Thursday, May 31, 2018

UFO: The Complete Series

by G. Jack Urso
 


UFO is Gerry Anderson’s 26 episode science fiction series that originally aired from 1970 to 1971 in the United Kingdom and Canada followed by U.S. syndication in 1972 and 1973. Gerry and Sylvia Anderson worked together to create some of the most memorable children’s shows in the U.K., including Supercar (1961-1962), Fireball XL5 (1961-1962), Stingray (1964-1965), Thunderbirds (1965-1966), Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967-1968), and Joe 90 (1968-1969). All the shows are science fiction-based and feature high-quality models as well as the Andersons’ own "Supermarionation" marionette puppetry, lauded at the time, but an antiquated technique compared to today’s digital technology. The complete series is available below from the Aeolus 13 Umbra 2 YouTube channel.

UFO was a radical departure for the Andersons. Not only was it live-action, but the storylines were decidedly adult-oriented. Adultery, murder, betrayal, deception, and relationship problems were all on the table. The decision was also practical as well. Special effects are expensive and time consuming, particularly when models are involved. Dramatic, adult-oriented storylines balanced out the budget; however, they also had the effect of slowing down the action and alienating the Andersons’ young fan base.  

Interceptors ready to launch!
Synopsis 

The action of the series takes place ten years in the then future of 1980. Commander Ed Straker (Ed Bishop, who also had a small part in 2001, A Space Odyssey), with his distinctive styled white hair, turtlenecks, and Nehru jackets, runs SHADO, an alien-fighting organization whose name is an acronym for Supreme Headquarters Alien Defence Organization. As the name alludes to, SHADO operates sub rosa, under the pretense of being a film studio, and in typical “Men in Black” fashion maintains its secrecy at all costs, even if it means risking innocent civilian lives. This is a theme repeated throughout the series and deaths are not infrequent occurrences.

The limitations of the special effects of the times, as well as the cost involved, forced the Andersons to base many of the stories in terrestrial settings with wholly human problems. Paranoia, betrayal, and mistrust are common to many scripts. The endings are often dark with an ambiguous resolution. Permeating everything, however, is the mystery of the aliens themselves. No stories are told from their perspective. We learn very little about them, who they really are, what they call themselves, or their home planet. We know they are desperate and are mining organs from humans to sustain their dying race, but little beyond that is revealed.

 
The aliens breathed an oxygenated green liquid and seldom communicated with humans.
Production Notes

The opening theme by composer Barry Gray is a classic in a genre that can loosely be defined as “Action Jazz” — a tight ensemble with horns and keyboards producing a fast-paced intro grounded with a recurrent melody. The video montage establishes what the series is about and highlights the special effects shots. It’s typical of action shows of the era, such as Mission Impossible, Mannix and, in the successor series to UFO, Space: 1999, whose theme was also composed by Gray. The opening credits are  woven into the early scenes of an episode after the theme, giving time for a slow crawl.  

The closing credits theme to UFO, also by Gray, is an underrated piece deserving of more attention. It is a departure from the other work Gray has done for Anderson. Rather than a fast-paced, action-oriented piece like the intro, it is an ambient sound bed, tinged with a bit of mystery, that slowly builds to a dramatic crescendo.  It is more reminiscent of Brian Eno’s ambient work than a theme for a sci-fi TV series, but it complements the often somber endings.

UFO was also ahead of its time in terms of the social issues dealt with in the scripts. Divorce, drug use, and even interracial relationships turn up. In the episode Computer Affair, the frequently purple-wigged Lt. Gay Ellis (Gabrielle Drake) makes a command decision to save her lover, Lt. Mark Bradley (Harry Baird), at the cost of another man’s life. As Lt. Ellis faces the fallout from her decision, throughout the entire episode the fact she is white and Bradley is black is not even mentioned. In the future, interracial relationships are not an issue. Meanwhile, in the United States, interracial marriage was still illegal in 17 states until 1967, just four years before the airing of this episode.  For the time, the Andersons’ approach to this issue was ground-breaking.

