This past Friday, January 10th, Discovery Channel [Discovery Canada] aired its new UFO series in Canada, "Close Encounters." The first episode had a 15 minute segment on the alleged Malmstrom AFB Oscar Flight UFO incident which highlighted Robert Salas' experience. Leslie Kean and Kevin Randle provide commentary. Actors were employed to re-enact the event.
I was asked by an associate to provide a critique, that is, separating fact from fiction. The only good thing that I can say is that the quality of the program's sound was exceptional (HD). Other than that it was unsettling in so many ways. I personally think that it would have or should have been an embarrassment even for Salas to watch.
Kean and Randle follow the well worn script. I assumed that both were used with the attempt to provide legitimacy to the story. I've not read any of Keene's work, but I'm aware of her views on UFOs...her reputation precedes her.
Kevin Randle provides his thoughts for a potential fear of a Soviet incursion into the area based on the incident happening during the height of the Cold War. Randle's comments were curious as I recall watching a Robert Salas interview on Frank Warren's UFO Chronicles site. Salas appeared to have supported this view point as well.
The bottom line is that the Malmstrom/Oscar segment is presented as fact and well documented and investigated. There are no opposing view points made as a counter argument, but truly that's not the purpose of the program.
As far as the actual production, the props were horrid, reminding me of Ed Woods "Plan 9 from Outer Space". The actual physical set up is all wrong, Launch Control Center, Topside security set up, Launch Facility, uniforms, signs, etc. All of those were poorly depicted as visual components supporting the story line.
The poor visual inaccuracies can all be somewhat forgiven because its a Canadian production attempting to show a U.S military installation, but I'm a purist at heart and frankly demand a realistic set up based on the actual time period even if one is trying to spoon feed a mass population of unadulterated fantasy.
The program gives the impression that the sighting occurred on Malmstrom AFB itself, but that is not true as Oscar Flight was located well over 120 miles to the east of the base.
Of course the production staff has only 15 minutes to portray the so called event, so a lot of what Salas had written/talked about is omitted. The end of the segment gives the impression that the AF had conducted an extensive investigation, but there is no documentation/reports that supports the conclusion.
Robert Salas and Fred Meiwald are portrayed by their names. The security team members remain anonymous. I wonder if Canadian viewers saw this particular fallacy and collectively asked the question: "who were these unnamed individuals, and have they ever come forward to support Salas' claim?"
There are extensive reports for Echo Flight which actually did occur a week prior to Salas' contention. There is/was no evidence of UFO activity for Echo...rumors/pranks run amok...James Carlson's father, Eric, confirmed that the story was bogus in an interview with Ryan Dube, Realityuncovered.net.
Lastly, there is a reference made that FAA radar had captured the Oscar Flight UFO on screen. This information supposedly obtained by way of FOIA. I've yet to come across this information as being mentioned by Salas and others. Could the program producers have mistaken this from a different incident?
"Close Encounters" will probably air here in the states at a later date. All that I can say is that viewers beware. And ask your self....Did it really happen?