Friday, February 1, 2019

Discs in the Sky: Flying Saucer Commercialism

1947: Within days of the first flying saucer sightings, hoaxers, hucksters - even capitalists rushed to cash in.

The Film Daily, July 9, 1947 (page 3) featured some saucer news in the column,"Along the Rialto" by Phil M. Daly, Mid-Week Memos (tid-bits of movie news and gossip), asking the question:

Has anyone filed a title registration with the MPAA like "The Flying Saucer?"
...... Or "Discs in the Sky?"

Across the USA, flying saucers were becoming big business, at least as an advertising gimmick.

The Rain of the Flying Discs

Ringing Down the Week’s Curtain• • • WELL SIR, it didn't lake the boys long to cash in on those flying saucers...... First to crash thru locally were the fast-thinking lads at Metro with display copy in yesterday's dailies slyly intimating that the saucers were a collective plug for "The Hucksters" which is Capitol-bound...... Down in Oklahoma City, on Tuesday the smart Allied Artists lads took to the air and from a plane showered down thousands of flying black and gold discs on noonday shopping throngs to call attention to the coming world premiere there of "Black Gold"......And the postman deposited on Phil M/s desk yesterday a memo from Charles Reed Jones assuring that the flying saucers are really Louis Armstrong records of "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" It seems, sez CRJ, RCA- Victor couldn't contrive any other distribution to supply the demand since Jules Levey's "New Orleans" has been opening in the keys ......NEXT!!!!...... "The line forms at the right"......
The Film Daily, July 11, 1947 (page 4)
Other radio stations were also in on the saucer act:

Broadcasting magazine, July 14, 1947 (PDF link)

Radio station saucer drops continued as an advertising stunt throughout the 1940s into the 1950s.

Billboard, July 26, 1947
The Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque, Iowa, Sunday, April 08, 1951, page 17.
1951 Saucer Drop. Click for larger version

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

In 1950, California radio station KFXM had another approach to attract customers: establishing extraterrestrial contact. From Broadcasting, April 3, 1950:
NEW angle on promotional possibilities of flying saucers hit upon by Lowell Smith, time salesman for KFXM San Bernardino, Calif. Mr. Smith has sold half-hour interview with pilot of any flying saucer to come down in a two-county area of station's coverage. Show, if and when it is aired, will take top-priority over any program on air, with Newsmen Jim O’Leary and Dave Hubbard set to parachute tape recorder and portable radio into position to "contact and interview occupant or occupants of any flying saucer" within area. Wilson & Fields, San Bernardino furniture and appliance firm will sponsor the show.
There were no takers, but we have to wonder if Professor George Adamski of Mt. Palomar, CA, might have been listening.

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