SID — The ever-watchful Space Intruder Detector.
Legacy

Based on initially positive U.S. ratings, the distributor, ITC Entertainment, approved development of a second season, but with the caveat that it take place entirely on the Moon. This was a response to improving the pacing and ratings of the show by shifting the focus to the more popular elements of the series — the spacecraft models and special effects. Unfortunately, U.S. ratings dropped in the second half of season one, which led to ITC cancelling work on season two. The Andersons salvaged their ideas for their new series Space: 1999 (1975-1977). Due to this connection, many fans regard both series as inhabiting the same "universe." The late 1990s and early 2000s saw several efforts to revive the series on TV, and a feature film was under development for a planned 2013 release; however, all these efforts fell through.

The Andersons attention on the series’ overall production design and special effects left an enduring impression on sci-fi. The spacecraft model designs, influenced by 2001, A Space Odyssey, remain highly regarded nearly fifty years later. The adult story content was on a level beyond that of Star Trek and established that both the genre and the Andersons were capable of far more than expected. Nevertheless, the show, caught in the middle-ground between being an action-oriented children's show and an adult-oriented drama, never quite satisfied both.  Another UFO weakness lay in the dialog, which tends to be a bit too expository. While this is a problem endemic to sci-fi as a genre, it slowed down the pacing for the show’s young audience. ITC addressed these problems by requiring the aforementioned move to the Moon for the never-realized second season, which in turn led to the more successful, if equally troubled, Space: 1999.

As Space: 1999 was being cancelled in 1977 Star Wars was just getting started, and the Andersons' previous sci-fi shows soon paled in comparison. Nevertheless, UFO and Space: 1999 set a standard in mature themes, realistic sci-fi modeling, season-long story arcs, and  unified production design for future shows to emulate.  

 


UFO Series Episode Guide
Descriptions by G. Jack Urso. Click on links to view episodes.


SHADO Moonbase — Ready for operations!
Episode 1:  Identified | Original UK Airdate: September 16, 1970 | Production Order: 1

SHADO’s first operation results in capturing an alien and discovering the secret of their existence — transplanted human organs.
 
Episode 2: Exposed | Original UK Airdate: September 23, 1970 | Production Order: 5
Civilian test pilot Paul Foster accidently witnesses a SHADO operation and is given a choice — either join SHADO with their groovy outfits and foxy ladies or die! Hmm . . . what to do . . . what to do . . .
 
Episode 3: The Cat with Ten Lives | Original UK Airdate: September 30, 1970 | Production Order: 19
A cat under control by the aliens puts a SHADO interceptor pilot under a hypnotic spell.
 
Episode 4: Conflict | Original UK Airdate: October 7, 1970| Production Order: 6
After a Lunar Module is destroyed, Shado moves to destroy space junk in Earth orbit.
 
Episode 5: A Question of Priorities | Original UK Airdate: October 14, 1970 | Production Order: 8
Straker must decide whether to use Shado’s resources to investigate an alien defector or deliver life-saving medicine to his hospitalized son.
 
Episode 6: E.S.P. | Original UK Airdate: October 21, 1970 | Production Order: 15
A psychic comes under control by the aliens.
 
Episode 7: Kill Straker! | Original UK Airdate: November 4, 1970 | Production Order: 16
Alien’s use mind control to take over Paul Foster and his lunar module co-pilot, Captain Frank Craig, and order them to assassinate Straker.
 
Episode 8: Sub-Smash | Original UK Airdate:  November 11, 1970 | Production Order: 17
A damaged Skydiver submarine stuck on the bottom of the ocean forces Straker to deal with his claustrophobia.

Skydiver on patrol.
Episode 9: Destruction | Original UK Airdate: December2, 1970 | Production Order: 20

A Royal Navy destroyer dumping highly toxic nerve gas into the sea comes under attack by a UFO that wants to release the gas into the atmosphere.
 
Episode 10: The Square Triangle | Original UK Airdate: December 9, 1970 | Production Order: 11
While tracking down an alien, SHADO uncovers a murder plot. A man and a woman having an affair plan to kill the woman’s husband and make it look like an accident. Straker must decide whether to risk revealing SHADO’s existence, or allowing the lovers to carry out their plan.
 
Episode 11: Close Up |  Original UK Airdate:  December 16, 1970 | Production Order: 13
SHADO sends a satellite to take a close look at the alien home world — too close a look.
 
Episode 12: The Psychobombs | Original UK Airdate: December 30. 1970 | Production Order: 22
A UFO reprograms the minds of three humans, giving them super strength and turning them into bombs.
 
