Sunday, June 22, 2008

Late Show: In Search of Ancient Astronauts

Narrated by Rod Serling, this 1973 film was the first of two pilot productions for the long-running “In Search Of...” television series. It’s actually an edited version of the 1970 German documentary Erinnerungen an die Zukunft (Chariots of the Gods), based on the bestselling book of the same name by Erich von Däniken.

The film examines the theory that aliens have landed on Earth in ancient times and were responsible for many of mankind’s oldest mysteries. Such notions of ancient astronauts and “paleocontact” were all the rage when I was a kid, and taken at face value, the theories do seem quite compelling. Unfortunately however, the evidence never seems to stand up to closer scrutiny. As Carl Sagan said, such extraordinary assertions as von Däniken’s demand extraordinary proof without which it would be inappropriate to believe the claims. Still, it’s hard to resist imagining that such a thing may possibly have happened…