Tuesday, February 19, 2019

"Project Blue Book" - the History channel's exponential descent into fiction inspired by a bit of fact & real history

 The History channel's fiction
Dr. Allen Hynek and me at his Chicago home in 1984
Holy Cow! This is not a bad piece of reporting. 
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6675625/J-Allen-Hynek-UFOs-investigations-Close-Encounters-Kind-Steven-Spielberg-new-TV-show.html?fbclid=IwAR10R_nYdxi7JnLHELMtizBsQmJFKV8rC4zdSDWIizbzCE19cUXJXqRvlVM
It puts the TV show in a proper perspective - entertainment inspired by some real history. Having watched the first five episodes the descent in fiction somewhat inspired by fact and real history has been exponential. Understand that means a little bit a fact has inspired a whole of entertaining historical dramatic fiction. Read Mark O'Connell's excellent biography "The Close Encounters Man" to get the real story.
The History Channel's new show "Project Bluebook" "inspired" by Dr. Allen Hynek's research and investigations of "flying saucers" and UFOs is essentially fragmented and often invented "history" in the service of driving a historical drama. While you might be entertained by the drama of the series it seems like a game of spot the "facts", get use to the inventions of dramatic flourishes and let the show just serve to entertain. At least the history channel are putting up summaries of the real facts on the individual cases chosen each episode to shape the drama narrative. The first 3 episodes were based very loosely on the Fargo aerial "dog fight', the Flatwoods encounter and the Lubbock Lights. Check out the fact sheets the History channel are putting up for each case featured in the episodes. The UFO historian in me then suggests you check out the facts and do your own research. In particular read Mark O'Connell's excellent biography of Allen Hynek: "The Close Encounters Man", Allen Hynek's books of the subject "The UFO Experience", "The Edge of Reality - a progress report on UFOs" (co-authored with Jacques Vallee and Hynek's own take on Bluebook "The Hynek UFO Report". and Jerome Clark's 2 volume "The UFO Encyclopedia" (which I contributed to) just recently re-emerging in its 3rd edition. 
If the show helps draw attention to Allen Hynek's real contribution to a UFO science it might make up for its disconnection from the real history. 
Why invent history when the real story should be what is told? Allen Hynek's real history needs to be shown rather than the promotion of pseudo-history, but we live in strange times, where invented history dramas are apparently needed to get people interested. 
Do yourself a favour and go beyond the History channel's dramatic fictionalisation of Allen Hynek's fascinating life. 
Here is a link to my review of Mark O'Connell's biography of Allen Hynek's real story - a good start to exploring the facts rather than limiting yourself to fake historical dramatic narratives:
https://theozfiles.blogspot.com/2017/05/the-extraordinary-legacy-of-dr-j-allen_25.html?fbclid=IwAR1t-BfFa4CbNxD-u8ENpekJXVjxPx7-N1yn_d9Lbb_BV8GQxtPMLPEl37o

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