Episode 13: Survival | Original UK Airdate: January 6, 1971 | Production Order: 4
Paul Foster and an alien are stranded on the Moon and the two enemies must work together to survive. 

Straker’s car — Custom-built by  Derek Meddings.
Episode 14: Mindbender | Original UK Airdate: January 13, 1971 | Production Order: 25
An alien crystal causes hallucinations at SHADO HQ, and not even Straker is immune!
 
Episode 15: Flight Path  | Original UK Airdate: January 20, 1971 | Production Order: 3
In an attempt to strike at Moonbase unchallenged, the alien’s use a mind-controlled SHADO operative to feed false data to SID (the Space Intruder Detector).
 
Episode 16: The Man Who Came Back | Original UK Airdate:  February 3, 1971| Production Order: 21
A SHADO pilot disappears while on a mission to repair SID, but later returns — under alien control!
 
Episode 17: The Dalotek Affair | Original UK Airdate:  February 10, 1971| Production Order: 7
The source of communications blackouts at Moonbase are identified as coming from a corporate-owned mining base whose personnel discovered an alien jamming device.
 
Episode 18: Timelash | Original UK Airdate: February 17, 1971 | Production Order: 24
An alien operative uses a device to make time stand still for everyone but Straker and Colonel Lake.
 
Episode 19: Ordeal | Original UK Airdate: April 24, 1971 | Production Order:  9
Paul Foster gets drunk at a party and is abducted by aliens. Foster endures an attempt to transform him into an alien, but is it real? Note: 3:43 to 4:35 muted to remove the Beatles "Get Back" from the soundtrack and avoid a copyright violation.
 
Episode 20: Court Martial | Original UK Airdate:  May 1, 1971 | Production Order: 12
When Col. Paul Foster is identified as the source of a security leak, he is tried and sentenced to death.
 
Episode 21: Computer Affair | Original UK Airdate: May 15, 1971 | Production Order:  2
During an alien attack on Moonbase, Lt. Gay Ellis breaks protocol to save a pilot she is in love with. To prove she is impartial, she must put his life at risk. Note: This is one of the first TV episodes to feature an interracial romance, which is further highlighted by the fact that the race of the two actors is not mentioned nor made a focus of in the story.
 
Episode 22: Confetti Check A-O.K. | Original UK Airdate: July 10, 1971 | Production Order:  14
In this flashback episode, which recalls events shortly after SHADO is set up, Straker is forced to keep secret the alien’s existence from his wife who suspects him of having an affair.
 
Episode 23: The Sound of Silence | Original UK Airdate: July 17, 1971 | Production Order:  18
An investigation into a missing equestrian leads SHADO to the alien who abducted him.
 
Episode 24: Reflections in the Water | Original UK Airdate: July 24, 1971 | Production Order: 23
SHADO discovers an underwater alien base and a plot to create doubles to infiltrate the organization.
 
Episode 25: The Responsibility Seat | Original UK Airdate:  March 8, 1973 | Production Order: 10
While Straker investigates a reporter who planted a listening device in his office, he leaves Col. Alec Freeman in charge, who gains a new appreciation for the decisions Starker makes on a daily basis.
 
Episode 26: The Long Sleep | Original UK Airdate: March 15, 1973 | Production Order: 26
A woman in a coma for ten years suddenly wakes up and reveals that she and a boy she was with witnessed aliens planting a bomb. The boy is back, having not aged a day, and ready to set off the bomb. 

SHADO Moonmobile.
                         
   

Monday, April 30, 2018

Beats on Film: 1959

by G. Jack Urso


The Beat scene is a frequent hang-out for Aeolus 13 Umbra readers (see The Beatnik Café), and the 1959 films A Bucket of Blood and The Bloody Brood exemplify just about every Beat stereotype possible. Both films were released in October 1959, just two years after the publication of the quintessential Beat novel On the Road, by Jack Kerouac, in 1957, and show how quickly Beats captivated pop culture. Both films are available on the Aeolus 13 Umbra YouTube channel and are presented below.

