Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cash-Landrum: Curt Collins Is On The Case

And on the subject of a (non)fiction TV series covering eXtraordinary events (see previous post)...

Over at his site, Blue Blurry Lines [ ], Curt Collins has been looking into the Cash-Landrum incident.  In a recent blog post he takes to task the UFO "documentary" series, Close Encounters, on a few points with its report on the incident.

If you're unfamiliar with the Cash-Landrum case: December 1980.  Evening.  Texas, a country road.  Three people in a car (two adults and a child) encounter a hovering diamond-shaped object emitting heat, flames spewing out from its base.  Days later the three witnesses seek medical attention at a hospital, suffering from symptoms suggestive of radiation exposure.

In his post, Cash-Landrum As Seen on TV: Close Encounters,  [ ] Curt provides a list of thirteen inaccuracies he noted from one viewing of the CE episode dealing with the event.  Even basic facts like how many doors on the car are bungled.

But the biggest criticism is targeted toward the dramatized reenactment of the event.  Apparently it needed a bit of juice for the TV audiences.

In the purported recreation the UFO — which the witnesses said in real life was about 130 feet away — moved over the car, covering it in flames.

And another detail was created.  Close Encounters contacted someone who wasn't an expert on the case.  He repeated the story from memory, mentioning that he heard that sparks were being emitted from UFO.  

Apparently little or no fact checking was done.  Or if it was, maybe the producers thought: What the hell, let's keep that sparking angle and even enhance it to make the UFO's appearance even more impressive.  Why just have flames and sparks when you can throw in lightning?  Ergo, the UFO discharges electrical bolts. To quote the Late Great Supreme Commander Moseley: Wheee!

But this is nothing new.  Anyone remember the TV series, Unsolved Mysteries, that from 1987 until 2002 on the NBC network?  Hosted by actor Robert Stack — who seemed to recreating the character he portrayed in the comedy movie, Airplane — the producers wouldn't hesitate to juice up a story.  That's why before each episode a disclaimer was shown saying the series was not a production of NBC News.

A UFO that was reported seen in the distance at night, not that large or detailed, would be depicted hovering almost over the witness's head, huge with bright lights.  

And there was a segment about the Sandra Mansi - Lake Champlain monster encounter (1977) in which she provided an indistinct photograph of what could've been a half-submerged log or tree some distance away in the water.  But during the reenactment they showed the monster close to shore, going eyeball-to-eyeball with Mansi.  Double Wheee!

Don't watch that TV crap.  Instead spend time at sites like Curt's where real research is being done, sorting out the scat from the candy.   And it isn't TV mind candy.


Marvin the Martian said...

I miss Robert Stack. "Airplane!" was the pinnacle of his career, I think.

X. Dell said...

Unfortunately, the movie Airplane tended to be more factually accurate than many of these shows.

I liked Collins' take on the case so much, that I posted the thrust of what I intended to comment here, on his page.