"Project Blue Book" Fact Vs Fiction
History's Channel Drama with All Star Cast

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“Project Blue Book,” The History Channel's famous new series on the Air Force's program to investigate and debunk UFOs, is not your historian's Project Blue Book, with a Russian spy assassination, a self-immolation, gun-toting government thugs, and other fanciful and fictional plot devices.

An popular star cast stands out in their dramatic performances in Project Blue Book on History 

UFO sightings continue to fascinate us and as the world becomes more connected we are starting to see the extraordinary isn't in fact so uncommon. For instance,  in December 2017 The New York Times ran an exclusive on a classified Pentagon initiative investigating the UFO phenomenon. While in 2010 “U.F.O.s: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On the Record,” by Leslie Kean, was a New York Times best-seller.

Through the first season you will some find similarities between the TV version and historical and current fact, despite the fictional embellishments.

The History series, as anticipated, sensationalizes and overdramatizes case investigations and the historical figures involved, introducing a slew of plot elements that never occurred (or at least as far as we can find). It's difficult enough for those seeking to figure out the facts about government involvement with UFOs without adding to the confusion by combining fact and fiction.

Despite the melodrama, the true story is there and woven into the story deeply enough to make it intellectually curious while maintaining a riveting drama.

After multiple UFO sightings during the Cold War period, the Air Force developed Project Blue Book in 1952 to explain away or discredit as many reports as possible in order to minimize public hysteria.

Evidently the idea was to protect the public from a genuine national security problem. The danger of technology that is neither known or understood posed a serious threat to all nations regardless of it's origin.

The series' primary character, influential astronomer J. Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen), was employed as Blue Book's science consultant and was initially committed to explaining away flying saucers as natural phenomena or misidentifications. However, he eventually realized that the strange artifacts were real and that they needed more scientific investigation. (Though he never saw an alleged alien entity floating in a tank or crashing in a plane while recreating a purported UFO dogfight, as portrayed in the series.)


The chief of Air Materiel Command, Lt. General Nathan Twining, sent a classified memo to the commanding general of the Army Air Forces at the Pentagon about "Flying Discs." “The phenomenon reported is something real, not visionary or fictitious,” Twining said. When sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar, the silent disc-like objects displayed “extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and motion that must be considered evasive.”

A new project, code-named "Sign," was developed at Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) outside Dayton, Ohio, with the mission of collecting UFO reports and determining whether the phenomenon posed a national security threat.

After ruling out Russia as a possible source, the team produced a top-secret "Estimate of the Situation," concluding that UFOs were most likely of extraterrestrial origin based on the facts.

According to government officials at the time, General Hoyt Vandenberg, the Air Force chief of staff, dismissed the calculation. The advocates of the off-planet theory started to lose ground after that, with Vandenberg and others focusing on pursuing traditional explanations.

Project Sign gradually became Project Blue Book, with the aim of persuading the general public that UFOs could be explained.

Behind the scenes, however, officials were confronted with a sobering reality: well-documented U.F.O. encounters required numerous qualified observers, radar data, photos, ground markings, and physical effects on airplanes.

Blue Book collected accounts of 12,618 sightings of unidentified flying objects when Hynek was involved, of which 701 remain unexplained to this day.

But, to the degree that it has been disclosed, what happened beyond Project Blue Book is the most significant aspect to research during that time period. We got a peek into a similar scenario today when the NY Times reported on the Pentagon's Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program or ATIP, which began in 2007 and has subsequently become a series chronicling the investigations on the History Channel, "Unidentified: Inside America's UFO Investigation"

According to government records, the office of Maj. Gen. John Samford, the Air Force director of intelligence was briefed by the FBI in 1952, saying it was “not entirely impossible” that the objects sighted could be ships from another planet like Mars. According to the F.B.I. memo, Air Intelligence had essentially ruled out an earthly source.

Concerns about national security were also growing. Samford called a news conference to calm the nation after Air Force planes scrambled to intercept brilliant items seen and picked up on radar over Washington in 1952.

He stated that between 1,000 and 2,000 cases had been examined, with the majority of them having been clarified. “However, a certain percentage have been made by credible observers of relatively incredible things,” he admitted. We are currently attempting to address this community of observations.”

He said no conclusions had been reached, but downplayed any “possible threat” to the US.

