UFO

“The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one.

He cannot sleep in his own skin; he cannot trust his own instincts. He is at once a creator moving miraculous hands and fingers and a kind of cripple. He is wrapped in artificial bandages called clothes; he is propped on artificial crutches called furniture. His mind has the same doubtful liberties and the same wild limitations. Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself. Alone among the animals he feels the need of averting his thought from the root realities of his own bodily being; of hiding them as in the presence of some higher possibility which creates the mystery of shame.”
― G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

Abandoned Saucer House, Texas

The world is full of rabbit holes. Let your discipline and vigilance slip for one second and you will fall down one – not to return for a long, long time.

That happened to me today, as it does on many days. I am too curious.

The YouTube algorithm served up a suggestion for me. It was called “Purple Wigs.” I could not resist.

What the hell was that! I had to find out. I started to research.

These were scenes from the moon base from a 1970 British Science Fiction television show called UFO. It was produced by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson – their first live-action series. Up to this time they had done the beloved Supermarionation shows I remember (and loved) from my youth like Supercar or Thunderbirds.

The actress at the beginning of the clip is Gabrielle Drake, the sister of the wonderful and doomed Nick Drake and has fought to promote his music after his untimely death.

The show had a troubled production history and only ran for one season of 26 episodes. A few years later it became popular in the states (I was out of the country at that time and never saw it) which prompted them to get together for a second season. That too, was filled with difficulties and was ultimately scrapped. But the sets, scripts, and many of the actors were reworked into an entirely new show, called Space:1999 (starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain) – a quirky show ahead of its time – which I had discovered back in the day and loved.

So down and down the rabbit hole. I looked it up on Justwatch.com and realized that I could stream the show (with ads) on Freevee and my Amazon Prime subscription. So I sat down and watched the first episode.

And I really liked it. They used the same special effects team as they did on the Supermarionation shows and the planes (love the SST) and spaceships look like the Thunderbirds. It is more adult, however – for example people die in bloody violent ways onscreen – and there is a strong sexual element. It is terribly dated in its treatment of women, of course – even though the women are given important positions in SHADO – the secret organization to protect earth against the alien attacks – there is a lot of gratuitous flirting and… well the costumes. Of course, I know I shouldn’t, but I’m so tired of… well… now… I actually enjoyed watching all the misogyny – and the men were treated badly too. Enough of that.

Oh, and the music. It is full of cheesy 70’s space cocktail jazz. I was glad to find the soundtrack on Spotify. I have favorited it – we’ll see how long until I tire of it.

Another rabbit hole. You tell me… a waste of time or one of those odd puzzles that make life worthwhile. Or maybe both. And oh, those costumes. Purple wigs? Purple wigs!

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