Monday, December 13, 2021

FLYING SAUCERS: U.S. Air Force Project 1794 and as Seen in 1950's Science Fiction Motion Pictures

On April 27, 1949, the "Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) and the "United States Air Force" revealed "Project Sign", started in 1947. As the two reported to the "Associated Press", UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECTS (UFO's) were REAL!

"Project Sign" was followed up by the more known, "Project Blue Book". from March 1952 through December 17, 1969.  According to the "Official Fact Sheet of the U.S. Air Force":
No UFO reported, investigated and evaluated by the Air Force was ever an indication of threat to our national security;
There was no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as "unidentified" represented technological developments or principles beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge; and
There was no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as "unidentified" were extraterrestrial vehicles.

Further on, the fact sheet has the following entry:

Since the termination of Project Blue Book, nothing has occurred that would support a resumption of UFO investigations by the Air Force. Given the current environment of steadily decreasing defense budgets, it is unlikely the Air Force would become involved in such a costly project in the foreseeable future.

Anyone listening to the news this year, 2021, has heard about the UFO sightings by military pilots and may have seen the released Pentagon video. The following link, from the online site for "Newsweek" magazine, will take my reader to an article, dated Friday December 10, 2021, about Indiana Congressman Andre Carson:

In his appearance on CBS News' Face the Nation, Carson responded to a declassified Pentagon report released last week that detailed hundreds of unexplained UFO sightings by U.S. Navy pilots since 2004. He chaired a classified briefing over the nine-page report that has since sparked extraterrestrial intrigue and stirred up decades of U.S. government and alien conspiracies on social media.
Apparently, only U.S. Navy and Marine Corps pilots see UFO's, not U.S. Air Force pilots. We have not heard, lately, from U.S. Army pilots on this issue!

Most of my readers have heard about the "Roswell, New Mexico, Flying Disc", that crashed on the property of Rancher W.W. Brazell the night of July 5, 1947. The crash was mentioned in a press release, dated July 8, 1947, from the "Roswell Army Air Field" public relations team.

By the following day, the Army had retracted their statement, and called the debris a "Weather Balloon". Below, Army Brigadier General Roger Ramey and Colonel Thomas J. DuBose examine the debris found on Brazell's property.

However, the story of an alien flying saucer and its occupants never went away. During 1994, the United States Air Force, again, felt it was necessary to issue a statement about the "Roswell Incident". The "Weather Balloon" was now specifically, "A Nuclear Test Surveillance Balloon" from "PROJECT MONGUL".

"Project Mongul" was a top-secret project of the United States Air Force. It used high altitude balloons carrying radio equipment to pick-up sound waves from Soviet Nuclear Tests and transmit the data back to the Air Force. The project was carried out between 1947 and early 1949.

Some of my readers may not know about civilian pilot and businessman Kenneth Arnold. Who one month prior to Roswell, on June 24, 1947, was flying near Mount Rainer, Washington, and reported to the local air traffic control, nine unusual objects flying in tantum, and when asked what they looked like, Arnold replied, "Flying Saucers", and the term was created!

According to a declassified 1947 United States Army Air Force report, there was no "Flying Saucer", or "Little Green Space Men" removed from Roswell, New Mexico, to "Area 51", located at the "Neveda Test and Training Range", and run out of California's, "Edward's Air Force Base", in Kern County. 

As to Kenneth Arnold's nine unusual objects, the same report stated:
the objects of this sighting were due to a mirage.

All well and good, BUT this does not explain the United States Air Force's: 


According to documents declassified in, June 2001, U.S. Air Force "Project 1794", apparently was started on January 1, 1952, aiming at the creation of a SUPERSONIC FLYING SAUCER.

The following quote and pictures come from an article by "The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton, Ohio:

Enter the Avro Canada VZ-9. The Avrocar was a VTOL – vertical takeoff and landing – aircraft developed in Canada by Avro Aircraft Ltd. as part of a secret U.S. military project carried out in the early years of the Cold War.

The "Avrocar Cars", below, were finally constructed, depending on the website, between 1957 and 1959. The first test flight was November 29, 1959 and the last test was in September 1961.

Quoting a 2017 article from the website "Science Vibe":

The newly declassified documents reveal plans for the plane to reach a top speed of Mac 4, four times the speed of sound. It would also climb to an altitude of 100,000 feet. At the time, executing the project would have cost more than $3 million or $26 million in today’s terms. If it had been completed, we would have created a saucer that could spin through the Earth’s stratosphere at about 2,600 miles per hour.