A Bucket of Blood, directed by Roger Corman, is the more noted of the two films. In this movie, the underrated classic character actor Dick Miller plays a dull-witted busboy whose accidental plaster casting of a cat (killing the poor creature in the process) makes him a hit with the hipsters. The café where Morris’ character, Walter Paisley, works makes the perfect venue for a parade of Beat stereotypes complete with a jazz soundtrack, poetry readings, sculpture, berets, and men with beards!  The Beats are presented as narcissistic and self-involved and push Walter into creating more of his deadly masterpieces. At 95 minutes, the action is fast-paced and feels more like a seedy pulp crime novel of the era come to life.
The Bloody Brood is a Canadian film with a young Peter Falk, later better known as the TV detective Colombo, in an early starring role. In this paean to the Beats, the film opens in a Beatnik bar/café with Falk’s character, Nico, musing about what terrible shape the world is in. When an old drunk dies before his eyes, Nico is enthralled and seeks to recreate the experience by lacing the food of an unsuspecting young man with ground glass. The young man’s brother sets out to solve the murder by entering the underground world of the Beats. While Beats get a hard rap in this film, they ultimately help bring Nico to justice — with a special poem of course!

Like A Bucket of Blood, much of the action in The Bloody Brood centers on a Bohemian bar/café filled just about every Beat stereotype. Poetry, art, sculpture, jazz, bongos, hot chicks dancing with wild abandon —The Bloody Brood enthusiastically plunges into the Beat scene. Like Corman’s film, murder is at the center of the film, but whereas A Bucket of Blood has its tongue planted firmly in cheek, The Bloody Brood tackle’s its subject matter with the seriousness of a Perry Mason episode. The opening credits montage is among my favorites examples of photo collages of the period. At 98 minutes, it clocks in only three minutes longer than A Bucket of Blood.

 
A Bucket of Blood and The Bloody Brood are both examples of the film industry feeding off pop culture simultaneously. Both films have similar crime-related Beat plots, similar running times, October release dates, and an alliterative use of words beginning with the letter “B” in its title. While I have a great love for these films as Beat-related oddities, they are also blatant attacks on  what society at the time saw as a threat. Mainstream pop culture took the Beat identity presented in On the Road and transformed it into an exaggerated stereotype that diluted the potency of an important post-war arts and literary  movement. In doing so, however, they leave us with snapshots of the era and give us insight into how society viewed the Beats, and itself, on the eve of the 1960s countercultural revolution an era that the Beats themselves helped birthed.
 
                         
 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB — An Artifact of the Future

by G. Jack Urso


Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB (1967). Written and directed by George Lucas. Starring Dan Nachtsheim as THX 1138 and Joy Carmichael as YYO 7117. Edited by Dan Nachtsheim.

Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB is a 15-minute science fiction film produced by George Lucas in 1967 while he was student at the film school of the University of Southern California (USC). It served as the basis for the full-length 1971 feature film, THX 1138, directed by Lucas and starring Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Maggie McOmie, Don Pedro Colley, and Ian Wolfe. An important and influential film, THX 1138 is a stunning visual masterpiece whose story is told through a series of images with little exposition. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it challenges the viewers’ preconceptions of the narrative and can justifiably be regarded as a work of art. All the basic elements of the 1971 production can be seen in the 1967 student film, provided above from the Aeolus 13 Umbra YouTube channel.

Lucas wrote and produced Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB based on an idea by his USC classmates Walter Murch and Matthew Robinson. The resulting film covers what essentially became the final sequence in THX 1138 — the chase and escape scene. 1967 and 1968 were important years in science fiction. In addition to Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB, the novel Logan’s Run was also released in 1967 followed by the films 2001: A Space Odyssey and Planet of the Apes in 1968. These works show a darker, dystopic view of the future more reflective of the times in which they were produced. As 1967 was considered the “Summer of Love,” the events of 1968 were described by Time magazine as “Nightmares in the Year of the Monkey” (referring to the Chinese Zodiac). The Tet Offensive in Vietnam, the police riot at the Democratic National Convention, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy in 1968 all signaled a downward turn in U.S. history.

Lucas asserts in the documentary Artifact of the Future: The Making of THX 1138, that the film is not about the future, but rather it is a critique about the modern consumer lifestyle. One of the hallmarks of the 1960s counterculture was a criticism of the Western consumer culture that grew after World War II. An increasing uniformity of dress, goods, education, accommodations, and employment was seen as an growing threat to individuality. As Lucas himself calls it, the film is a parable, but the story is told in images, not words. As a result, it lacks the structure of a traditional narrative.  This approach provides a platform for cutting-edge filmmaking.


