Government officials trying to disprove the existence of UFOs? Great topic for a sci-fi series. Better yet? It’s a true story…
Project Blue Book, Wednesday 29 May, 9pm, SYFY/HD (CH 135/165). Also available for 30 days in Catch Up > Channels > SYFY
Did you know that Steven Spielberg’s 1977 film, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, was inspired by the work of a man called Josef Allen Hynek? In his book, The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry, the astronomer and professor categorised interactions with unidentified flying objects, or UFOs. He’s the whole reason there are classified UFO encounters at all.
The First Kind means sighting a UFO less than 500 feet away, the Second Kind describes a UFO with a physical effect, like scorching the ground or burning witnesses, and the Third Kind refers to UFOs containing an “animated creature.” Hynek even makes a brief appearance in the film, smoking a pipe at the UFO landing site.
The film had a profound impact on Aidan Gillen, known for his roles in Game Of Thrones, Peaky Blinders and The Wire. In previous interviews, he’s talked about how it was the first film he saw on his own at the cinema during his pre-teen years. It sparked his interest in the search for extraterrestrial life, and now he’s come full (crop) circle to play Hynek himself in Project Blue Book.
Project Blue Book was a very real top-secret military operation that attempted to explain UFO sightings. It ran from 1952 until 1969 and was based out of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The operation investigated 12,618 sightings, 701 of which still remain unidentified. The others were explained by the military claiming, for example, that witnesses simply mistook birds, clouds or bright stars for UFOs, or that swamp gas was to blame for them seeing things.
Hynek was in charge of the science (and that swamp gas explanation), but he was more interested in getting to the truth rather than following the PR-focused mission of the military. Episode one of Project Blue Book introduced us to an Air Force pilot who believes a UFO steered his plane to crash. Now what can the military do with that, when one of their own men, not just some “crazy” commoner, is making claims? And what about when Hynek does?
Ahead of the series finale, we sat down with Gillen to chat all things out of this world, why he’s glad to leave Littlefinger behind, the special item of Hynek’s he always carries with him and how he “wouldn’t mind getting beamed up”.
Need to catch up?
Want to watch series 1 of Project Blue Book at home, on the move, or in your very own UFO (hey, we want to join!)? Well, you can on Virgin TV Go here.
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