Project Blue Book: The 1970s TV series called something else.

Updates:

  • 5-20-2022: IMDB, blogs and other sites with comments all seem to have folks reporting that this was called “Project Blue Book” when they saw it. I have also found one reference to it being called that for the United Kingdom release. If anyone can find proof it was ever called that in the U.K. or anywhere else, please leave a comment. Until then, I guess this is just a mass false memory/Mandela Effect…
  • Here is a 2012 blog post about the subject: http://space1970.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-project-ufo-1978-mystery.html

I have memories of watching a late-1970s TV series called Project Blue Book. This would have been how I first learned about the government’s actual investigation in to U.F.O.s. Here is the wikipedia entry about the real government project:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Blue_Book

Not too long ago I saw something about a new TV series called Project Blue Book and I had wondered if it was a remake/reboot of the 1970s one. I have yet to see any of the episodes, but here is the wikipedia entry about this TV series:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Blue_Book_(TV_series)

I have certainly heard much more about the real Project Blue Book over the years, thanks to seeing the occasional show about U.F.O.s. When it was brought up, I always through about that 1970s TV series.

As far as the series goes, I don’t remember much about the actual episodes, except it seemed they were always debunked by the end of the show. I remember one that shared the story of how a U.F.O. blasted the hood of a car. By the end of the series, it was declared a hoax, and they showed that the burn marks on the hood had been made with a road flare or something like that.

So why this post now?

The other day, I saw a reference on Mastadon to “project bluebeam” — whatever that was. I wanted to respond with a link to the TV series for Project Blue Book, and make a reference to “liking the original project better.”

There is indeed a wikipedia entry for the TV series I was remembering, except it was listed as Project U.F.O. — which I had never heard of. It did include a note:

Also known asProject Blue Book (in some countries)
-wikipedia entry for Project U.F.O.

…and the wikipedia page for “Project Blue Book (TV Series)” goes to a page about the new series.

Apparently Project U.F.O. must have been used outside of the U.S.A. Or not.

A quick YouTube search led me to a copy of the show, recorded over the air from a Chicago, Illinois TV station:

As soon as the video began, I remembered that opening sentence about Ezekial and the wheel. (You know, that passage in the bible about him seeing a U.F.O. We can discuss the passage in the bible that discusses the unicorn sometime, as well…)

This informed me that at least in Chicago, the show aired as Project U.F.O. (and I noticed the intro did not make any reference to Project Blue Book).

Asking around (online), I found folks who grew up on other parts of the U.S.A. that also saw it as Project Blue Book.

I am posting this here to see if any of my U.S.A. readers were old enough to have seen this show, and could tell me what it was called where you saw it (and please let me know where you saw it).

It’s interesting thinking about a show airing in different regions using different titles.

UPDATE: Looks like others saw it air at Project Blue Book. Look at he IMDB reviews…

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077065/reviews?ref_=tt_ov_rt

To be continued…

19 thoughts on “Project Blue Book: The 1970s TV series called something else.

  1. Jerry Stratton

    I’m pretty sure it was Project U.F.O. when I saw it in West Michigan. And I remember the Jack Webb voiceover! Haven’t thought about that show in years.

    I had Hynek’s UFO Experience and UFO Report books, so I’m pretty sure I would have recognized it as a thinly disguised Project Blue Book, too.

    Reply
    1. Allen Huffman Post author

      The more feedback I get here, and on REDDIT, and the more this seems like a Mandela Effect. No one has yet to find any proof it was ever called Project Blue Book. There is that reference on the Wikipedia page, and that’s all I can find so far other than a bunch of us remembering it as that name.

      Reply
    2. Allen Huffman Post author

      I’ve found some TV listing websites (including Wikipedia) from 1978-1979 that all say Project U.F.O. But it’s funny – any spot I’ve found that’s comments always has people correcting the article saying the actual name was Project Blue Book.

