Wednesday, August 5, 2009

UFO: The Motion Picture Script (Part 15)

In the radar room, as up to 14 unknown objects seem to maneuver above Washington, D.C., all personnel are engaged in conversation among themselves and with various pilot and technician voices transmitted via radio. A considerable amount of communication within the radar room seems to have been added later, because it isn't in Tom Towers' copy of the script. I suspect it is, however, available in copies used by other actors.

Without checking line by line through the next several pages of script, but rather by making a general overview, I believe script and movie pretty much connect, perhaps with minor word changes. The only thing causing me to perk up a bit occurs the morning after the pilot of "Red Dog One" (the voice of veteran actor Harry Morgan, best know as Col. Potter on TV's "M*A*S*H"), Lt. William Patterson, visualizes and is surrounded by unknown objects over D.C. The script, unlike the movie, tells us that Chop spoke with Patterson at 6:00 a.m., thus continuing the previous night's drama at a very early hour. The script also notes that by morning, in addition to relentless phone calls, thousands of telegrams had been received at the Pentagon from an anxious and curious public.

Progressing, the script lists the names of various national newspapers whose real headlines about the second wave of Washington UFO encounters will appear to enhance the segment, and the movie includes a montage of front pages.

As Chop (Towers) narrates and informs viewers that a press conference was set up because of intense public interest in the latest UFO story, the script tells us something the movie did not -- that the conference was organized by General Nathan Twining.

The camera dissolves to the press conference, conducted by General John A. Samford, and at this point movie and script take a differing course. While the movie shows only a brief news reel snippet of Samford speaking, the script originally featured questions by reporters, presumably at the actual press conference. "It was the biggest press conference the Air Force had held since the end of World War Two," explains unused narration by Towers, "and the press hammered relentlessly for a clarification of the temperature inversion theory." Capt. Ruppelt offered this explanation personally in a morning phone call to President Truman -- shortly before Ruppelt himself was informed that Lt. William Patterson had actually achieved visual contact with the UFOs, thus throwing the temperature inversion theory seriously into question.