Trailer for the 1971 feature film.

The abstract nature of the film can be explained, as Walter Murch puts it, as an “artifact of the future.” An artifact from the past, for example a mosaic, may be damaged and have pieces missing. There is nothing to explain what you’re looking at, who the characters are, and what it means. In a similar way, THX-1138 4 EB, and the later feature film, are artifacts of the future. They provide us with a glimpse of the future, but not the complete picture. The viewer becomes an archeologist discovering a lost world, and to that end the act of viewing is no longer passive, it becomes an act of conscious engagement. As a consequence, we are drawn into the film and become more involved in the narrative.

In Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB, Lucas builds a futuristic world by using such locations as the computer center at USC, and the post-modern architecture at a parking lot at UCLA, the Los Angeles International Airport, and the Van Nuys Airport. Like an artifact that only provides a partial image of the past, Lucas only needs to provide a partial image of the future. He doesn’t need to fully define the politics and technology of his future world, he only needs to suggest them. While effective with the THX 1138 concept, this approach had mixed success in Star Wars where the lack of definition of those two elements worked both for and against the first film trilogy. While moving the story along, it also created plot holes and inconsistencies.    


THX-1138 4EB is set in a subterranean post-apocalyptic world where the society is closed and every aspect of life controlled. Individuality is suppressed through uniformity. Everyone dresses the same. There are no names, only numerical designations.  As the 1971 film later portrayed, individuality is further repressed with shaven heads, drugs are used to sublimate sexual desire and improve work performance, and religion is used to maintain conformity. One key plot point in both the 1967 and 1971 films, sometimes overlooked due to the unconventional narrative, is that there are two classes of people: those born in a clinic and those born as the result of a sex act. The “EB” in Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB stands for “ErosBod,” which denotes those born of a sex act (see screen shot, above). EBs are considered inferior to those born in a clinic, or “ClinicBods.” The existence of EBs suggests that the city isn't quite as in command of things as it appears to be. The feature film explores this further by showing malfunctioning robot police, horrific workplace accidents, and other system glitches. Despite the apparent planning and sophistication, the city is breaking down and individuals are a reminder that the machine is broken.

At the start of Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB, we see THX’s mate, YYO 7117, reject him due to his origin as an ErosBod (YYO herself is a ClinicBod). This in turn drives THX to escape to the outside world, which he’s been taught means certain death. Nevertheless, THX would rather leave and face the unknown than stay in a society that regards him as a reject. This ethical dilemma was played out in various scenarios throughout the 1960s, from drop-outs to draft dodgers to those embracing alternate lifestyles.

THX-1138 4EB, Logan's Run (the novel), 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Planet of the Apes heralded in a darker, more dystopic era of science fiction film and reflected the cynicism of their times. Ironically, it would be George Lucas’ seminal work Star Wars that put an end to the pessimism in sci-fi movies that his first film, Electronic Labyrinth: THX-1138 4EB, pioneered.  



Related Content from Aeolus 13 Umbra

The Prayers of Shiva — A spoken word performance I produced layered with audio clips from THX 1138 and the TV show The Prisoner:

 
                         
 

Friday, February 23, 2018

In Search of . . . The Complete Series

by G. Jack Urso 


This series presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The producer’s purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones to the mysteries we will examine.
— Opening Narration to In Search of . . .

In Search of . . . was a weekly documentary series that aired in syndication between 1977 and 1982. Produced by Alan Landsburg and narrated by Leonard Nimoy, the program explored fringe topics popular during the 1970s — everything from Bigfoot and Killer Bees to Atlantis, auras, biofeedback, the Bermuda Triangle, Easter Island, reincarnation, and UFO’s. During the course of the series, 144 30-minute episodes and four hour-long specials were produced. The complete series and the specials are available on an Aeolus 13 Umbra YouTube channel dedicated solely to the series. See below for a complete listing of links to each episode.

