Thursday, February 27, 2020

When Flying Saucers Dropped on the USA

Since World War I or before, airplanes have been used to drop leaflets as propaganda tools, and before long, advertisers copied the practice on a civilian audience. After the news of Kenneth Arnold's sighting of a formation of nine unidentified objects made headlines in June 1947, flying saucer fever swept across the United States. 

Saucers were a hot topic, and advertisers were quick to pick up on the trend. In short order, they began dropping disc-shaped ads from airplanes. One early drop resulted in a UFO report from Bend, Oregon in early July 1947.
The Bend Bulletin, OR, July 5, 1947
Flying discs were a sensation, so paper plate-type saucers became the medium for the message.

Discs were dropped as advertising stunts across the USA...

Photo and article from The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 13, 1947
Stores, restaurants, insurance companies, even the U.S. Army were being advertised via saucers.
Examples of saucer advertising from UFOPOP:
A. The Daily Freeman, Waukesha, WI, July 11, 1947
B. The Daily Register, Harrisburg, IL, July 19, 1947
C. The Daily Courier, Waterloo, IA, July 10, 1947
D. The Times Record, Troy, NY, July 11, 1947

Saucers also fell over Canada. (Notice that hoaxers butted in on this, too.)
The Vancouver Sun, July 14, 1947
Here's another example, from radio station KDAL in Duluth, Minnesota. They launched 10,000 silver discs over surrounding cities to advertise their station.
Billboard, July 26, 1947
By the end of August, even Superman was getting in on the act. Superman was a "strange visitor from another planet," so having him confront the mystery of the discs would have been interesting. Instead, we got Superman hoaxing flying saucers to help friends advertise the Teenie Weenies hot dog stand.
Superman Sunday newspaper comic, Aug. 31, 1947
The fad of saucer drops trailed off, but was still in practice well into the 1950s. But exploiting flying saucers never went out of style, and affected everything from music to movies. In future articles, we'll continue to explore this aspect of UFO culture here at The Saucers That Time Forgot

Next up: 

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See our previous articles on UFO Commercial Exploitation:

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The First UFO Lawsuit?

In the early 1950s there were two news stories one year apart about UFO-related court cases. We'll take the later one first, since it involves an alleged flying saucer crash.

Case 1: Fell on a Farmer

Dateline: Columbus, Ohio, Oct. 7, 1953, the injured party, one Ferdinand Hackover.

The Ames Daily Tribune, October 9, 1953

Debris from US government-launched balloon projects has been found since well before Roswell, from broken Rawin targets to Radiosondes. It's rare, but sometimes the debris has conked people. Here's a better documented case from 1963, one caused by the Weather Bureau.

The Times-Picayune, New Orleans, LA,  Nov. 12, 1963

Case 2: Stripper Sues Saucer Scientist

The 1952 legal complaint was about an early attempt to duplicate flying saucer performance and technology.

Dateline: Feb. 7, 1952, New Orleans, Louisiana, the injured party, one Evelyn West, a celebrity who was interested in furthering a UFO research project.

Evelyn West in magazines and newspapers

The Daily News, New York, Feb. 7, 1952

The Ames Daily Tribune, Feb. 7, 1952

There's not enough information to determine if she was the victim of a con man, or merely an inept inventor with big dreams. Sadly, there was follow-up to the story, but Sir magazine Feb. 1956 featured the article, “'Treasure Chest' West and the Nudists,” which was focused on West’s controversial role as a proponent of nudism. It did mention the flying saucer investment lawsuit in passing, but didn’t provide any update on the outcome.

Saucer Exploitation

What these two 1950s saucer lawsuit stories have in common is that there's no further record of either of them. Evelyn West was real, and quite famous, but we were unable to find a trace of  an alleged inventor by the name of Steven Vitko. Likewise for the Ohio farmer in, no record found of any person named Ferdinand Hackover.

True or not, the stories are good examples of the game the newspapers played, exploiting saucers as serious news, but other times playing them just for laughs. They didn't spend much time sorting out  or updating details of a novelty story from yesterday's news. What really mattered was selling newspapers today.

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As with so many of the most interesting UFO cases featured here at The Saucers That Time Forgot, Project Blue Book had no file on any of these incidents.

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