      Reply
  2. MiaM

    I know exactly nothing about that TV series in particular, but a qualified guess is that not that many would had recorded it on video tape at home and kept the tapes if it aired in the late 70’s. Sure, home video recorders were around at the time and some people might had taped it, but given the higher prices of both the recorders and the tapes then as compared to whenever they did a rerun, what you find online are likely reruns.

    So, they could had changed the name of the series for whatever reason. I don’t know that much about trademark rules in the USA but they seem rather strict when it comes to things that are dealing with similar stuff. Sure, a TV show and a government report is far from the same thing, but the government might had had some objections?

    Compare with the dutch company Philips who weren’t allowed to use that name as an already existing company called Philco objected, and they both produced and sold consumer electronics. To me this sounds rather far fetched as the name aren’t that similar,so if they got away with that complaint then someone might had gotten away with a similar complaint about the tv series.

    Or it might simply be as simple as that the general public would had forgotten the government report when it was time for a rerun, and they opted for a more catchy name?

    I don’t know how hard it is to gain access to archives of old newspapers. I would assume that there would had been listings for all tv programs in the newspapers back in the days. If you could generally pinpoint approximately when the show was aired I would guess that you would have a good chance of finding the title if you have a look at each day for one week of any newspaper, and if you don’t find it just go for another week some weeks apart, and perhaps avoid weeks where programs would be different due to something special like superbowl, thanksgiving and whatnot.

    Reply
    1. Allen Huffman Post author

      I actually JUST went searching for a TV Guide issue from 1978. I didn’t find one, but I found several other sites, including a Wikipedia entry about the 1978-1979 TV season, and they all say Project U.F.O. I’d really like to find TV Guide, since it was customized for each city/market, as it contained listings for local independent stations.

      But for now, beyond one Wikipedia reference, and reading a blog that said in the U.K. It was known as Project Blue Book, it looks like there is no actual evidence it ever was called Project Blue Book.

      I did not realize this was going to send me down a rabbit hole.

      (Amusingly, every place I end up about the show where there are comments always has folks correcting the article giving the “actual” title of the show as Project Blue Book ;)

      Reply
      1. Jerry Stratton

        The TV Guide Fall Preview is your best bet, as they were slightly collectible. I used to save them—we didn’t have a subscription, but I specifically purchased the Fall Preview on the newsstand. Sadly, I only have 1976, 1977, and 1984 still.

        I do see some 1978 Fall Previews on eBay, but none of them with interior photos of the listings, just the highlights. I wouldn’t be surprised if used bookstores and antique stores have old Fall Previews (as well as other old TV Guides).

        Reply
          1. Allen Huffman Post author

            I’m also trying to find what the UK used, since one reference says UK title was Project Blue Book. Unfortunately, searching for that is impossible on YouTube since that History channel show has taken over all the search results.

  3. Jerry Stratton

    Here’s something: an eBay listing for the September 16-22 1978 TV Guide for (probably) the Lincoln, Nebraska viewing area. One of the images is the “1978-79 New Season Prime-Time Schedule” and “Project U.F.O.” is listed for Thursday nights at 8.

    Assuming that it was on Thursday night for the second half of the 1977-78 season, it replaced a show I do not remember at all, “James at 16”, which you can see in one of the photos from this eBay listing for the February 4-10 1978 TV Guide also from the Lincoln, Nebraska area (it’s the same seller, which is not surprising as most sellers don’t photograph their magazines/cookbooks well. One that does stands out).

    Reply
      1. Jerry Stratton

        From what little I know of the television industry, I do find “Project Blue Book” to be an unlikely name. Outside of UFO aficionados like teenage me, “Blue Book” was not commonly associated with UFOs. It could easily have been confused with either the Kelly Blue Book, which people used regularly, or blue laws. Whereas everyone knew what a U.F.O. was even if they didn’t know what it stood for.

        If would be like naming your Martian adventure movie “John Carter”. No one’s going to know what it’s about except a handful of nerds…

        Reply
        1. Allen Huffman Post author

          I had never heard of it, either. It was this show that first introduced me to Project Blue Book. It’s weird we don’t all just call it UFO or The UFO Show if we don’t know the real title. But there was already an earlier show called UFO, which I am aware of but have never watched.

