one-hour special called Alien Encounters from New Tomorrowland. This television program aired only once. As you might guess from the title, one of the main thrusts behind this production was the promotion of Disney's New Tomorrowland theme park. It's when the show deviates from the commercial aspect that Ufologists take notice.
The program gives a brief overview of the UFO phenomenon. There is an odd tone to the narration of the piece, odd in that the words chosen are not at all neutral. Narratives of sightings and events such as the Roswell crash are treated as historical fact. There are no interviews with "contactee nuts" or skeptics. In fact, those who don't believe in UFOs seem to take the brunt of the ridicule this time around.
Alien Encounters opens with a statement from Michael Eisner, CEO at the time of Disney. The intro is pretty much the kind of whitebread, cheeseball shtick that anyone with half a brain expects from Disney, but take a look at what Eisner says:
"Mankind is in the midst of the most profound event in history – actual contact with intelligent life from other planets. For nearly 50 years, officials have been documenting routine alien encounters here on earth, and thousands of people have seen or experienced this alien presence. Yet many others still refuse to acknowledge the obvious evidence all around them. From beyond the boundaries of our perceptions, intelligent beings are beckoning mankind to join the galactic community."
Unlike nearly every other program on UFOs, the text here treats the matter as established fact with no controversy over evidence. Host Robert Urich (they got Spencer!) then takes over, narrating across various footage of UFOs:
"This is not swamp gas. It is not a flock of birds. This is an actual spacecraft from another world, piloted by alien intelligence – one sighting from tens of thousands made over the last fifty years on virtually every continent on the globe. Intelligent life from distant galaxies is now attempting to make open contact with the human race."
Again, there is a definitive tone to the rhetoric with no room or qualifications left to wiggle in. Few, if any, programs of this nature take such a certain stance, preferring to stay secure within the realm of conjecture.
Was this video once meant to break the reality of alien contact to the general public? A few years before the show aired, I remember reading Alien Contact by Timothy Good. In it, Good quotes a source as saying that the U.S. Government approached the Disney Corporation about producing a disclosure film on UFOs and alien visitation. I have no idea whether or not that's true, but it makes sense. If you had been lying to the American public for years about something, wouldn't you want to disclose it via a source that could whitewash anything into a patriotic statement about mother, God, and country? When many moro...I mean people hear the name "Disney," a sort of heartwarming sensation comes over them. For the older set, it's the feeling of a Sunday dinner resting comfortably below the hatches while Wide World of Disney stinks up the TV. For the younger among us, it's a safe, bland, and inoffensive vehicle of entertainment, often dressed up with shiny computer graphics and snooty celebrity voices. Of course this company would be your go-to guys. Have I mentioned I hate Disney?
Yet as Alien Encounters scrolls on, they do feature a few bits of alleged UFO footage that have been proven to be hoaxes, among them being those from Gulf Breeze and the so-called "Guardian" video. This casts serious doubts to me as to how sincere of an effort this was as a means of disclosure. Additionally, the program cites the detonation of the first atomic bomb as the signal sent into space that first announced our presence to alien beings. Odd. I would've thought it quite difficult to pick out that comparably tiny burst of energy amid a universe of far more powerful emissions. Yeah, I'm thinking "commercial for Tomorrowland." Effin' bastards.
Still, there is the unnerving matter of the script's tone. Here is a bit more of the narration:
"As early as 1947, large alien ships began to arrive, navigated by living creatures. Their advanced physics allowed them to traverse the galaxy and pierce earth's atmosphere with amazing speed. The U.S. military immediately went on the alert against the unknown menace. Sightings were perceived as threats to the security of an America still reeling from the edgy consciousness of war. And the sightings were taking place all across the country."
That's the kind of language one uses when writing about history, not speculation. I'm not sold on this show being anything other than what it ended up being, but I do wonder about their choice of words.
And that's what scares me. Should disclosure ever occur, the last way I want it presented to me is through Mickey flippin' Mouse and Wall-E, prancing around and telling me everything is going to be ok.
Damn it! Have I mentioned I hate Disney?
To see the entire 45 minute video, click here.
If you don't want to spend the time and just want to read the transcript highlights, click here.
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