The above photo is a detail from a two-page advertisement that ran in The New York Times several months ago. It was for a show on the History channel, Project Blue Book, described as a drama "based on the true, top-secret investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)… conducted by the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1969."
I checked out the first episode and turned it off after a half hour. It was pure, made-for-TV schlock. Yet the ad itself was astonishing—because the date on the newspaper article in the ad, July 27, 1952, is the day I was born.
As the excerpt from Bobby in Naziland indicates, the UFO frenzy of July 1952 is an incident that I explore in some detail—and as I was preparing the book for publication, it was weird to see one of the very newspaper articles I'd written about being used to promote an ancient occurrence that the gods of TV had suddenly deemed fit for mass consumption. Was I on to something?
I explain in the book that I found out about the UFOs of '52 only a few years ago, when I was in the library researching something else that had happened hours before my birth: the death of Eva Perón. I knew about Evita because my mother, a big fan of "The Lady of Hope," was always telling me about how Perón's death was on the front page of all the papers the day I was born. But she never said a word about the UFOs, which I'd have found a lot more interesting.
So it was a bit of a shock to learn that this other thing was also dominating the headlines that long-ago summer day. And it made me wonder: Had the aliens come for Evita and me?
Perhaps the gods of TV will explore that in some other extravaganza. Quality, in this case, would be a nice touch.
Meet me in St. Louis, Wednesday, October 16, 7 PM, at Subterranean Books. I'll be reading and signing copies of Bobby in Naziland.
I'll be reading and signing Bobby in Naziland at Temple Sinai, in Dresher, PA, Sunday, October 27, 10 AM. To attend, please RSVP by Oct. 22 to Tobey Grand, firstname.lastname@example.org. The event is free, all are welcome, and, I'm told, there will be a candy store and egg creams. Seriously.