||Brad Steiger is the author/coauthor of 154 books with over 17 million copies in print. His first published articles on the unexplained appeared in 1956, and he has now written more than 2,000 articles with paranormal themes. From 1970-'73, his weekly newspaper column, The Strange World of Brad Steiger, was carried domestically in over 80 newspapers and overseas from Bombay to Tokyo. He was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on February 19,1936. He is married to Sherry Hansen Steiger, a licensed and ordained minister, herself the author or coauthor of over 22 books. He has two sons, three daughters, and five grandchildren. Visit Brad Steiger's website: http://www.bradandsherry.com/ and also read Evidence for a New History. Read Brad Steiger's latest book Revelation: The Divine Fire.
How UFOs Lost Their Innocence
at the Movies
(Copyright 2007, Brad Steiger - All Rights Reserved)
Posted: 23:55 December 13, 2007
It has been fascinating for someone such as myself, who has been researching the subject of UFOs for over five decades, to see how greatly the field of UFO research has been complicated and confused by popular culture, specifically by motion pictures and, more recently, television.
Since the majority of Americans learn their history through the cinematic presentations provided by Hollywood--whether it is the "truth" about The Alamo, the invasion of Normandy Beach, or the collapse of the Soviet Union--so do the vast majority of men and women acquire their facts about the flying saucer mystery through the flickering lights of the movies.
Invaders from Outer Space
While there have been numerous science-fiction films that have used the theme of alien invaders, there are certain motion pictures and television series that seem to have impressed the mass psyche of their audiences far more than those with simple plots dealing with bug-eyed monsters terrifying the inhabitants of Earth.
In 1951, Howard Hawks' The Thing from Another World told the story of a small group of Air Force personnel and scientists stationed at an isolated outpost near the North Pole who must deal with an alien that needs their blood in order to survive. The film was a thriller that steadily built tension and frighteningly portrayed how helpless humans might be at the hands of a single powerful alien life-form.
In War of the Worlds (1953), George Pal adapted H.G. Wells' novel of alien invasion and transformed it into a cinema classic. The film follows the struggle of two scientists (Gene Barry and Ann Robinson) as they attempt to help Earth survive a devastating attack by Martians. The suspense is intensified by their own narrow escapes, and the reality for motion picture audiences lay in seeing the major cities of Earth lying strewn about in heaps of rubble. Although the horror of seemingly unstoppable aliens was a frightening theme, the film is extremely well-presented and won an Academy Award for its special effects. While Earth is saved by the motion picture's end, the devastation rendered by the extraterrestrial invaders left unforgettable images in the minds of the audience.
While the film version of Wells' novel was very successful upon its release, the impact it had on mass consciousness cannot be compared to the effect of the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds on the day before Halloween in 1938. At that time, CBS' Mercury Theatre presented Orson Welles and a talented cast simulating a live news broadcast of an invasion of Earth by mechanized Martian war machines. Because the account of unstoppable alien beings landing in the New Jersey farmlands was depicted so realistically--and because many listeners tuned in after the Mercury Theatre production was already in progress--the greater part of the entire nation was in panic over the invaders from Mars.
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