Saturday 28 November 2020

World In Action on UFO's

One of the most successful and respected British TV documentary and current affairs series is Granada TV's World In Action. It won awards and ran from 1963 until 1998. It is best remembered for its dramatic title sequence and theme music; but in terms of its content, it was superior to any modern television news programme. In 1967 it broadcast an episode called "We Know What We Saw". Like most TV shows as old as that, the recordings of it were thought to be lost. Some are only preserved by the chance serendipity of VHS home tapers, for example: Luckily we in the UFO community have our very own personal archivist in the shape of Miles Johnston. The Bases Project HQ has so much old audio and video footage, on all media, that it sometimes feels like the rest of the equipment and furniture is squeezed in between the shelves and boxes of UFO paranormal and conspiratorial gold. See here after the conference speech: In this case it was Colin Woolford and the late Rod Howarth who helped with this restoration, but it is published on Miles' "Stepping Stones to Awareness" channel. There is a timecode on the footage which indicates this was not a finished broadcast copy; but rather a draft reel. It is in black-and-white, but that was probably how it was intended to be shown because ITV never introduced a colour signal until 1969. It is slightly crackly and covered in lines, but it is watchable. Miles converted it from its original video tape to a digital file and has processed it significantly to improve the quality.
See here for the video:
Watching this twenty-five minute programme was a striking experience. It was a mainstream media production, but its content is of a kind you could only find today on alternative YouTube or Bitchute channels. The professionalism and intellectual honesty in the programme is totally absent from modern TV. The show features interviews with famous UFOlogists of the era, like Dr J Allen Hynek and James MacDonald. It includes arch-debunker, and probably government agent, Dr Donald Menzel for balance; but its general attitude to the UFO phenomenon is positive. It even has time to include a hypnotherapy session; something that is completely taboo in one of today's programmes on the subject, for example see here from 49 mins: It even films at a NICAP meeting (NICAP still operates today, see: Like all TV documentaries in the 60's, its style is rough and simplistic compared to its 2020's counterparts. Modern documentaries are far more technically elaborate. Some border on cinematic, like this one:; but, like that example, they are mostly pseudoscientific propaganda films which deliberately lie to the viewer. When World In Action showed their UFO documentary on people's TV sets, a television was a small wooden box with a twelve inch low resolution monochrome screen. There were only three channels and they closed down before midnight, but you got to see real quality programming. Today, TV screens can cover an entire wall with a HD 3D window to thousands of channels, twenty-four-seven. More money is spent on TV productions than at any other time in history. But nearly all of it is mindless deceptive gibberish. I'm not very old, but I do vaguely remember programmes like "We Know What We Saw" and I feel nostalgic. Many thanks to Miles, Colin and Rod for allowing me to be one of the first people in decades to watch a gem from UFO TV history that was almost lost forever.
See here for background:

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