The real story behind “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”

the real story behind close encounters of the third kind

Everyone remembers “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” a movie written and directed by Steven Spielberg in 1977 starring Richard Dreyfuss. What you may not know is NAVA and the AirForce decided not to cooperate on the film. In fact, they were totally against the release of this movie. NASA reportedly sent Spielberg a twenty-page letter telling him that releasing this movie was actually dangerous. Even though this was just a movie, the fact that the US government was trying to cover this up made a lot of people nervous.

The military did everything it could to discourage anyone from claiming that UFOs were real.

They usually ran a public campaign against anyone who seemed to have a creditable sighting. If you saw a UFO, you must be a crazy person. Military pilots who saw UFOs would not report it because it would mean the end of their careers.

On January 7, 1948, in Kentucky, a military base saw a UFO from the control tower. They dispatched 3 P-51 Mustangs to investigate. One of the pilots was Thomas Montell. He reported the craft was at 15,000 and it was climbing fast. He followed the UFO up to 20,000 and it is assumed that Montell passed out and crashed. The USAF later said the Montell was actually chasing the planet, Venus, then later updated their report to a skyhook weather balloon. Just another example of how the military dismisses an incident. You would think that a pilot would know the difference between a UFO and a planet, or a weather balloon. I’m pretty sure that a weather balloon wasn’t traveling at 300 MPH.

The military likes to keep it’s personnel under control.

Donald Keyhoe was an exception

During the 1950s a military aviator named Donald Keyhoe was convinced that flying saucers were real. At the time, Keyhoe was retired from the Marines and was writing books and articles. Keyhoe’s article “Flying Saucers Are Real” was published in the January 1950 issue of True Magazine.

Keyhoe wrote the most popular article in the history of True magazine. Capitalizing on his success, Keyhoe turned the article into a book: The Flying Saucers Are Real (1950). Selling more than 500,000 copies. In his book, he claimed the Air Force knew flying saucers were real, but covered up the reports to avoid panic in the streets. Keyhoe believed the aliens did not seem hostile and had been surveilling the earth for more than 200 years. Keyhoe wrote that their “observation suddenly increased in 1947, following the series of A-bomb explosions in 1945.”

Keyhoe authored several more books about UFOs. “Flying Saucers from Outer Space,” 1953 was the most impressive, based on interviews and official reports by the Air Force. The book included a report from Albert M. Chop, the Air Force’s press secretary in the Pentagon. Albert Chop admitted that Keyhoe was a “responsible, accurate reporter” and further expressed approval for Keyhoe’s arguments in favor of continuing his research.

In 1956, Keyhoe co-founded a group called the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. (NICAP)

This was a well-known group with several high-ranking military personnel NICAP attracted many people who were interested in UFOs. Keyhoe was instrumental in increasing the awareness of the UFO phenomena. Keyhoe went on to appear on several television shows and documentaries concerning UFOs. Keyhoe passed away in 1988 at the age of 91.

Another member of NICAP was Roscoe Henry Hillenkoetter
He was the first director of the Central Intelligence Agency. After his retirement from the United States Navy, He was on the board of governors of the National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena.

A colleague of Donald Keyhoe, Josef Allen Hynek developed the “Close Encounter” classification system.

Hynek was an American astronomer, professor, and ufo investigator. He acted as a scientific advisor to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force. Project Sign, Project Grudge, and Project Blue Book

The government shut down Project Blue Book in 1969.

In 1972 Hynek wrote, ‘The UFO Experience: “A Scientific Inquiry.” This is where Hynek came up with his “Close Encounters” classification.

  • Close Encounter of the First Kind: Visual sightings of an unidentified flying object.
  • Close Encounters of the Second Kind: A UFO event in which a physical effect is alleged.
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind: UFO encounters in which an entity is present, these include humanoids, robots, and humans who seem to be occupants or pilots of a UFO
  • Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind: A UFO event in which a human is abducted by a UFO or its occupants.
  • Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind: A UFO event that involves direct communication between aliens and humans.
  • Close Encounters of the Sixth Kind: Death of a human or animal associated with a UFO sighting
  • Close Encounters of the Seventh Kind: The creation of a human/alien hybrid, either by sexual reproduction or by artificial scientific methods.

Spielberg hires Hynek

It was the term “Close Encounters of the Third kind” that inspired director Steven Spielberg’s smash hit ‘Close Encounters of Third Kind,’ released in late 1977. By then, Hynek was a popular author who also had the respect of the scientific community.

Spielberg reportedly paid Hynek $1,000 to use his phrase, plus $500 a day as a technical advisor for the film. While on set, Hynek got to talking with Spielberg about making a “Hitchcock-type” cameo in the movie, and Spielberg loved the idea. He filmed Hynek interacting with the aliens from the space ship.

Filming Close Encounters of the Third Kind

This movie had a budget of $19.4 million dollars, and it went on to make more than $300 million dollars. Steve McQueen was Spielberg’s first choice for the lead role, however, Steve felt he was not right for the role. He said he was unable to cry on cue. Other choices were Gene Hackman, Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, and Jack Nicholson. Richard Dreyfuss was chosen and the rest is history.

Columbia Pictures experienced financial difficulties and would have most likely dropped the film if they knew the cost would be so high. Just coming off a successful film, Jaws gave Spielberg a needed boost in having the reputation of making a profitable film. At first, Spielberg wanted to shoot the entire film on a sound stage but quickly realized that using real locations would be better. The small extraterrestrials in the final scenes were played by fifty local six-year-old girls in Mobile, Alabama.

They actually bought a house at 1613 Carlisle Drive East in Mobile, Alabama for $35K so they could do whatever they wanted to do in the movie. This was the house where “Roy” went a little crazy and built the Devil’s tower in the living room, later they sold the house, after cleaning it up of course for $50K. The $15 profit went back into the film’s budget

Cary Guffey, a three-year-old plays the little boy who was abducted by aliens in the movie. He had never acted before, so Spielberg figured out how to get a believable reaction to the aliens first approaching the house. Spielberg slowly unwrapped a present for the young actor just off-camera, making him smile. Guffey even exclaims “Toys! Toys!” in the final take.