Did Astronaut Cooper Know About a 1956 UFO Incident?
Gordon Cooper believed in UFOs, and, being a two-time space traveler, he may have known more about them than most. But did he know about the Jasper Incident of 1956? The mysterious tale of a little Colorado town is the subject of "The Top Secret UFO Project," filmmaker R. J. Thomas' parody of UFO documentaries.
PR9.NET October 31, 2006 - Los Angeles, CA -- If anyone should know something about Unidentified Flying Objects, it would be someone who has actually been in space. Gordon Cooper was the first astronaut to make two orbital flights, and he made no secret of his steadfast belief in the existence of UFOs. But did he know about the Jasper Incident of 1956? The tale of the little Colorado town's close encounters is the subject of filmmaker R. J. Thomas' "The Top Secret UFO Project," a parody of UFO documentaries.
In 1985, the then-58-year old Cooper spoke before a U. N. Panel Discussion on UFOs. "I should point out that I am not an experienced UFO professional researcher. I have not as yet had the privilege of flying a UFO nor of meeting the crew of one," he said. "However, I do feel that I am somewhat qualified to discuss them, since I have been into the fringes of the vast areas of which they travel. Also, I did have occasion in 1951 to have two days of observation of many flights of them, of different sizes flying in fighter formation, generally from west to east over Europe. They were at a higher altitude than we could reach with our jet fighters."
"Cooper told a TV audience on Merv Griffin that aliens have been on earth and are here regularly," Mr. Thomas said. "He believed he'd seen UFOs and that other astronauts did too and that the government covered the stories up. My film is a spoof of those types of government cover-ups."
Based on Thomas' 2004 novella of the same name, "The Top Secret UFO Project" chronicles the UFO-related events experienced by the town of Jasper. According to the film, the town dealt with one unusual event after another in the summer of 1956. After a farmer spotted a flying saucer zipping over his property, scientists rushed into Jasper to investigate, reporters rushed in looking for stories, and government officials rushed in to keep it a secret from the world.
Billed as "the movie the government does not want you to see," "The Top Secret UFO Project," is a parody of the cheesy UFO documentaries of the 1970s like "Overlords of the UFO" and of TV programs like "In Search Of."
"My film deals with people who try to tell the world that UFOs exist and no one listens," Mr. Thomas said. "There is always this great paranoia and drama. Doesn't any government official want to step forward and say that UFOs exist and be on the cover of Time? No, it's all a big secret. Gordon Cooper was someone who spoke up and said that all this crazy stuff was real."
Cooper, one of the original astronauts of the Project Mercury, was launched into space on May 15, 1963, aboard the Mercury-Atlas 9. He orbited the earth 22 times and logged more time in space than all five previous Mercury astronauts combined. Two years later, Cooper flew as command pilot of Gemini 5 on an eight-day, 120-orbit mission with Pete Conrad.
He is portrayed by Dennis Quaid in the 1983 epic "The Right Stuff."
"Cooper died in 2004 at the age of 77," Mr. Thomas said. "Like MacArthur, he went to his deathbed believing in UFOs and picturing a future with alien wars. These men were pretty smart. Is anybody going to say that these guys were kooks?"
"The Top Secret UFO Project" is available on DVD at BooksAndSuchMart.com.
"The Top Secret UFO Project (DVD Promo)" is available for viewing on GoogleVideo.com.
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