          Reply
  4. Jerry Stratton

    The UK guides appear to have been Radio Times and TV Times. Radio Times appears to me to be more comprehensive, but not knowing the market well it’s hard to say. I was unable to find a reference to either Project U.F.O. or Project Blue Book on eBay.uk, but without knowing what time it aired, or even what year it aired, in the UK, it’s a more difficult search.

    A generic search for “Radio Times” and “Project U.F.O.” found this blog post about Radio Times collectors and a passing reference to Project U.F.O.: “the absolute and almost inconceivably exotic researching holy grail was access to back issues of Radio Times and TV Times. Definitive, unarguable records of what had been on radio and TV, who had appeared in and made it, and where and when it went out, and all of it without having to wade through interminable wittering about Project UFO first. Of course, if for some strange reason you did want to know about the UK transmissions of Project UFO, then you could find them in there too, but that’s by the by.”

    Radio Times does have an entry for a 1978 Project U.F.O.. Their Project Blue Book entry only mentions the 2019 series. That’s hardly definitive—it may have pulled the title from a database outside the UK.

    And finally, when Mad Magazine wanted to make fun of the show, they used the title Project UFO.

    Reply
    1. Allen Huffman Post author

      Great research! It is seeming more and more unlikely that Project Blue Book was ever the title anywhere. There was a claim that in Jack Webb’s official biography the show is referred to as Project Blue a book. I found a searchable version on Google and that does not appear in the book, but Project U.F.O. does.

      This is an example of tremendously poor marketing, when folks don’t even know the name of the show they are watching. I can see folks just not remembering a title and saying “the show with the red swimsuits on the beach” to describe Baywatch, but I’ve never heard anyone refer to Star Trek as Enterprise or Federation of Planets. (And those terms where said often in episodes, and Star Trek not.)

      I need to watch a few full episodes and see how often Blue Book comes up, and is shown or said by that title. But man, right off the top is HUGE letters for PROJECT UFO so that’s kind of hard to miss.

      Reply
    2. Jerry Stratton

      Thought I was finished searching, but it occurred to me I hadn’t done a search on TV Times (as opposed to Radio Times) and Project UFO/Blue Book. That brought up a page on televisionau.com for February, 1980, in New South Wales showing Project U.F.O. airing at 5:25 in Tamworth/Taree and at 5:20 in Coffs Harbour/Lismore on February 23, 1980, a Saturday.

      Their article on the January 27-February 2 1979 TV Times mentions a “Project UFO” as a “returning US series”.

      These listings have it showing up at various times in Queensland, Sydney, Western Australia, and Victoria:

      Monday 31 December 1979 5 PM Queensland
      Saturday 26 January 1980 6:30 PM Sydney
      Sunday 17 February 1980 4 PM Queensland
      Tuesday 15 April 1980 9:50 PM Western Australia
      Monday 18 January 1982 5:15 PM Victoria

      Always as “Project UFO”. I was unable to find a mention of “Project Blue Book” via a Google search limited to televisionau.com.

      Reply
  5. Todd Reese

    I’m feeling like this is a new Mandela effect thing going on… because I distinctly remember the name in the USA as Project Blue Book.

    I was 14 at the time and gave definite memories of watching the show and remembering it as Project Blue Book.

    I will also go to my grave knowing that despite what anyone says now, DOLLY HAD BRACES.

    Reply
    1. Allen Huffman Post author

      When I fell down the Mandela Effect rabbit hole, the main reason was running in to an article about “the painting of King Henry that never existed.” When I read the article, I knew exactly the portrait they meant. As I was getting in to Renaissance festivals back in the 90s, someone explained to me how inappropriate turkeys were since they didn’t exist in England until they were brought over much later. They told me one theory about why some may think they did was a portrait showing the king holding a turkey leg. I was told it was probably some lamb or other type of meat. I remember seeing that painting, online somewhere in the early dialup internet. But … even though it’s parodied everywhere.

      Reply

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