One of my friends, prolific author Jim Beard, has been documenting (via social media) his episode-by-episode viewing of the old Gerry Anderson show, UFO. When I was a kid, it was a favorite. They re-ran this British series on Saturdays in syndication, and my brother and I loved it. UFO detailed the efforts the efforts of a secret organization called S.H.A.D.O. and their clandestine efforts to save the world from an ever-imminent alien invasion.
There’s so much to like about this 70s show!
- There were cool vehicles (submarines, jets, tanks and even spaceships) they’d employ every episode (who cared if it was always the same stock footage shots).
- It was set in the “future” – in the 1980s! And the future never looked better with the cool cars, slick hairstyles, and engaging “at work” attire. (The women’s work attire is a bit prurient, to be fair.) And they even got some of it right. Various episodes explored the reliance on computers, wireless communications, the frustrations of bureaucracy and fingerprint/voiceprint databases.
- The brilliant theme song by Barry Gray was like no other. It’s an engaging, swinging call to arms, heralding the idea that “now we’re going to get down to business!”
Let the Music Be Your Guide
The theme song always stuck with me. A few years ago, when I was working for the Reed Elsevier division that would become ReedPop (the group that manages New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comic-Con, PAX and more), I was attending a business meeting in Berlin. I don’t speak German, but prior to the trip I had been diligently listening to language tapes. The idea was to try and absorb some of the simple phrases that would facilitate rudimentary communication.
One night, walking back to my hotel, I heard a familiar song. It was a funky variant of the UFO Theme song! Like Ulysses being lured by a siren call, I followed the music to an urban park where an outside bar had created a “pop-up shop”, complete with a DJ. Our mutual appreciation of, and passion for, the UFO theme song allowed me to communicate with, and be accepted by, the locals. I guess I didn’t need those language tapes after all. Continue reading “With Further Ado #130: Unidentified Flying Obsession”