Project U.F.O. (Project Blue Book) - From The Land of Forgotten Television

Project U.F.O. is a late 1970s NBC television series which lasted two seasons, from 1978 to 1979. Based loosely on the real-life Project Blue Book, the show was created by Dragnet veteran Jack Webb, who pored through Air Force files looking for episode ideas.

The show was a production of Mark VII Limited in association with Worldvision Enterprises, and was Webb's last weekly series produced before his death. It was also one of the rare times that Webb did not produce a series with Universal Television or Warner Bros. Television; Webb partnered with Universal for every series he made following his departure from Warner Bros., who had named him the president of its television division in the 1960s.

The show features two U.S. Air Force investigators with the Foreign Technology Division at Wright-Patterson AFB, charged with investigating UFO sightings. The first season starred William Jordan as Maj. Jake Gatlin alongside Caskey Swaim as Staff Sgt. Harry Fitz. Jordan was a rather nondescript leading man, while Swaim, who had never had any significant acting experience before landing the role, added diversity as a Southerner with a pronounced accent. In season two, Jordan was replaced by Edward Winter as Capt. Ben Ryan. Aldine King ("Libby") was another regular. Dr. Joyce Brothers appeared in two episodes.

In the pilot episode, Gatlin informed the newly assigned Fitz that, since it is impossible to prove a negative, their job was to prove that each UFO sighting was real, by researching and disproving possible alternate explanations. Gatlin also told Fitz that he himself had once seen "something I can't explain" while flying as an Air Force pilot, which led to his interest in Blue Book.

In retrospect, Project U.F.O. anticipated many of the themes of the X-Files, which aired 14 years later, but without the latter show's romantic subtext or its anti-government (or, for that matter, its anti-alien) paranoia. As with Blue Book, many of the UFO sightings on Project UFO turned out to have conventional explanations. Some, however, were left unexplained, and suggestive of alien contact. By the second season, the investigators had themselves experienced a UFO sighting.

In an odd reversal of the Scooby-Doo dynamic, the series eventually settled into a pattern in which the investigators would spend most of the hour uncovering some conventional explanation for a UFO sighting, only for the last five minutes to reveal that UFOs (or some similarly unexplained phenomena) were involved after all. - Source

The PROJECT U.F.O. (1978) Mystery

Was the 1978 Jack Webb-created series Project U.F.O. ever aired under the alternate title, Project Blue Book?

I have assumed, that since so many commenters here (and on the IMDb) have insisted that they remember that title, that the "Blue Book" alternate title was used in syndication or some markets, and yes, I have even stated that here in previous posts. But, the more I look into it, the truth is I haven't actually seen any definitive evidence that it was ever called anything other than Project U.F.O. on television.

In fact, despite the fact that the IMDb and Wikipedia (both of which make use of user-submitted data and are thus subject to faulty memories or repeating of erroneous information) both make the claim that the "Blue Book" name was used in some television markets, I can find no concrete evidence anywhere - aside from the 34 year-old memories of people who saw it as children - that it was ever called Project Blue Book. No vintage TV Guide ads, no newspaper or magazine articles, or even YouTube videos of the opening credits with the "Blue Book" title.

I'm beginning to suspect that, at least here in the U.S., the "Blue Book" title was never used. However, the phrase, "Project Blue Book" was used extensively on the program, and I think that it may have had a powerful influence on youthful memories, so much so that people misremember the title of the show. These kinds of "false memories" are common, especially when erroneous information is repeated and repeated without verification. - READ MORE

Project U.F.O. Trivia

In the very first episode, Major Gatlin told Staff Sergeant Fitz that their job was to do their best to prove that a UFO sighting was real by eliminating every other possible explanation. He explained that it would not be wise to approach a sighting with the idea of proving that it was not an alien encounter because you can't prove a negative.
Major Gatlin also told Fitz that he himself had once seen something in the sky that he couldn't explain on a mission as an Air Force pilot.

The Project U.F.O. TV show was loosely based on the real-life Air Force program called, "Project: Blue Book".

Jack Webb ("Dragnet") created the Project U.F.O. TV show and he spent a considerable amount of effort researching actual Air Force files to get ideas for episodes. In the first season, the show reflected those file pretty well. Most of the sightings were explained with just a few that couldn't be explained but certainly didn't prove the existence of alien visitors. Then in the second season, Major Gatlin and Captain Ryan (who had replaced Sergeant Fitz) actually saw a U.F.O. for themselves! The storylines in season two typically ended with a shocking revelation that indicated that the sighting really was an alien craft or some other phenomena outside of conventional science.

Project U.F.O. aired its first episode in February of 1978 on Sundays from 8:00 to 9:00PM on NBC. The "Wonderful World of Disney" was shortened from two hours to one hour to make room for Project U.F.O. In its second season, Project U.F.O. was moved to Thursday nights from 8:00 to 9:00PM where it had to compete with some very popular shows. ABC was starting out that hour with "Mork and Mindy" and CBS was airing "The Waltons".

Brick Price Movie Miniatures (now Wonderworks) usually made the UFOs used on Project U.F.O. from parts assembled from stock model kits that you could buy at a department store, but they did it well! Project U.F.O. was the last TV series created by Jack Webb and the last one produced by his production company, "Mark VII Limited". - Source

Ezekiel saw the wheel.
This is the wheel he said he saw.
These are Unidentified Flying Objects that people say they are seeing now.
Are they proof that we are being visited by civilizations from other stars?
Or just what are they?
The United States Air Force began an investigation of this high strangeness in a search for the truth.
What you are about to see is part of that 20 year search.

These were the words, spoken by radio and television veteran, Jack Webb, that opened the premiere episode of "Project: U.F.O.".
The above stanza was used for the first season of the series. It was truncated somewhat for the second season. - Source


  1. That's funny I do remember this as Project Blue Book as well, but I was very young, and could easily see how I might have thought of it as that while missing the actual title. It was engrained enough that many, many years later when I'd read about Project UFO I'd think, "Hey, that sound similar to the Project Blue Book show I watched...weird!"

  2. Loved this as a kid in the UK, where I'm convinced it was called Project Blue Book, because it introduced me to the proper Project Blue Book, which made me suddenly think UFOs weren't just something in films, but were something the American Government has seriously investigated.

    But I'm really, really sure it was called Project Blue Book in the UK and I have to wonder if (if that's actually true) it was because we had the fantastic Gerry Anderson show UFO.

  3. It's interesting how some people say they remember the show airing under the title "Project U.F.O." while others insist it was "Project Blue Book". I often wonder if the show was actually aired in different parts of the country under different names?

    I saw the show as a child in Texas and it was called "Project Blue Book." I had never heard of it being called "Project U.F.O." until it aired on the Sci Fi Channel in the late 1990s. At the time I found it odd that the name was different. I couldn't understand why there was a name change.

    Maybe someday we will get an answer on this, but for now it remains a mystery.

  4. There was a Gerry Anderson show called UFO and Project UFO was called Project Bluebook in England and Australia--at least that's what I discovered while researching the show...

  5. Only lasted two seasons... must have suffered from low ratings in the second season.