PROJECT BLUE BOOK – Season 1 Episode 3 – SPOILERS
Someone is following Mimi and not being at all surreptitious about it. A guy with his hat pulled down over his eyes turns up at the hardware store as Mimi is attempting to buy a pre-fab bomb shelter, and appears again later, standing in front of the Hynek residence while Mimi and Susie are assembling the shelter the next day. He gives the impression tha he wants to talk to Mimi privately. He does not telephone her, so he might be aware that Susie’s associate had bugged the place earlier.
When Susie (Ksenia Solo) visits Mimi this time she does not use the doorbell, but instead noisily rattles the doorknob as though expecting the door to be unlocked. The two women apologize to each other and are friends again. Mimi (Laura Mennell) says the reason she abandoned Susie at the beatnik club was because if she were seen there it might cause problems for her husband. Susie demonstrates some carpentry skills as she helps Mimi build that bomb shelter, and we learn a little about her “My father always wanted a son,” she tells Mimi. “I never volunteered, but he made sure I knew how to swing a hammer.”
We get to hear some of the fearmongering that led up to American involvement in Korea and precipitated the anti-Soviet paranoia that made people like Mimi and her neighbour Donna (Heather Doerksen) seek comfort in relatively useless bomb shelters. (Even Mimi’s son Joel asks if they will need to get special suits to protect against radiation.) The increase in UFO sightings in the Cold War era might be a result of this paranoia combined with the increasing popularity of science fiction. People tend to give familiar explanations to things they cannot explain. Many of the UFO’s reported in the last three decades of the 19th Century were described as large airships illuminated with electric lights and powered by propellers.
Meanwhile, Hynek (Aidan Gillen) and Quinn (Michael Malarkey) have been called to Lubbock, Texas to investigate mysterious lights that flew in formation over the city leaving power blackouts and other mysterious occurrences in their wake. Both of the men see the Lubbock Lights for themselves, and experience their effects.
Once they return to Washington, the generals try to feed them a story about a top-secret, experimental aircraft, but Hynek doesn’t buy it. At this point, one wonders why they just didn’t give Hynek clearance to know what they know. They must be up to something bad, and it is suggested (by a member of the President’s cabinet) that the President doesn’t know about it.
When the Lubbock County Sheriff’s nephew tips off a tabloid reporter about the Lubbock sightings, he makes passing mention of Thomas Mantell, a real-life Air National Guard pilot who died when his plane crashed after he gave chase to a UFO. Mantell’s encounter happened over Kentucky on 7 January 1948. The Gorman dogfight happened nearly ten months later, so it is surprising that Mantell was not mentioned in the first episode. (Mantell’s UFO was, like Gorman’s, dismissed as a weather balloon.)
The power outages and other UFO effects the show describes may or may not have accompanied the Lubbock Lights, but such thing did happen elsewhere. Here’s an excerpt from the testimony of University of Arizona physicist Dr. James E. MacDonald before the House Committee on Science and Astronautics in July, 1968. Asked if there were other events frequently related to UFO sightings, MacDonald said: “Yes. Certainly there are many physical effects. For instance, in Mr. Pettis’ district, several people found the fillings in their mouth hurting while this object was nearby, but there are many cases probably on record of car ignition failure. One famous case was at Levelland, TX, in 1957. Ten vehicles were stopped within a short area, all independently in a 2-hour period, near Levelland, TX…UFO’s have often been seen hovering near power facilities. There are a small number but still a little too many to seem pure fortuitous chance, of system outages, coincident with the UFO sighting. One of the cases was Tamaroa, IL. Another was a case in Shelbyville, KY early last year.” Levilland, Texas is 50 kilometers due west of Lubbock.
Steven Williams (Nate) is a VA Janitor in Dan Gilroy‘s horror thriller VELVET BUZZSAW, set in the contemporary art scene of Los Angeles, where art collides with commerce. Things start to go awry after a series of paintings are found in a dead hermit’s apartment. Soon they become all the rage, until they begin to reveal their supernatural powers, and exact revenge on those who have allowed greed to get in the way of art. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Toni Collette, and will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on 27 January. VELVET BUZZSAW will be on Netflix worldwide on 1 February. (In Germany the title will be “Die Kunst des toten Mannes“.) A trailer is available on YouTube.
Heather Doerksen (Donna) has an as yet unspecified role in LOVE YOU TO DEATH, the tale of a stormy mother/daughter relationship that ends in a brutal murder. Camile (Marcia Gay Harden) appears to others as the perfect caretaker and mother for her sickly, wheelchair-bound daughter Esme (Emily Skeggs), until Camile is found stabbed to death in her home, and Esme has vanished, believed to have been kidnapped by the killer. Tate Donovan will play Esme’s estranged father Travis, who tries to reconnect with his daughter despite Camile’s objections. Inspired by the true story of Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy Rose Blanchard, LOVE YOU TO DEATH will premiere 26 January at 8/7c on Lifetime.
Stephanie Bennett (Leigh-Ann) is Shay Michaels in VALENTINE IN THE VINEYARD, the second sequel to AUTUMN IN THE VINEYARD, in which Frankie (Rachel Leigh Cook) and Nate (Brendan Penny), who have just gotten engaged, find out that Frankie’s cousin Lexi (Tegan Moss) is getting married to Nate’s brother Marco (Marcus Rosner) on Valentine’s Day. Agreeing to keep the plans a secret, Frankie and Nate offer to host Lexi and Marco’s wedding. VALENTINE IN THE VINEYARD will premiere on The Hallmark Channel on Saturday 2 February at 8/7c.