Aeolus 13 Umbra has previously turned its attention to this series in an earlier article, In Search of . . . The Complete First Season, which introduces just the first season episodes. Additionally, individual episodes have served as the basis for articles on this website that explored the following topics:

·         In Search of . . . Atlantis





The origins of In Search of . . . date back to 1968 with Erich von Däniken’s bestselling book, Chariots of the Gods?, which attributes some of humanity’s crowning achievements and enduring mysteries, such as Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge, to alien influence. The same year, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey is released, and its main plot involves aliens influencing human evolution. 1968 also saw the release of Planet of the Apes, where astronauts return to a dystopic future Earth humans no longer rule. Alan Landsburg, and others, identified a growing sub-current in Western culture and moved to tap into it. A whole new genre in book and film was established and quickly proliferated over the next decade.

As man landed on the Moon in 1969, many asked the question whether an alien civilization ever visited earth. This was not entirely an unreasonable question to ask; however, the “aliens must have did it” explanation applied to anything we do not understand has the effect of diminishing the very real achievements of ancient cultures and indigenous peoples in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Europe.

Prior to the series in 1976, Alan Landsberg produced several hour-long TV specials based on von Däniken’s works, including In Search of Ancient Astronauts and In Search of Ancient Mysteries, both in 1973, and The Outer Space Connection in 1975. All were narrated by Rod Serling, who was also slated to work on the series until his untimely death in 1976. These programs are probably the best of their type ever produced, expertly blending on-location footage, Serling's narration, and an ambient soundtrack. A fourth film, Manbeast! Myth or Monster, released in 1978 at the height of series’ popularity, is less successful. The film investigates creatures like Bigfoot and the Yeti, but the story tends to ramble. Nimoy was not tapped to handle the narration and the person filling in, while certainly professional, lacks the gravitas and connection to Sci-Fi that Nimoy provides. Nevertheless, the film is a good record of the era’s fascination with cryptozoology. Click on the links above to view the films on the Aeolus 13 Umbra ISO YouTube channel.

As would be the case with the series, production teams for the specials went worldwide gathering footage. Film, as opposed to digital video, has a warmth about it, a dreamy effect that provides an almost timeless quality. The soundtrack utilizes ambient music to produce a relaxing, almost meditative space for contemplating the topics at hand.
The episodes linked below are from digital video masters, but true fans may wish to check out my earlier article, In Search of . . . The Complete First Season, which features 16 mm film versions recovered from the archives of a television station. Run through a projector, the film has a slightly different quality and more closely shows what audiences in the 1970s experienced.

The series draws upon the production values established in the films, and Leonard Nimoy is a seamless replacement for Serling who nonetheless establishes his own rhythm and pace. Not all the episodes explore fringe paranormal topics; many cover historical or environmental topics with the same focus on accuracy and detail as a National Geographic special. The episodes on Dracula, Inca Treasure, Killer Bees, Michael Rockefeller, Vincent Van Gogh, Pompeii,  Tidal Waves, The Lost Colony ofRoanoke and numerous other entries, are excellent short-subject educational films that introduce viewers to little-known subjects.

While I do not subscribe to tales of alien astronauts (as discussed in my article, In Search of . . . Preposterous Explanations), I still have a great love for the series. The combination of the writing, Nimoy's narration, on-location filming, reenactments, and audio production set an industry standard. Over the course of 144 episodes, the show covered a wide range of popular and obscure cultural interests of the 1970s. The typical episode averages a little over 22 minutes — providing just enough time for an overview of the topic and limiting the amount of conjecture, which tends to get repetitive. The program reports, but does not prove or disprove claims. We're introduced to the story, and left to decide for ourselves its veracity. Certainly, however, many episodes do tend to be steeped in unsubstantiated claims.

The music by Laurin Rinder and W. Michael Lewis could have been a mistake, but instead was a boon. The LA-based production team was known at the time for their work in disco, not documentary filmmaking, yet the duo turns in the classic opening theme that immediately identifies the show. The synthesizer and orchestral elements are skillfully used to highlight both the drama and mystery of the series as well as give room for reflection in quieter moments. An LP of the series soundtrack was released in 1977 by AVI Records. The program turned out to be the height of their career, and Rinder & Lewis broke up in 1982 when the series ended.