One has to play conspiracy theorist here and wonder DID A REAL "FLYING DISC" crash in Roswell, New Mexico, on July 5, 1947? Something, or someone had to have sparked the idea of creating an American Air Force Flying Saucer? 


The motion picture begins with the following statement:
Many times, in the history of our civilization the introduction of a new thought has brought skepticism, even ridicule. Despite this, there always has remained the duty and inalienable right to tell the people the truth. The Motion Picture you are about to see is true. It is not fiction. Much of the information in it has never been told. You will see it here for the first time.
Apparently in 1952, Hollywood Producer Clarence Greene saw a UFO and reported it to U.S. Air Force public information officer Albert M. Chop, in charge of handling all UFO inquiries. In their conversation, Chop informed Greene about actual filmed footage of these Unidentified Flying Objects. Intrigued, Clarene Greene acquired the film footage and decided to make a documentary that resulted in this motion picture. While Greene's feature was being put together, Albert Chop became the public relations officer for "Project Blue Book".

With actual footage and recreations of actual events, the motion picture looked at Kenneth Arnold and his 1947 sighting, and the August 1950, "Mariana UFO Incident", in Great Falls Montana. Which had resulted in what was believed to be the first filmed footage of a UFO, but the U.S. Air Force stated it was only a reflection between two F-94 fighter jets. This semi-documentary also looked at "Project Sign" and concludes with the 1952, "Washington D.C., UFO Incident". A series of publicized UFO sightings that took place over two weekends, July 19-20, 1952, and July 26-27, 1952. The news media did their thing and one account called them "The Invasion of Washington".


During the first years of "The Cold War", the idea that "Flying Saucers were real entered the minds of American citizens, but not as you might think:

IF you lived in my 1950's Los Angeles, you became accustomed to air raid drills, drop and cover drills in schools, and government motion picture and television informational spots about the Soviet Union and what you needed to do in the event of an Atomic Bomb attack on your city. Civil Defense spotters were told to watch for high flying Soviet Aircraft that were being misidentified by non-qualified civilians as "Unidentified Flying Objects", or "Flying Saucers".

Many 'Cold War Era" movies and television programs played upon our fear of a Soviet Atomic attack, the 1952 motion picture "Invasion U.S.A." and the 1953 television series "I Led 3 Lives", starring Richard Carlson, are prominent examples. 

While both the motion picture and television industries saw an audience potential in escapism Science Fiction stories based upon all the UFO reports. This led to television programs like 1949's "Captain Video and his Video Rangers" and motion pictures like 1951's "Flight to Mars"

My article, "Boldly Going Before Kirk and Spock: 1950's TV Science Fiction". may be read at:

My article, "Invaders from Mars, Except When They Came from Venus, or Planet X", may be read at:

I will not be going into the details of the screenplays. because this article is only interested in what the United States, United Kingdom and the Japanese motion picture industries thought Kenneth Arnold's "Flying Saucers" should look like. I do not include movies with other forms of space craft, such as 1951's, "The Man from Planet X", 1953's, "Commando Cody, Sky Marshall of the Universe", Roger Corman's, 1958,"War of the Satellites", or the buried meteor space craft of 1959's, "Rymdinvasion i Lapland (Space Invasion of Lapland)".

The following motion pictures are in sequential order based upon the dates of their releases and starts with the very appropriately named:

THE FLYING SAUCER released on January 5, 1950

The motion was produced, written, directed, and starring forgotten Columbus, Ohio, born "B" actor, Mikel Conrad. This is the first motion picture to deal with "Flying Saucers", but it turns out that the saucer was made by an American scientist, who is a "Commie Sympathizer", and wants to sell it to Stalin.

FLYING DISC MAN FROM MARS the first chapter released on October 25, 1950 

I mentioned this movie only because the Martian flying craft is called a "Flying Disc", seen below in the serial. Which is precisely what the U.S. Army in Roswell, New Mexico, first called the "Weather Balloon", two-and-a-half-years earlier than this serials release. The name of the craft may be a coincidence, or screenplay writer Ronald Davidson going for a UFO craze tie-in. 

Initially, the aircraft was built for the Republic Chapter Serial, "Spy Smasher", the first chapter was on April 4, 1942, and the plane was without the tail section, seen below.

The Japanese Rising Sun tail section, still seen in "Flying Disc Man from Mars" still, was added to the plane. That is because the aircraft was referred to as a "Boomerang Plane" under the control of Japanese spy, "Admiral Yamata", and not a Martian Invader, in Republic Pictures, Cliff-Hanger, "King of the Mounties", with the first chapter released on October 17, 1942.

THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD released April 27, 1951

Howard Hawks', or is it, Christian Nyby's, "The Thing from Another World", cheats the 1951 audience. They never see the actual "Flying Saucer", but through the dialogue and scenes of the Douglas C-47's crew and accompanying scientists, their imaginations run wild and paint a picture of its size.

While the reverse is true with director Robert Wise's religious allegory:

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL released on September 18, 1951

This was the first picture to show the inside of the "Flying Saucer".

1952 had "Nine" science fiction movies, including one from Austria and one from West Germany, but not one had a "Flying Saucer" in it.

1953 had "Twenty-Three" science fiction motion pictures, including the Soviet Union animated "Полёт на Луну (Flight to the Moon)", "It Came from Outer Space", and "War of the Worlds", but only two had "Flying Saucers".

INVADERS FROM MARS premiered in Detroit, Michigan, on April 9, 1953

Production Designer and Director William Cameron Menzies, 1924's, "The Thief of Bagdad", 1936's H.G. Wells' "Things to Come", and the 3-D, 1953, "The Maze", does show his audience the Martian "Flying Saucer", but concentrates more on its inside that outside after it sinks into the sand pit. The motion picture was planned as a 3-D release as the opening and closing titles still support, but budget cuts stopped the process before shooting began.

PHANTOM FROM SPACE released on May 15, 1953

The above poster is probably the best thing about this movie, except it shows a rocket ship and not a "Flying Saucer". However, the screenplay clearly states the alien arrived on Earth in a "Flying Saucer". The following still is the only time the audience sees the "Flying Saucer" and obviously you have to take screenplay writer, William Raynor's word for what it is. 

From one bad movie to another, but more laughable.

KILLERS FROM SPACE released on January 24, 1954

There's nothing like Peter Graves being given a tour by the Fried Egg Eyed Aliens their "Flying Saucer" on a flat screen television set.

DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS released in the United Kingdom on May 2, 1954

Next was a low budgeted reworking of the plot for 1951's, "The Day the Earth Stood Still", also starring and wasting Patricia Neal.

STRANGER FROM VENUS released in the United Kingdom on December 31, 1954

The motion picture opens up without showing the "Flying Saucer", but has the audience seeing from its point of view. The "Flying Saucer" appears for a matter of seconds about five minutes before the ending of the picture. I photographed it from the movie, because websites have a globe looking craft somebody identified as being from this motion picture, but is the "Mother Ship" from Ed Wood's "Plan 9 from Outer Space".

THIS ISLAND EARTH premiered in New York City on June 10, 1955

Based upon the different areas shown in the motion picture of the "Metaluna Flying Saucer" and the apparent outer dimensions, size is everything.

宇宙人東京に現わる (ALIENS APPEAR IN TOKYO) aka: WARNING FROM SPACE released in Japan on January 29, 1956 and in the United States, on television, April 15, 1964

SUPERSONIC SAUCER released in the United Kingdom on March 1, 1956

This was a children's film and the "Supersonic Saucer" is an alien from Venus, that can turn itself into a flying saucer. British children at a boarding school, have to rescue the alien named "Melba" from a gang of criminals. Think Spielberg's 1982, "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial", 26-years earlier.

Two days after the United Kingdom's "Supersonic Saucer", in the United States, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released what would become a classic of 1950's Science Fiction.

FORBIDDEN PLANET premiered in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 3, 1956

"Forbidden Planet" reversed our perception of a UFO being an alien space ship and turned one into a 23rd Century space craft, the "United Planets C-57-D".

Of course, when you think of 1950's "Flying Saucers", most people associate one name, Raymond "Ray" Frederick Harryhausen, the creator of the Stop-Motion-Special-Effects for the:

EARTH VS THE FLYING SAUCERS that premiered in Los Angeles on June 13, 1956

I want to go into the background for making this motion picture, because most of my readers only know Ray Harryhausen's name and his work. 

The source material was based upon the 1953 non-fiction book, "Flying Saucers from Outer Space", by ex-Marine Corps Naval Aviator, Major Donald Keyhoe. After the First World War, Kehoe wrote an autobiographical work, 1928's, "Flying with Lindbergh", about managing Charles Lindbergh's 1927 coast to coast United States Tour. Next, he became a writer for "Weird Tales" and other pulp publications.

In 1947, Donald Keyhoe believed Kenneth Arnold's story and became a researcher into "Unidentified Flying Objects". When the Air Force issued another official denial in late 1949, Keyhoe believed the opposite and published, in the January 1950 issue of "True Magazine", his article, "Flying Saucers are Real", which eventually led to his book, "Flying Saucers from Outer Space".

