Friday, June 21, 2019

The First Several Saucer Solutions of 1947

In the weeks following the historic UFO sighting by Kenneth Arnold, many explanations surfaced for the reports of flying saucers. This was spoofed in a cartoon in the July 7, 1947 edition of The Times Record from Troy, New York:
The Times Record, Troy NY, July 7, 1947
The explanations offered ranged from the serious to the silly. STTF's Claude Falkstrom has collected some of the most notable ones from the summer of 1947.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 28, 1947

The Tennessean Sun, June 29, 1947 
The Vought  XF5U-1 "Flying Flapjack?" 

Daily News, July 5, 1947

The Montana Standard, July 5, 1947 
Atomic Experiments?

The Independent Record, July 6, 1947
Mass Hysteria?
Dr. Steckel v. Dr. Overholser
Two psychiatrists gave their conflicting opinions on saucers, Dr. Harry A. Steckel v. Dr. Winfred Overholser on flying saucers as mass hysteria:
The News-Press, (Fort Myers, FL)  July 7, 1947
Remotely-piloted Missiles, Corpuscles?

The Mexico Ledger, July 7, 1947, The Evening Sun, July 7, 1947
Optical Illusions and the Power of Suggestion?

The Milwaukee Sentinel, July 7, 1947
Meteors, Birds or Reflections? 

The Ottawa Journal,  July 7, 1947,  Tampa Bay Times and The Evening Sun, July 9, 1947
Airborne Radioactive Waste?

The Daily Courier, July 10, 1947

Grain Silo Reflections?

 The Sentinel, Carlisle PA, July 9, 1947

Several Silly Suggestions:

The Weekly Acadian, July 10, 1947
Entoptic Phenomena?

Tampa Bay Times, July 13, 1947
Fear-Inspired Folklore?

Messenger-Inquirer, July 20, 1947

Associated Press Science Editor, Howard W. Blakeslee wrote a long article on how the flying saucers might be a "new folklore in the making":
The flying disks are probably the first of a series of aerial puzzles, with others to come, in the opinion of Dr. J.L. Moreno, New York... Men have been seeing things like flying disks for centuries. Now these apparitions have a new meaning and some of them a new dreadfulness. 
The full text of the article can be found at Saturday Night Uforia, "in the news 1947," look for the story, Seeing of Saucers in Flight Is Phenomenon of Current Fears

Industrial Waste?
The News Palladium, July 30, 1947

The Saucers That 1947 Forgot

By August of 1947, the flying saucer sensation was over, and the topic was spoken of in the past tense. The Gallup Poll asked "What do you think the saucers are?" After months of conflicting explanations, no one could be sure, but of the respondents who thought saucers were real, the top answer was military "secret weapon."
Aug. 15, 1947
When saucers were discussed, the idea lingered that the UFOs could be a secret military weapon, but there was no consensus on who was flying them.

The Soviets thought they were ours.

St. Clair Chronicle, Aug. 23, 1947

Oregon Representative Harris Ellsworth got word that behind the saucers story we might find a rocket from Russia.
The Freeport Journal-Standard, Dec. 22, 1947

Stories of saucer sightings, and various explanations from the credible to the crackpot variety, continued to make good copy. The newspapers continued to provide stories about flying saucers for their curious readers. It didn't much matter to the newspaper editors what was being seen, or whether it was real; saucers were news, and they sold news. 

Friday, June 7, 2019

UFOs: Contact in the Comics from 1964

Buz Sawyer was the daily comic strip created by Roy Crane in 1943 featuring the adventures of a heroic Navy pilot. When a Sunday comic strip was added, it was produced by Crane's assistants and featured a different storyline starring Rosco Sweeney, Buz Sawyer's comic sidekick. The Sunday strip was a comedy, mostly about Rosco Sweeney and his sister, Lucille, dealing with country life on the family farm.

A typical day at the Sweeney farm, 1963.
Al Wenzel's (Albert Borth Wenzel, 1924 -1995) art career took flight illustrating Superboy comic books in the late 1940s, and by the early 1950s he was producing cartoons for magazines and ghosting comic strips such as Will Eisner's The Spirit. In 1960, he became Crane's assistant on the Buz Sawyer Sundays, then took over producing the strip in 1962. Wenzel continued the premise and flavor of the strip, but in 1964, things got weird when a flying saucer turned up.

Robert Barrow, a long-time ufologist, sent us a note about some comic strips he'd saved:
After the Lonnie Zamora UFO report in 1964 all manner of newspaper responses showed up.  These are three separate weeks from the Sunday newspaper comics featuring the "Buz Sawyer" series by Roy Crane, and these involve "his pal" Rosco Sweeney.
We've shared the 1964 strips below, and Claude Falkstrom was able to locate some black and white reproductions of the other strips in the the series, along with a few of the final ones in color from UFOPOP. It looks like there was an earlier introduction, that may be missing, but otherwise the story looks complete. It's an interesting look at the attitudes of the time, from the public's view on Air Force UFO denials to the concern by witness that they'll be seen as kooks. As for the visiting extraterrestrial, he's a little green man from Mars.



The Dec. 1964 episode ended the flying saucer storyline, at least for a while. In March of 1968, the Martian made a return visit.

Thanks to Robert Barrow for sharing his original newspaper clippings from 1964. Check out Robert's work at UFO: The True Story of Flying Saucers 

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