In a memo to the C.I.A. director, Walter Bedell Smith, later that year, H. Marshall Chadwell, the assistant director of scientific intelligence, concluded that “sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or known typhoons.”

By 1953, officials became worried that hundreds of U.F.O. records were clogging up communication networks, posing a significant threat to national security. Defense agencies were concerned that even false alarms could be dangerous, since the Soviets could exploit the situation by simulating or staging a UFO wave and then attacking.

The C.I.A. then devised a proposal for a "national policy" on "what should be told the public about the phenomenon in order to minimize risk of panic," according to documents.

No one seems to bring this up but was this a reference to Project MK Ultra? 

The C.I.A. released a classified study proposing a broad educational curriculum for all intelligence agencies, with the aim of "training and debunking," after a closed-door meeting with a scientific advisory panel chaired by H.P. Robertson of the California Institute of Technology.

More public education on how to recognize known objects in the sky meant more instruction. According to the paper, “the use of true cases showing first the ‘mystery' and then the ‘explanation' would be persuasive.” “Mass media, such as television, motion pictures, and popular articles, would be used to debunk the myth.”

To suppress public interest, the scheme included using psychologists, advertising experts, amateur astronomers, and even Disney cartoons to produce propaganda. According to the paper, civilian UFO groups should be "watched" because of their "great influence on mass thinking" if widespread sightings occur.

The Robertson Panel Report was kept under wraps until 1975, five years after Blue Book was decommissioned. However, its legacy lives on in the air of mockery that surrounds UFO news, stifling scientific advancement.

“The Panel Report implied that UFOs were a nonsense (non-science) matter that needed to be debunked at all costs,” Hynek wrote. “It rendered the subject of UFOs scientifically untrustworthy.”

Former UFO skeptic Hynek finally came to the conclusion that they were a true phenomenon in desperate need of scientific attention, with hundreds of cases still unsolved in the Blue Book archives. Many of the "closed" cases were resolved with absurd, sometimes infuriating excuses, often given by Hynek himself.

A fun but fictional account of first contact 

In the 1970s, when he was finally free to speak the facts, he wrote, "The entire Blue Book operation was a foul-up based on the categorical premise that the incredible things reported could not possibly have any basis in fact."

As Blue Book came to an end in late 1969, the Air Force issued a fact sheet arguing that no UFO had ever posed a danger to national security, that UFOs did not reflect “technological developments or principles beyond the range of current scientific knowledge,” and that there was no proof that they were “extraterrestrial vehicles.”

According to interviews with witnesses and official government records, a glowing red oval-shaped object hovered over Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana in 1967, and all 10 of the facility's underground nuclear missiles were disabled almost simultaneously when the U.F.O. was present. There was no traditional theory that the technicians might come up with to explain such an incident.

Roswell seems to take up the cover art for the show in this dramatic styling

But, despite what the public was advised, the Air Force did not avoid looking into UFOs. Regulations were also in effect to investigate U.F.O. findings that were "not part of the Blue Book system," according to a once-classified memo released secretly in October 1969, just months before Blue Book was terminated. The memo went on to state that “reports of UFOs that could affect national security would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose,” according to Carroll H. Bolender, an Air Force brigadier general.

Clearly, federal entities remained active in U.F.O. proceedings in the decades afterward — right up to the present day. Despite government denials, once-secret official papers provide extensive accounts of dramatic U.F.O. incidents around the world. Many domestic cases went uninvestigated, such as a 2006 incident in which a disc-shaped object hovered over O'Hare Airport for more than five minutes before shooting straight up through the clouds at breakneck speed.

The series was created by newcomer David O'Leary, with the backing of Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis, who served as executive producer. In addition to Aidan Gillen as its star, and Michael Malarky as co-star, Project Blue Book included Neal McDonough (Arrow), Laura Mennell (Van Helsing), Ksenia Solo (TURN: Washington's Spies), and other talented character actors

Unfortutantly after 2 entertaining seasons The History Channel and A&E decided not to be picked up for a season 3, but who know what app may grab this all star cast. Guess we will have to watch the stars and see! Fans have started a fansite to promote the renewal, search #ProjectBlueBook hashtag on Twitter and Facebook for the latest.

"Project Blue Book" Fact Vs Fiction
JD 9 November, 2021
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