Project UFO: The Freemont Incident

Okay, I need you all to sit down and get settled in quickly, because we have a lot to cover today. This episode features FOUR DIFFERENT UFO sightings and we’re going to have to go quickly if we want to cover them all.

The first, and main, sighting is by a black policeman named Bob Armstrong, played by Rod Perry, who was on a bigger 70s TV hit, S.W.A.T. While chasing a speeder, Bob sees what appears to be an explosion and takes off to investigate. What he finds is a UFO shaped like a ball on top of three legs arranged in a triangle, and two passengers in space suits walking nearby. When they spot him they hurry back to the craft and take off.

The other sightings involve a guy who sees lights in the sky, a guy who sees similar lights in the sky but has one fall and crash into his house, and some military pilots chasing a saucer-like object.

Most importantly, though, we meet Libby!

Libby is the secretary for Major Gatlin and Sergeant Banjowhiskey*, and she’s somewhat sassy! She also gets to come along for the ride in this one so that she can…do her secretarying in a hotel room?

This episode should be called “Project: Travel Agency”. There is constant interminable pointless talk about getting from point A to point B, about how Sgt. Banjowhiskey isn’t getting enough sleep, and how Libby has to bring her cat along because she can’t find a kitten-sitter.

Now, I know you folks think I’m exaggerating about the pacing in this show, but I have a fine example right here. At 3 minutes and 30 seconds in, we are past the opening teaser and credits and begin the show proper. Libby tells our heroes about the sightings, all of which we just saw for ourselves, and they discuss sleep, transportation, and lodging. They get to Fremont, and meet with Armstrong’s supervisor, find out he’s on duty, and head over to this house. There they meet Armstrong’s wife, who offers them some grits, much to the delight of Sgt. Banjowhiskey, who asks that she drop an egg into them as well, which she was already planning on doing. Then Armstrong come in and, at 11 minutes in, they now meet and begin talking to the guy at the center of their main story. That’s seven and a half minutes of non-UFO content in the first 11 minutes of the show. We then spend the next four and a half minutes re-telling his story that we already saw in the teaser, only with a couple of extra details (such as the spacemen, who weren’t in the original sequence).

They all head out to the landing site, where a crowd is gathered with the usual “WELCOME SPACE FRIENDS” signs and the Air Force gentlemen take soil samples and push a device into the ground, which gives this reading:

I’ve never seen one of those read that high before, have you?

While this is going on we see the townsfolk are giving Armstrong a hard time of it, but to be honest it’s pretty gentle ribbing. There’s some hints that a lot of this is racially motivated, but we never really get into that.

Instead, we take off to investigate the two “lights-in-the-sky” sightings. Unlike the show, I’ll cut to the chase with these. Turns out there were three jets doing a night refueling exercise. As for the thing that crashed into the guy’s porch, it was a meteorite. He was planning on getting some fat cash by suing the Air Force for recklessly attacking UFOs, but our heros scuttle those plans. The other guy who saw the lights, we find out, had stolen someone else’s car and credit cards (we find this out after having to go to the gas station where he saw the lights, find the receipt, track down the owner, visit the owner, find out about the theft, and then go to the jail where the thief is held because the telephone wasn’t invented until 1982.) He claims one of the lights was blinking morse code and he’ll tell the officers what the message was — for ten thousand dollars. Gatlin isn’t buying and that’s the last we see of him.

What about the military sighting? Well it turns out that was…Gatlin himself! Sgt. Banjowhiskey asks him if he’s ever seen a UFO and it turns out he has! And we get the story, including information about how the old bomber he was in was still painted in camo from the Korean war and he was flying it as part of the IRAN (“Inspection and Repair as Necessary”, says Banjowhiskey, answering the question nobody asked) program and it was fitted with new collector exhaust rings andzzzzz this is boring. Let’s look at Libby again.

Anyhow, they saw a saucer-like UFO and nobody knows what it was, end of story.

Okay, so back to Armstrong. Here’s what the boys in the lab have found out: no radiation, no fuel traces. The burned vegetation was burned as a result of intense heat. The gizmo pictured above determined that the ground impressions were made by something weighing over 40 tons. Other than a 40-ton object sitting on the ground and then not sitting on the ground and no 40-ton tire tracks anywhere around, there just isn’t any evidence that something unusual happened!

Armstrong is ticked off and has planned to leave town with his family because he just can’t take the harassment anymore. As our heroes are leaving, though, all the fellows in town are in Armstrong’s driveway and want to apologize for the awful way they’ve treated him.

Everyone’s happy and we have no new insights into UFOs.

* – Not the character’s actual name.

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