; Phantoms and Monsters - Real Cryptid Encounter Reports - Fortean Researcher Lon Strickler

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

God’s Celestial Ambassador: The Life and Times of Dr. Frank E. Stranges - Part XXXIV

God’s Celestial Ambassador: The Life and Times of Dr. Frank E. Stranges - Part XXXIV

By Raymond A. Keller, PhD, a.k.a. “Cosmic Ray,” the author of the international awards-winning Venus Rising Series, published by Headline Books and available on Amazon.com, while supplies last.

Venus Rising: A Concise History of the Second Planet

Final Countdown: Rockets to Venus

The Vast Venus Conspiracy

Lady Columba Venus Revelations

Flying Saucers and the Venus Legacy

Flying Saucers- Here and Now

Having enjoyed some degree of success in the production of movie documentaries covering the subject of UFOs, Dr. Frank E. Stranges and his technically proficient staff at the headquarters of the National Investigations Committee on UFOs (NICUFO), of which he was the director, turned their attention to the world of television.  With NICUFO’s center of operations located at 7970 Woodman Ave. in Van Nuys, California, the organization’s personnel were perfectly situated insofar as establishing contacts in the multimedia universe of movies and television, with the locus of entertainment decisions being made in nearby Hollywood. 

Handsome actor Roy Thinnes portrays UFO hunter David Vincent on Quinn Martin’s The Invaders TV program (1967-1968).   The initial popularity of The Invaders fictional television program inspired NBC executives to bet on a series involving real UFO sightings and encounters.

Within one year of the premiere of Phenomena 7.7, the NICUFO crew were wrapping up the filming of a new television show on UFOs, which was to be called Flying Saucers- Here and Now.  The success of the fictional ABC television program, The Invaders, starring the handsome Roy Thinnes as UFO hunter David Vincent, inspired Dr. Frank to move ahead with the production of his non-fictional Flying Saucers episodes, sensing that there was a definite market for television coverage of the real UFO phenomenon.  

The taping for the first year’s episodes took place in Southern California throughout 1967.  With one season already in the can, Dr. Frank, with the help of Dr. Don Cooper, a Southern California bank president and member of the NICUFO Board of Advisors, negotiated the purchase of his program for syndication by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), which in early May of 1968 placed it in a number of TV stations throughout the United States.  Production of the program for a second season was moved to Chicago, Illinois, in the studios of the NBC affiliate, WMAQ, Channel 5, which is one of the oldest stations in the United States, having been on the air since 1948.  

Ufologists Contacted

While the first season largely focused on UFO sightings, contacts and personalities in the Southern California area, Dr. Frank was reaching out to others in the ufology community worldwide.  One of the first ufologists to appear on his program in the second season was Gray Barker of Clarksburg, West Virginia, the author of many books concerning UFO mysteries as well as the editor of the highly respected Saucer News.  Barker was flown out to Chicago where all of his hotel expenses and meals were covered by Dr. Frank E. Stranges, who conducted all of the interviews on the Flying Saucers program.  

In his letter of invitation to Gray Barker dated 8 May 1968, Dr. Frank wrote, “I want to do everything in my power to help all of the researchers in the field (of ufology) to get their point across.”  He then went on to congratulate Barker on his new undertaking with Saucer News, having just retaken control of it from James W, Moseley, whom Barker worked with in organizing various conventions of the Congress of Scientific Ufologists.  

Moseley was the first editor and publisher of Saucer News; and editorial control of the periodical moved back and forth between him and Gray Barker.  Establishing a connection with Barker was one of the best moves made by Dr. Frank.  Apart from Major Donald E. Keyhoe and his National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) in Washington, D.C., that wanted nothing to do with Dr. Frank or other so-called “contactees,” Gray Barker and his operations at the Saucerian Press in Clarksburg, WV, and his Saucer News, had established the largest network of active ufologists on the planet.  Anyone who was considered an expert of any kind when it came to UFOs was connected to Gray Barker and the Saucerian Press in one way or another.  Therefore, Dr. Frank had tapped into an endless supply of lively and controversial speakers for him to engage on his Flying Saucers- Here and Now television program. 

From Keller Venus Files:  Promotional ideas worked on by Cy Newman of Newman-Lamb Advertising of Indianapolis, Indiana, for Dr. Frank E. Stranges’ new television show, Flying Saucers Here and Now (1968 Chicago premiere).

Production Efforts

Dr. Frank and his NICUFO team joined up with Cy Newman and H. D. Productions, Inc., of Granada Hills, California, in moving out to Chicago and producing the controversial and intriguing television series on UFOs.  Advertisements issued by NBC promoting the program touted Flying Saucers- Here and Now as “the most unusual, unique television series ever produced.  There has never been another series like it.”

