Here is a transcription of a rare magazine article -- a preview of the UFO TV series which appeared in the 13 July 1972 (Volume 1, Issue 13) issue of the American magazine MONSTER TIMES! All of the typographical and factual errors have been left intact for your amusement -- please note that there are some big errors here (even a part of a sentence or two seem to be missing), so this is not a problem with the transcription!
Good news is in the works for grounded science-fiction fans! CBS will be hosting a brand-new sci-fi TV series called UFO, scheduled to be descending on your screens sometime this Fall. Here to provide all the intergalactic info on the terror-oriented teleseries is Gary Gerani, TMT's ace tube reporter. But first a special word of praise goes, from the bottom of our collective horrorific heart, to Abe Mandell, President of ITC, whose tireless efforts have been largely responsible for UFO's flight from Britain to the U.S. television screen. And now, let's get on with the show....
THE ARRIVAL OF UFO
by Gary Gerani
Come this fall, the CBS syndication market will be invaded by a friendly but alien hour of fun. From the outer galaxies and inner offices of ITC Productions comes a startling new action-adventure series about Unidentified Flying Objects or, to use the more titillating term, "U.F.O.s". Yes, ITC, the British company responsible for exposing SECRET AGENT and freeing THE PRISONER for our viewing pleasure, has turned to the skies for its tales of tomorrow and has also provided you fortunate readers with an exclusive preview. And now, come with us if you will for a look into the not-so distant future, to an age of science and sensibility, to the world of "U.F.O."
It is 1980 and we are standing just outside the international headquarters of SHADO. Since most MT readers are seasoned 1972-type folks, we will excuse your obvious befuddlement and explain that SHADO is a futuristic organization dedicated to the study of strange flying phenomena. It appears that in the late 70's the presence of outer beings became an accepted fact of life, and what's more, a constant danger to same. And so, our world of the future is protected from galactic perils by the dedicated men and women of SHADO, the spaced-out FBI of the 1980's!
ONLY THE SHADO KNOWS
There is a lot, however, that the world does not know about our cosmic invaders. Commander Edward Straker (Ed Bishop), founder and leader of SHADO sees to that. Both he and his right-hand man Alec Freeman (George Sewell) have seen and experienced things beyond imagining, things that might agitate a world-wide panic if the good citizens of this future earth were to learn of them. With such terrifying visits from the stars already underway, it's a darn good thing we do have an organization such as SHADO on our side! Why, it's complexities are enough to make James Bond's headquarters resemble a candy store! They even have their own moonbase, commanded by the lovely Gay Ellis (Gabrielle Drake) who is always on the alert for an alien attack ... or a wolfish pass from man-about-planet Alec!
WORKING WITHIN THE SYSTEM
"Identified," the title of the first episode filmed (and the only one this MT reporter was fortunate to preview) involves the kidnapping of several human beings by aliens for dire purposes. What these exact purposes are remains somewhat of a mystery until, sometime later, a UFO is shot down and a body retrieved. Efforts to save the UFO pilot are in vain, and almost as soon as the alien's helmet is removed, the younger-looking features are transformed into those of an incredibly aged man. In death, he gives up one of the secrets Commander Straker has been so anxious to learn; that many of the alien's organs are human.
The commander surmises that a dying race, in desperate need of replacement organs from healthy people, have been finding their hopes of survival millions of miles away on earth, by conducting raids in search of human organs to kidnap in order to keep themselves alive. Wow!
Judging from this first episode, it seems logical to assume that UFO intends to explore some rather sophisticated science fiction premises. Each chapter ends on a pondering note, and the exact nature of the aliens is never clearly defined. But this does not slow down the pace of the stories one bit. They move with a seemingly jet-propelled swiftness, and the intricate headquarters of SHADO are more Ian Fleming in nature than Ray Bradbury. The music too adds to the going for it are its special effects. All the miniatures are constructed and operated by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, who formerly worked on TV's THUNDERBIRDS and CAPTAIN SCARLETT, as well as the recent British film, JOURNEY TO THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN. The detailed construction of the models is really something to marvel at, and the optical effects are also well above-average. The Andersons are usually faced with the task of developing a flying saucer of some sort, since the scripts generally call for one to put in an appearance sometime during the hour, and this gives them a chance to experiment with different way-out techniques. There is one particularly interesting sequence in the first episode, when a missile is launched from an underwater installation and we see it break through the surface and speed towards space. This and many other scenes demonstrate the breath-taking effects work present in UFO.
But if UFO has any real significance, television-wise, it would have to lie in its basic premise. It appears that the age of specialized fantasy on TV is upon us. Not too long ago ABC and Universal got together and produced THE SIXTH SENSE, the world's first teleseries dealing with ESP and psychic phenomena. Next fall, NBC intends to look into the world of spirits with GHOST STORY. And now, at last, we are invited into the mysterious universe of UFOs. Just goes to show ya what imaginative minds the American TV watchers must have. Hmmmmmm....
The original article is 2 pages long and featured these 6 photos:
- Lunar Module with 2 astronauts floating around it -- no caption.
- Straker in space suit -- Caption: "Ed Bishop will be seen weekly in the role of Commander Edward Stryker, founder and leader of SHADO. Eat your heart out, Captain Kirk!".
- Seagull X-Ray SST coming in for landing -- Caption: "What is the nature and origin of this cryptic craft? Only SHADO knows for sure!"
- Paul Roper with handheld missile launcher on lunar surface -- Caption: "UFO's BEWARE! SHADO sharpshooter's got something in his sight as he takes careful aim in a never-ending effort to make the world a dangerous place for Unidentified Flying Objects.
- Mark Bradly inside an Interceptor cockpit -- Caption: Flying sub pilot grips controls as strange SHADO ship prepares to take off on a jolting journey from sea to sky."
- Skydiver near the bottom of the ocean -- Caption: "The SHADO flying sub!"