High Strangeness: Dr. J. Allen Giraffe and The Blue Book Blues

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Dr. J. Allen Giraffe and The Blue Book Blues

Major Hector Quintanilla was the project chief of the U.S. Air Force's "Project Blue Book" UFO investigation program from 1963 to 1969, when it was disbanded. Quintanilla was a thoroughly disagreeable chap. He hated UFO's with a passion, and at every opportunity he knee-capped Blue Book's longtime scientific advisor, Dr. J. Allen Hynek, as I've chronicled in some detail in my Hynek bio, The Close Encounters Man: How One Man Made the World Believe in UFOs. In fact, second only to Dr. Carl Sagan, Major Quintanilla was the biggest, baddest bad guy in my book.
Project Blue Book chief Major Hector Quintanilla

Why do I bring this up so randomly? Why, it's because I checked in this morning on imdbpro.com to get the latest production update on the upcoming History Channel TV series about Dr. Hynek and Project Blue book, entitled Blue Book, and came across an odd connection to Quintanilla. Because this TV show appears to be so remarkably similar to my book, I've made it a habit to check in on its progress, and lately there always seems to be a surprise or two in the latest update.

For example, I recently noticed that the producers had cast an actor in the role of "General Hoyt S. Vandenberg," and I called attention to it here in my blog. I thought it odd that the producers would made a big deal about this casting news, since Vandenberg is at best a minor footnote in UFO history, and in fact was never involved in Project Blue Book at all. So, I took a poke at the producers over that, and then today when I checked, I found that Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg is no longer listed on imdb in the credits of the show.

Months earlier, I had pointed out that the History Channel's original press release for the show erroneously claimed that Dr. Hynek "spearheaded" project Blue Book, when in fact he was merely a hired consultant. The current PR material from History Channel acknowledges that Hynek was only a hired consultant.

Suddenly things are even weirder in Blue Book-world. The cast list on imdb is now greatly expanded, but with the exceptions of Dr. Hynek and his wife Miriam, not one of the characters is an actual person. The new cast members include such colorful characters as "Susie Miller," "General Hugh Valentine," Mandy," "Donnie," "Toby McManus," and "Local."  None of these people is real (Wait a minute! "Gen. Hugh Valentine?" "HV??" Could that be a new version of "Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg?" He hasn't been eliminated; he's been altered!).

They are now blatantly making shit up. Case in point: Deadline.com now reports that an actor named Michael Malarkey (no, I did not make that up!) has been cast not as Major Hector Quintanilla, but as, and I quote,
"Captain Michael Quinn. A decorated WWII hero, Captain Michael Quinn is selected to run Project Blue Book, a new Air Force division investigating UFO phenomena. A charming Air Force pilot, he clashes with his Blue Book partner, Dr. Allen Hynek (Aidan Gillen), challenging Hynek’s scientific mind with his raw emotional gut instincts."
I'm not joking: here's the link.

I don't know whether I should laugh or cry. As Ira Steven Behr, my old boss on Star Trek, loved to say with a resigned shrug, "Hey, Mark, it's Hollyweird." That's what they do: they make shit up. But, this is the so-called "History Channel." Forgive me for thinking that might actually mean something...

So anyway, according to Deadline.com, the irritating Major Quintanilla is now the "charming" "Captain Quinn." He apparently was the first Blue Book project chief, not the last, and his conflict with Dr. Hynek, himself newly promoted from "consultant" to "partner," was simply a battle between logic and emotion, with Hynek taking on the Spock role and "Quinn" standing in for Dr. McCoy.

Huh. News to me.

I would not be at all surprised if they create another character named Captain Tanilla." After all, "Quintanilla" is such a great name, and as it stands they're only using the first half of it. Why let the rest go to waste?

I'll take that a step even further. I also wouldn't be at all surprised if, the next time I check, Dr. Hynek himself has a new name and identity. I hereby make a suggestion to the Blue Book producers: Dr. Hynek was known to start the first day of his astronomy classes by writing his name on the blackboard and introducing himself as "Dr. Hynek. as in 'giraffe.'" Why not play it safe and call Hynek "Dr. J. Allen Giraffe" in your show?

It's almost as if they're saying that the real story of Dr. J. Allen Hynek and Project Blue Book isn't interesting enough as it is, and that it needs to be enhanced. That's crazy.

Who here agrees with me?

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