June 24, 1947: The birth of the Flying Saucer phenomenon
This weekend marks the 70th anniversary of Idaho businessman and pilot Kenneth Arnold’s historic sighting of mysterious flying ships near Mt. Rainer.
While flying his CallAir Model A on a business trip, and taking a diversion as a volunteer effort to help find a recently crashed military transport, Kenneth Arnold suddenly spotted a flash of light in the sky. Thinking it was a sun reflection from another airplane, Arnold looked around and sighted nine apparently metallic craft winding their way across the mountains. Intrigued, he was able to time their progress and, by estimating their relative size, he calculated their speed to be greater than any known aircraft at that time. He said their flightpath resembled that of the tail of a Chinese kite, with the craft bobbing up and down while flying in a line. He described the motion as ‘as if a saucer were skipped across water’, which a news reporter later erroneously attributed to the crafts’ shape, despite Arnold reporting them as shaped like a crescent. Soon everyone was sighting saucer-shaped objects for at least two decades.
Kenneth Arnold became the first UFO expert, giving interviews on the radio and investigating other flying saucer sightings. While he didn’t initially think what he saw was of extraterrestrial origin, he soon became a believer in the extraterrestrial hypothesis and also became a ‘repeater’ (someone who reports having seen multiple UFO sightings. Flying saucers, whatever they were, were from that time forward permanently planted in the imaginations of Cold War Americans (and beyond).
Radio Lost and Found commemorates the 70th anniversary of this portentious sighting, perhaps ruefully, as saucer sitings have been on the decline since the 1970s, thanks either to a remarkable advancement of alien technology or Hollywood production companies finding the classic saucer shape passe.
This was a fun show for me; not only did I get to play a lot of material that is very near and dear to my heart (I’ve previously done UFO related shows here and here), but I also got to do a long-form collage show, which I haven’t done much of lately. I generally avoid doing thematic shows but I couldn’t resist it here. It’s also more or less an homage of sorts to Don Joyce’s wonderful Over The Edge episodes Another UFO, which I have enjoyed immensely. I didn’t back announce anything. The playlist is a fairly accurate account of what I did. I am a lousy note taker, so some contents may have settled in shipping. Things were played on the top of one another, but the start times of any individual track is pretty accurate. Know what I mean?
I hope you like it. Lots of people called in and seemed to enjoy it.
Playlist [hour: minute Artist – Track – Album]
00:00 KBOO Community Radio – ID/Promo Spots – Promo Spots
00:02 The Firesign Theatre – Side One [excerpt] – Everything You Know Is Wrong
00:06 Set break — Background: The Orb – The Dream
00:06 The Orb – The Dream (The Future Academy of Noise, Rhythm and Gardening Mix) – The Dream
00:07 Kenneth Arnold – Discusses his sighting, 1947 – YouTube
00:12 Rod Serling – Intro – UFOs: It Has Begun (1979)
00:13 The Orb – Vuja De – The Dream
00:14 Kenneth Arnold – Discusses his sighting, 1947 – YouTube
00:16 Rod Serling – The Chiles-Whitted Sighting – UFOs: It Has Begun (1979)
00:18 Frank Stranges – Flying Saucers Unlimited [excerpt] – Flying Saucers Unlimited 7 in.
00:25 Pulse Emitter – Eagle Nebula – Cosmic Images
00:26 Burgess Meredith – The Lonnie Zamora Sighting – UFOs: It Has Begun (1979)
00:28 Rev. O.W. – Bud Spriggs – Side one [excerpt] – The Bible And Flying Saucers
00:31 Ursula Bogner – Pulsation – Recordings 1969-1988
00:33 The Space Walkers – Swamp Gas – Twisted Tales From The Vinyl Wastelands Vol. 1
00:36 Sidney Ester – U.F.O. On Farm Road 318 – Twisted Tales From The Vinyl Wastelands Vol. 6
00:38 The Cramps – Mystery Plane – Songs the Lord Taught Us
00:41 Klaatu – Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft – Klaatu (3:47 E.S.T.)
00:47 Long John Nebel – The Flying Saucer Story, Pt. 1 [excerpt]10 – 48
00:48 Pulse Emitter – Triangulum Galaxy – Cosmic Images
00:51 Rev. Bud O.W. Spriggs – Side one [excerpt] – The Bible And Flying Saucers
00:54 The Stunning Rayguns – and the west sinks into the sun [excerpt] – The Stunning Rayguns
00:56 John Newland/Lee Spiegel – Intro/Beyond the Unknown – UFOs: The Credibility Factor
00:59 The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom, Pt. 1 [excerpt] – My Kingdom – EP
01:01 Jack Jenkins – Do They Or Don’t They Exist? – File #733 U.F.O.
01:06 John Newland/Lee Spiegel – J. Allen Hynek – UFOs: The Credibility Factor
01:08 The Orb – U.F.Orb – U.F.Orb
01:12 John Newland/Lee Spiegel – Astronaut Sightings – UFOs: The Credibility Factor
01:13 Pink Floyd – Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun – A Saucerful of Secrets
01:18 Voivod – Astronomy Domine – Nothing Face
01:22 Steve Hillage – Activation/The Glorious Om Riff – Green
01:24 John Newland/Lee Spiegel – Herbert Schirmer Abduction – UFOs: The Credibility Factor
01:30 Jack Jenkins – The Case of the Persistent Saucers – File #733 U.F.O.
01:32 Guitar Wolf – Teenage UFO – Jet Generation
01:33 The Rezillos – Flying Saucer Attack – Can’t Stand the Rezillos – The (Almost) Complete Rezillos
01:36 Wanda – Star Williams – Mr. U.F.O. – Mr. U.F.O. 7 in.
01:40 Divination – Seven Heavens – Ambient Dub Volume I
01:43 Jack Jenkins – Science and the Saucers – File #733 U.F.O.
01:46 Craig Leon – Four Eyes To See The Afterlife [excerpt] – Nommos
01:49 John Newland/Lee Spiegel – Betty and Barney Hill – UFOs: The Credibility Factor
01:52 Man or Astro-Man? – Alien Visitors – Is It… Man Or Astro-Man?
01:56 John Newland/Lee Spiegel – Outro – UFOs: The Credibility Factor
01:57 Starlight Children’s Chorus – Outro: E.T., I Love You – E.T., I Love You and Other Extraterrestrial Songs