Thursday, July 30, 2009

UFO: The Motion Picture Script (Part 7)

Still fielding questions about UFO sightings at Air Materiel Command, Chop is surprised to learn that Col. Searles at the Pentagon has requested that he join his staff in Washington. Anticipating a normal life on the Air Force press desk, Chop, to his chagrin, is assigned to unidentified flying objects because of his experience in dealing -- skeptically -- with the matter ("I was back in the flying saucer business").

In the script and movie, there's a brief segment where Chop (Towers) plays with his little son on a lawn outside their house near Washington, and the two are throwing a ball back and forth. Nothing remarkable occurs here, but of passing interest is the narration where Towers mentions his son's deafness since infancy. Penciled in is the phrase, "in one ear," and obviously Chop himself had asked for the correction, which made it to final production.

It is also apparent that extensive changes occurred on pages 42, 43 and 44 of the script because new pages were substituted, and just at the point where Chop is confronted with an issue of LIFE Magazine boasting the explosive headline, "THERE IS A CASE FOR INTERPLANETARY SAUCERS," the word OMIT is typed repeatedly after what would have been scenes 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97 and 98. I doubt -- but wonder anyway -- whether any of this had to do with a possible conflict over the original (real) cover of LIFE which showed Marilyn Monroe on the cover, because in the movie a cover photo of President Harry Truman was substituted. Whether this was done to give the scene more of an official and important flavor, or whether there existed competing movie studio conflicts over publicizing Monroe in a United Artists (with whom she was not under contract) motion picture , we will probably never know. I opt for the latter explanation.

With both LIFE and LOOK hitting newsstands from coast to coast, featuring everything from high-ranking witness interviews to a map of UFO sightings, the public becomes very anxious about "saucers," and a statement by U.S. Air Force General Hoyt Vandenberg is recounted in the film. However, the original script included an extra statement by Vandenberg, excluded from the movie. The narrator, quoting Vandenberg, is heard to say: "The Air Force is interested in anything that takes place in the air. This includes the aerial phenomenon commonly known as flying saucers. Many of these incidents have been satisfactorily explained. Others have not." Missing from the filmed narration were the intended words, "With the present world unrest, we cannot afford to be complacent."

Project Grudge is expanded and its name changed to Blue Book, and we are shown a chart designating the involvement of such principals as Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt (project chief) and Maj. Dewey J. Fournet (project monitor).