“This series presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The producer’s purpose is to suggest some possible explanation, but not necessarily the only ones, to the mysteries we will examine. “
The above quote always came after the opening dialogue teaser clip from the show “In Search of” which is the subject of this week’s short, but, I hope, informative blog. Known best for his portrayal of the iconic, logical minded Vulcan, Mr. Spock, on both the original “Star Trek” television show as well as in feature films, Leonard Nimoy hosted the series which ran from September of 1976 through March of 1982. The program was a documentary style offering that, along with the voice over narration of Nimoy, combined archival footage, interviews, and newly shot reenactments. Each of its eclectic 144 episodes was thirty minutes in length and examined, among other subjects, the historical, the mythical, and the supernatural. Shows ran the gamut – from examining the validity of the existence of Bigfoot; to speculating on the true identity of Jack the Ripper; to analyzing the insanity brought by Jim Jones to his followers; to offering theories as to what became of Michael Rockefeller after he disappeared; and even exploring the age old question of ‘is there life after death?’.
The show was created by Alan Landsburg, who in 1971 formed his own independent television production company simply called, “Alan Landsburg Productions.” The company achieved success with not only “In Search of,” but another unusual television program for its time period titled “That’s Incredible,” which ran from 1980 through 1984. In addition, successful sitcoms such as “Gimme a Break!” and “Kate and Allie,” as well as the Emmy award winning television film “Bill,” starring Mickey Rooney (National Velvet) and Dennis Quaid, (Frequency) helped to maintain consistent success for the production company.
The series was created after the airing of two successful television documentaries. The first, “In Search of Ancient Astronauts” debuted on January 5, 1973. The program was an edited version of the 1970, German documentary “Erinnerungen an die Zukunft,” (Chariots of the Gods) which was based on the book written by Swiss author, Erich Von Daniken. Directed by Harald Reinl, the film explored a theory that aliens visited Earth in ancient times and are responsible for a great number of the world’s mysteries. For example, the monuments of Easter Island and ancient cave drawings. The second special “In Search of Ancient Mysteries,” written and directed by Fred Warshofsky, premiered in 1975 and also examined the theory that aliens had visited Earth. Trivia buffs take note: Actor Robert Vaughn (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), narrated the pilot episode, but declined to host the series. Rod Serling, the creator of the “Twilight Zone,” narrated the initial TV specials, but died before the regular series began. In addition, a short-lived revival of the show hosted by Mitch Pileggi, who played Assistant Director Walter Skinner on “The X-Files” television show as well as in two feature films, debuted on the Sci-Fi Channel on October 4, 2002 and lasted eight episodes.
In February of this year, VEI (Visual Entertainment Inc) bought the rights to “In Search of” and plans to release the complete series on DVD. The company hopes to be able to do this before the end of the year. VEI is also in talks with Leonard Nimoy to participate in bonus material for the DVD’s. If you have never seen the show and would like to before the series arrives on DVD, you can view entire episodes on youtube.com. In this blogger’s opinion, the series offered numerous interesting subjects for a viewer to become captivated by. The show usually left, at least this blogger, with more questions than answers, which prompted me to delve deeper into researching the particular subject of that episode, and more often than not it was time well spent.