In Search of . . . still retains an active fanbase. Visual Entertainment released the entire series on DVD in in 2012, which also included the short-lived 2002 series hosted by Mitch Pileggi (of The-X Files) on the Sci-Fi Channel. More recently, the History Channel announced in January 2018 a revival of the show with Zachary Quinto as host, who also replaced Nimoy as Mr. Spock in Star Trek. Nevertheless, the magic of the original series is hard to recreate. Like lightning in a bottle, the series captured the cultural zeitgeist of the times. As we opened up the future, we looked to the past for hints about where we are going as a species. Have there been civilizations lost to history? Are there terrifying creatures we’ve yet to discover? Is there intelligent life on other planets? The answers are out there, and what they reveal about us is still worth going, dare I say, In Search of . . .
Extraterrestrials, Magic and Witchcraft, Missing Persons, Myths and Monsters, Lost Civilizations, Special Phenomena. In Search of . . . cameras are traveling the world, seeking out these great mysteries. This program was the result of the work of scientists, researchers, and highly skilled technicians.     — End Credits Tag for In Search of . . .
In Search of . . . The Complete Series
Season 1
Season 2
#
Airdate
Episode Title
#
Airdate
Episode Title
1
4/17/1977
1
12/24/1977
2
4/24/1977
2
12/21/1977
3
4/24/1977
3
1/5/1978
4
4/27/1977
4
1/7/1978
5
4/28/1977
5
1/12/1978
6
5/1/1977
6
1/21/1978
7
5/7/1977
7
1/26/1978
8
5/14/1977
8
1/28/1978
9
5/21/1977
9
2/4/1978
10
5/22/1977
10
2/9/1978
11
5/26/1977
11
2/11/1978
12
5/28/1977
12
2/18/1978
13
5/28/1977
13
2/23/1978
14
5/29/1977
14
2/25/1978
15
6/1/1977
15
2/27/1978
16
6/8/1977
16
3/4/1978
17
6/15/1977
17
3/9/1978
18
6/22/1977
18
3/11/1978
19
6/29/1977
19
3/18/1978
20
7/6/1977
20
4/27/1978
21
7/13/1977
21
5/4/1978
22
7/26/1977
22
5/11/1978
23
8/11/1977
23
5/18/1978
24
9/10/1977
24
6/1/1978

 
Season 3
Season 4
#
Airdate
Episode Title
#
Airdate
Episode Title
1
9/14/1978
1
9/20/1979
2
9/21/1978
2
9/27/1979
3
9/28/1978
3
10/4/1979
4
10/05/1978
4
10/11/1979
5
10/12/1978
5
10/18/1979
6
10/19/1978
6
10/25/1979
7
10/1/1978
7
11/8/1979
8
11/2/1978
8
11/15/1979
9
11/9/1978
9
11/22/1979
10
12/7/1978
10
11/1/1979
11
12/14/1978
11
12/6/1979
12
12/21/1978
12
12/13/1979
13
12/28/1978
13
12/20/1979
14
1/4/1979
14
12/27/1979
15
1/11/1979
15
1/3/1980
16
1/18/1979
16
1/10/1980
17
1/25/1979
17
1/17/1980
18
2/1/1979
18
1/24/1980
19
2/8/1979
19
1/31/1980
20
2/15/1979
20
2/07/1980
21
2/22/1979
21
2/14/1980
22
3/17/1979
22
2/21/1980
23
5/10/1979
23
3/7/1980
24
5/17/1979
24
3/14/1980
 

Season 5
Season 6
#
Airdate
Episode Title
#
Airdate
Episode Title
1
9/20/1980
1
9/21/1981
2
9/27/1980
2
9/28/1981
3
10/4/1980
3
10/5/1981
4
10/11/1980
4
10/12/1981
5
10/18/1980
5
10/19/1981
6
10/25/1980
6
10/26/1981
7
11/1/1980
7
10/31/1981
8
11/08/1980
8
11/2/1981
9
11/15/1980
9
11/9/1981
10
11/22/1980
10
11/16/1981
11
11/29/1980
11
11/21/1981
12
12/6/1980
12
11/23/1981
13
12/13/1980
13
11/30/1981
14
12/27/1980
14
12/6/1981
15
1/10/1981
15
12/13/1981
16
1/24/1981
16
12/20/1981
17
1/31/1981
17
1/3/1982
18
2/7/1981
18
1/17/1982
19
2/14/1981
19
1/24/1982
20
2/21/1981
20
2/1/1982
21
2/21/1981
21
2/8/1982
22
4/30/1981
22
2/15/1982
23
5/16/1981
23
2/22/1982
24
5/19/1981
24
3/1/1982