Flying Saucer Imagery in 1947 and in the Earlier Decades -

This article will surprise many by its images of saucer-shaped spacecraft that appeared in print in the five decades before the June 24, 1947 Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting. These come from a PowerPoint lecture given at "The 4th UFO Historiography Day" held on March 11 in Turin, Italy. The presentation argues that this "minority" of the sci-fi illustrations of pre-Arnold spacecraft did not influence American popular culture, but seems coincidental to the rise of the saucer motif after Arnold. What Arnold actually reported was not a saucer, but the "journalistic error" that colored perception of the objects as saucers did impact the media portrayal of "alien" vehicles. While more spaceships in pre-1947 images looked like "Buck Rogers" rockets, there were many varieties of vessels in sci-fi illustrations. Similarly, most UFOs actually reported today are not the saucers that have become so popular among media illustrators. (WM)

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