Mysteries From Beyond Earth (1975)

“This movie will salt your buns…in the good way,” proclaims Prof. Swift of the Journal of the Franklin Institute. And, really, don’t argue with Prof. Swift, just take the time to salt your buns.

I am one heck of a fan of the 1970s documentaries (and faux docs) about UFOs, Bigfoot, Psychic Phenomena and all that. Give me a bit on Kirlian Photography and I smile. In Search Of is a favorite show of mine. I love the speculation and, most of all, the willingness of (it seemed) everybody at that time trying so hard to believe in or find evidence of things beyond what we see and know. As you might guess, this site being what it is, sometimes we love the wackier members of these august fraternities. The Force Beyond wows us continually. Overlords Of The UFOs is just a swell time. And, this one…

Mysteries From Beyond Earth keeps to a very level-headed keel. Our host is a rather bemused fellow with some nice facial hair and, I think, a charming ascot. He’s got a good speaking voice and only occasionally makes a face like “What the hell did I just say about the Skunk Ape?” Certainly he seems more adept at this than the rather nutty guy from Overlords or “Big” Donn Davison. Calmly and assuredly, our host begins talking about UFOS…and, for a while, I believed that this would be a fun 94-minute long romp through the world of UFO sightings. I expected to see the same pictures and, maybe, see some of the same experts I’d seen before.

Then, they started talking about Atlantis…Sure. Why not? Then, ancient astronauts. Then, the Egyptian Pyramids…the Bimini Wall…Easter Island…the Bermuda Triangle…Ghosts…(Ghosts?)…ESP and telepathy…Kirlian Photography…Plant Auras…Witches…Satanists…Bigfoot…Cloning…Cryogenics…black holes…the Hollow Earth thoery…back to UFOS…and then…

This film is the Cliff Notes version of In Search Of. Every few minutes they cut to the host and he says something like “UFOs are fascinating…Just like what scientists claim they can do to prolong life…” Cryogenics. I had no idea that this film was going to be so lousy with speculation. UFOS and aliens keep coming up but the actual UFO stuff is only about a third of this. I sat there with the widest of smiles on my face trying to guess where we would go next. At one point, I stretched and yawned…When I looked back at the screen, they were talking about Bigfoot (that darn Skunk Ape!). I missed the segue!

We skip fast, like a rock across the water, past all the great weird hang-ups of the 70s and, surprisingly, the host keeps us calm and somehow keeps it from being absolute insanity. In fact, his closing moments are quite lovely. I would have liked to have seen this become a TV show.

Two strange things occurred in and around my viewing:

Watched The Quisenberry Scream on Saturday. Loving it and, as always, trying to pinpoint what is going on…Then, Mysteries discussed the Hollow Earth Theory and compasses going crazy was mentioned. And, I suddenly realized what Woody Strode’s character and “The Captain” were and it all made sense.

I kept thinking that the host reminded me quite a bit of Jack Cassidy. So, my mind scanned the Columbo episodes I knew him from but couldn’t quite pin down what performance I was thinking of. Later that day, I watched “The Return Of The Ancient Mariner” episode of Get Smart and Jack is in it. He plays the faux-fey interior designer Mr. Bob and I said “That’s what I was thinking of!”

Come on, those things are almost weird! It’s like there is “Something Weird” and then “Almost Weird.”

From the Archives