The name of the program, Flying Saucers- Here and Now, was obtained from the title of the late Mutual Broadcasting Company journalist Frank Allyn Edward’s last published book (New York:  Lyle Stuart, 1967).  Frank A. Edwards was an American writer and pioneer radio broadcaster. He hosted a radio show broadcast across the United States since the 1940s until the time of his death. Late in his life, he also became well known for a series of popular books about UFOs and other kinds of paranormal phenomena.  He worked closely with Major Keyhoe and NICAP; therefore, it was puzzling to most of the more conservative ufologists that his complete published and unpublished UFO files, comprising the largest independent ufology library in the world, were bequeathed to Dr. Frank E. Stranges and NICUFO for the production of this television series.  

It seems that Edwards had a change of mind about the contactees before he passed on, thus breaking with the intransigent policy of Keyhoe and NICAP.  From Edwards’ extensive files, background material was obtained to produce 39 different half-hour programs, in color, being organized and written by Al Bland of Functional Media, Inc., of Chicago and produced in the NBC Chicago studios in conjunction with H. D. Productions, Inc., of California.  Dr. Frank E. Stranges, the internationally known UFO author, lecturer and documentary motion picture producer, served as host of the program, interviewing guests who were noted specialists in various fields of UFO research and even individuals who claim to have seen, photographed and even flown as passengers onboard the flying saucers.  Newman-Lamb of Indianapolis, Indiana, was the program’s advertising agency.

At the start of August 1968, with the new season of NBC television programs, Flying Saucers- Here and Now premiered at the National Association of Broadcasters’ convention then being held in Chicago.

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(Editor’s Note:  For background information concerning the ongoing battle between NICAP and NICUFO, stay tuned to this column where Cosmic Ray reveals correspondence from some of the key players opining about the production of this unique television series. - Lon) 

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Mothman / Winged Humanoids Roundtable - Investigators & Researchers - PM Radio

Phantoms & Monsters Radio welcomes Mothman / winged humanoids investigators & researchers Tobias Wayland, Manuel Navarette, & Travis Shortt.

Tobias Wayland is a passionate fortean who has been actively investigating the unusual for over a decade; the first several years of his investigative career were spent as a MUFON field investigator, and following that he investigated independently prior to becoming the head writer and editor for the Singular Fortean Society. Tobias is a frequent guest on various podcasts and radio shows, has contributed to several books on the paranormal, and is often invited to speak at paranormal conferences and events. He was also featured in the Small Town Monsters documentary 'Terror in the Skies' and the series premiere of Expedition X for his work investigating Mothman sightings around Lake Michigan. He and his wife Emily have been involved with the Lake Michigan Mothman investigation since its advent in the spring of 2017, and recently published a book chronicling the experience, 'The Lake Michigan Mothman: High Strangeness in the Midwest.'

His years as an investigator have served him best by illustrating that when it comes to the anomalous, the preternatural, and the paranormal, any answers he's found are still hopelessly outnumbered by questions.

The Singular Fortean Society - www.singularfortean.com

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Manuel Navarette is the founder and curator of UFO Clearinghouse and an active paranormal investigator. He is currently one of the chief investigators of the Chicago / Lake Michigan Mothman phenomenon (along with Lon Strickler and Tobias Wayland) and a member of the Phantom and Monsters Fortean Research Team. Manuel has been interested in the paranormal since the age of 17 and has had multiple sightings of UFO’s and recently of a winged humanoid at Chicago O’Hare Airport. The website he founded, UFO Clearinghouse is a website dedicated and committed to providing the most up to date information on recent UFO sightings, reported alien abductions, and cryptid sightings. It is designed as a place where information can be freely exchanged and accessed by paranormal researchers and investigators for the reason of furthering the search for the truth.

UFO Clearinghouse - ufoclearinghouse.wordpress.com

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Travis Shortt is a native of Virginia.  He trained and served earlier in life as an ordained minister before pursuing a career in broadcasting and eventually media relations.  He developed an early interest in the paranormal and supernatural with a zeal for UFO’s, hauntings, and the occult.  He became interested in the events around the Mothman sightings after reading about the original events in a book by Jerome Clark. He, Charlie McCracken, and Matthew Fleming began an in depth investigation in 2003 that culminated in 2009 with the first feature documentary on the topic 'Dark Wings: The Mothman Chronicle.' 

He holds a degree in Communication from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and pursued a Master’s Degree in Theology from Master’s International School of Divinity. He currently serves as Chief Marketing Officer for Vectors Partners, LLC a technology firm in Tennessee and is the founder of Phoenix Publicity, and along with Matthew Fleming, is one of the producers and researchers for 'Dark Wings: The Mothman Chronicle.' From 2006-2009 he served as featured speaker at the Mothman Festival addressing the spiritual and religious implications of the Mothman sightings.

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or by email - Thanks. Lon

Have you had a sighting of a winged humanoid or huge bat-like creature in the Chicago, Illinois metro area / Lake Michigan region? The entity has also been referred to as the 'Chicago Mothman', 'Chicago Owlman' & 'O'Hare Mothman.' - Chicago / Lake Michigan Winged Humanoid Regional Interactive Map - Please feel free to contact me at lonstrickler@phantomsandmonsters.com - your anonymity is guaranteed. Our investigative group is conducting a serious examination of his phenomenon. We are merely seeking the truth and wish to determine what eyewitnesses have been encountering. Your cooperation is truly appreciated.

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