There were two major writers on the motion picture. Turning Major Donald Keyhoe's work into a motion picture story, went to Curt Siodmak. Siodmak wrote, among others, the screenplay for Universal Pictures, 1941, "The Wolfman", and the classic 1942 Science Fiction novel, "Donovan's Brain". My article on Curt and his brother Robert, who worked together on Universal Pictures. 1943's, "Son of Dracula", entitled, "CURT and ROBERT SIODMAK: Horror and Film Noir", will be found at:

Curt Siodmak's story was turned over to screenplay writer George Worthing Yates, among his work is the story and screenplay for 1954's, "THEM!". My article, "George Worthing Yates: Screenplays from 1927's LIGHNING LARIATS to 1962's KING KONG VS GODZILLA", will also be found at:

Producing this motion picture and bringing everyone together was Ray Harryhausen's partner since 1955's, "It Came from Beneath the Sea". My article, "CHARLES H. SCHNEER: Ray Harryhausen's Producer/Partner", is at:

IT CONQUERED THE WORLD released on July 15, 1956

Producer and Director Rodger Corman's "It Conquered the World", has one of his most interesting cast's, Peter Graves, "Mission Imposible" and the 1980 comedy "Airplane", Beverly Garland, the star of the television detective series "Decoy" and "The Alligator People", Lee Van Cleef, "High Noon" and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly", and Sally Fraser, "War of the Colossal Beast" and "The Earth vs the Spider".

However, Corman also has one of the most uninteresting "Flying Saucers", briefly seen at the start of the movie.

GRAVE ROBBERS FROM OUTER SPACE that premiered on March 15, 1957 at the Carlton Theater in Los Angeles. The movie was renamed PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE and re-released under that title on July 22, 1959

The motion picture was actually shot in November 1956.

Ed Wood did not use hub caps, or even paper plates for his "Flying Saucers" as many have stated. According to the 1991 documentary, "Flying Saucers Over Hollywood". Wood purchased several of the Paul Lindberg Company, 1952, Product #517 model kit, and painted over them.

Most people recognize Bela Lugosi, Vampira, and even Tor Johnson in the picture. For those who might be interested in the other cast members, my article "The Strange Dead and Living Cast of Ed Wood, Jr's, 'PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE" may be read at:

"KRONOS" gives the audience a "Flying Saucer" that pulsates filled with a form of electricity that sends out a small pulsating piece of that energy to take over the mind of the chief research scientist at "LabCentral". The "Flying Saucer" looks like another version of Roger Corman's "Flying Saucer" from "It Conquered the World".

This picture's "Flying Saucer" crashes into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico one-night. The next morning, the saucer has become the title character and sets off to drain the planet of all energy, because it's a giant alien storage battery.

The next "Flying Saucer" movie was aimed at pre-teens and teens in the same vein as the Horror movie, 1957's, "I Was a Teenage Frankenstein" and the Science Fiction, 1958's"The Blob". The invasion of the title, such as it was, had the alien "Flying Saucer" and its occupants land on a rural town's lover's lane.

INVASION OF THE SAUCER MEN released June 19, 1957

THE 27TH DAY released in July 1957

Does the "Flying Saucer" look somewhat familiar from 1956? Stock footage is always a help to a low budget motion picture.

Below the five taken Earth People meet this picture's "Klaatu", played by Arnold Moss, inside the "Flying Saucer". He gives them a symposium on saving the Earth from total destruction, or destroying it, by the device each of the five is given.

地球防衛軍 (EARTH DEFENSE FORCE) aka: THE MYSTERIANS released in Japan on December 28, 1957 and in the United States on May 15, 1959

THE STRANGE WORLD OF PLANET X aka: COSMIC MONSTERS released in the United Kingdom on March 4, 1958 and in the United States on December 31, 1958

Don't let the title of the next movie fool you, this is pretty good Science Fiction.

I MARRIED A MONSTER FROM OUTER SPACE released September 10, 1958

Unfortunately, the complete flying saucer is not seen from its outside, because it is conveniently hidden by cost cutting trees. At the pictures conclusion the audience sees the "Flying Saucer" invasion fleet, but at such a distance as being unable to make out what they look like.

TEENAGERS FROM OUTER SPACE released on June 3, 1959

Their "Flying Saucers" drill into the Earth's earth.

THE ATOMIC SUBMARINE released on November 29, 1959

"Atomic Submarine" got original with its "Flying Saucer" and made it also an underwater craft.

宇宙大戦争 (THE GREAT SPACE WAR) aka: BATTLE IN OUTER SPACE released in Japan on December 26, 1959 and in the United States on July 8, 1960

I will end this article where I began it, with a link to a true account about:

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