...In Search Of...
The Grandfather of all Paranormal Documentaries.
In Search Of is the title of an American produced TV show specializing in the Paranormal, Conspiracy Theories, and other mysteries. The series was produced by Alan Landsburg and was syndicated from 1977 to 1982. The series was in a half-hour time slot with a total running time of 23 mimes with the remaining time for commercials. There were 144 episodes made during its production. The show was hosted by Lennard who was best known to TV audiences as Mr. Spock from the sci-fi series Star Trek. Nimoy was chosen to replace Rod Serling who had passed away before production. The TV series was started as a continuation of previous documentaries that used the In Search Of title and were produced by Lansburg. The first one was called In Search Of Ancient Astronauts and was broadcasted in 1973. The program was based on the non-fiction book, Chariots of the Gods by Erich Von Daniken.
The series topics.
The episodes were divided into six individual categories, "Extraterrestrials,” “Magic & Witchcraft,” “Missing Persons,” “Myths & Monsters,” “Lost Civilizations,” and Special Phenomena. From those six topics would come episodes that encompassed both science and pseudoscience, historic events, genuine persons, and places. Due to the off-center nature of the shows subject matter, a disclaimer was announced via voice-over which read,
This series presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The producer's purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones, to the mysteries, we will examine
The disclaimer was announced at the beginning of the program to avoid any misunderstandings among viewers. The producers wanted to ensure what the series was about and that they were very open-minded about the subjects that were presented. The series was told in a documentary style which included personal interviews from eyewitness and experts, reenactments, and archival footage.
The producer wanted the original host, Rod Serling, from the previous programs to narrate. However, he died of cancer during the production of the series. A new host was selected and Leonard Nimoy, a veteran movie and TV actor, was chosen. His popularity among science fiction fans made him an ideal choice for the position. It turn out to be a excellent decision, the ratings were very good due to his presence.
In Search of introduction.
The original introduction montage for the series is shown in this video.
The first episode of the series I watched.
This is the first episode of the series I watched on TV. I and my father had watched it together after he read the description in the TV guide. After seeing the show, I got hooked and tuned in the following week. This episode the producers examine Haunted Castles in the United Kingdom. The episode discusses two ghost legions in the English countryside, a scary bedtime story, and a haunted pub. One of the most interesting comments stated according to an expert was, Great Britain is the most haunted place on Earth. This show was first aired on April 27, 1978, and is episode 2o from season 2.
An episode on SETI
In this episode of the series, the creators take a look at a hard science subject of SETI. In this episode, the topic of SETI is examined and how Radio Telescopes are used in trying to detect alien worlds. The Scientist who interacts with dolphins are interviewed and how they could be used as a model for alien contact. The implantations WOW signal is discussed during the final moments of the program. The show was aired on May 28, 1977, and was episode 12 of the first season.
A favorite episode of mine.
This episode of the series is one of my favorites. The producers examine so-called UFO cover-ups. Among the topics discussed are the now-famous Aliens at Roswell, the crash spaceship, and Hanger 18. This episode was the first one for season four and broadcasted on September 20, 1980.
The series was rebooted two times.
The In Search Of series was given life again during the 21 century. First, in 2002, the SyFy channel ran a one hour version of the show and was hosted by Mitch Pileggi who played ADA Skinner from the X-files TV show. Then in 2018, the series was revived on the History Channel and hosted by Zachary Quinto who also played Mr. Spock for the Star Trek movie series produced by J.J. Abrams. The first reboot of the series only lasted six episodes due to low ratings. The newest one has been more successful and was renewed for a second season. The newer reboots were nothing like the original series. The SyFy channel revival was no different than any of the other TV shows on the paranormal at the time. However, the History Channel reboot stays more true to the original series. In the first season, the producers explored some of the same topics as did the original series but with updated knowledge.
Why I loved this show.
I loved watching this show back in the day for many reasons. It touched on many subjects I was very interested at the time, real science and the paranormal. Each week I would look forward to a new episode and wondered what they would talk about next. The stories were always fascinating and made me curious to learn more. Nimoy's voice gave an air of authority on the subject matter and help make the program more believable. The background music helped set a mystique for each episode making the subject more intriguing.
More about In Search Of.
The show was broadcasted at a time when the choice of programming was limited. Therefore, it was at the forefront of its type but the growth of the cable industry shows like In Search Of would face more computation. If you want to read more, I would suggest a blog post by the website wearethemutants.com. The article has a very interesting and detailed discussion of the series. Also, check out the Wikipedia page on the show as well, the page includes an episode guide with with a detailed description of every episode.
About the author
A long-time sci-fi fan who loves the internet. I am also writting on other subjects than sci-fi.
you can follow me on Twitter @EdwardGerman3 Listen to my podcast The 1950s Sciecne Fiction Podcast on Anchor.FM