UFO (1956 film)
Unidentified Flying Objects
|Directed by||Winston Jones|
|Produced by||Edward Small (executive)|
Russell Rouse (executive)
|Written by||Francis Martin|
|Narrated by||Les Tremayne|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|9 May 1956|
UFO (full title: Unidentified Flying Objects: The True Story of Flying Saucers) is a 1956 semi-documentary about the development of the UFO phenomenon in the United States. Clips from the documentary have often been used in other UFO documentaries and television episodes related to UFOs.
Origins and plot
In 1952 Hollywood producer Clarence Greene saw an unusual object twisting in the sky. He decided to report the sighting, and contacted US Air Force public information officer Albert M. Chop, who was in charge of answering UFO questions from reporters and the public. Intrigued by his experience, Greene decided to film a documentary movie about the UFO phenomenon. When Chop told Greene about the existence of film footage of UFOs, Greene obtained the footage for analysis and display in his documentary.
The documentary starts in 1947, with the first widely publicized UFO sightings in the United States, including recreations of the Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting, the Mantell UFO incident, and the Gorman Dogfight. It then traces the development of UFOs as both a popular fad and a serious concern for the US Air Force. The history of Project Sign, the first Air Force study of the UFO phenomenon, is discussed. The documentary then focuses upon Albert M. Chop and his growing involvement with UFOs. Chop is assigned as the public information officer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, in the late 1940s. In that position he is required to answer numerous news media queries about UFO sightings and what the Air Force knows about them. Although he is initially portrayed as a UFO debunker, Chop gradually changes his views as the movie progresses, and he comes to believe that UFOs are unknown, and possibly extraterrestrial, aircraft. By 1952 Chop has moved to Washington, DC, where he is the press spokesman for Project Blue Book. The documentary analyzes two famous pieces of UFO footage: the Mariana UFO Incident of 1950, in which the manager of the Great Falls, Montana minor-league baseball team claimed to have filmed two UFOs flying over the local baseball stadium, and the 1952 UFO film taken near the Great Salt Lake in Utah by a US Navy photographer, Delbert Newhouse. The documentary concludes with the famous 1952 Washington DC UFO incident, in which Albert Chop played a central role. The documentary recreates Chop's experiences during the incident, and at the end of the documentary Chop states his belief that UFOs are a "real", physical phenomenon of unknown origin.
Willis Sperry ... Himself
Nicholas Mariana ... Himself
Delbert Newhouse ... Himself
Wendell Swanson ... Himself
Tom Towers ... Albert M. (Al) Chop, US Air Force press officer
Floyd Burton ... Major Dewey Fournet, Project Blue Book's liaison at the Pentagon
Gene Coughlan ... Editor, Dayton Daily News
Bert Freed ... Colonel, US Air Force
Stan Gordon ... Reporter
Marie Kenna ... Mrs. Albert Chop
Harry Morgan ... "Red Dog 1" (voice)
Robert Phillips ... Captain Edward Ruppelt, Project Blue Book Supervisor
General John A. Samford ... Himself
William Solomon ... Scientist
Olan Soule ... Narrator
Actor Harry Morgan, who would later become famous for his role as Colonel Sherman T. Potter on the television series M*A*S*H, and for his role as Detective Bill Gannon on the television series "Dragnet 1967", portrays the voice of Air Force pilot "Red Dog One" during scenes describing the 1952 Washington, DC UFO incident. On "Dragnet 1967" Harry Morgan played Sgt. Joe Friday's (Jack Webb) partner. Jack Webb was the producer and narrator for the 1978 television series "Project U.F.O.", which recreated the real-life Project Bluebook.
- 'Flying Saucers' Picture Booked Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 28 Apr 1956: 13.
- Article at Turner Classic Movies accessed 19 May 2013
- 'Flying Saucers' and Papagos: Hollywood Letter By Richard Dyer MacCann. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] 01 May 1956: 7.
- Even Sincerity Has Pitfalls By Richard L. Coe. The Washington Post and Times Herald (1954-1959) [Washington, D.C] 01 June 1956: 44.
- Screen: 'Saucer' Story: Quasi-Documentary on 'Flying Objects' Bows By A.H. WEILER. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 13 June 1956: 45.