In Search Of - From The Land of Forgotten Television

In Search of... is a television series that was broadcast weekly from 1977 to 1982, devoted to mysterious phenomena. It was created after the success of three one-hour TV documentaries produced by creator Alan Landsburg: In Search of Ancient Astronauts in 1973 (based on the book Chariots of the Gods? by Erich von Däniken), In Search of Ancient Mysteries and The Outer Space Connection, both in 1975 (later adapted into popular paperbacks written by Landsburg). All three featured narration by Rod Serling, who was the initial choice to host the spin-off show. After Serling's death, Leonard Nimoy was selected to be the host.

Related: Fate Magazine #85 - April 1957 Issue - We Saw A Flying Saucer / Zombies

The program conducted investigations into the controversial and paranormal (e.g., UFOs, Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness Monster). Additionally, it featured episodes about mysterious historical events and personalities such as Anna Anderson/Grand Duchess Anastasia, the Lincoln Assassination, the Jack the Ripper murders, infamous cults (e.g., Jim Jones), and missing persons, cities, and ships (e.g., Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, D. B. Cooper, the Mary Celeste, the Titanic, the lost Roanoke Colony). Because the show often presented offbeat subjects and controversial theories, each episode's opening credits included a verbal disclaimer about the conjectural nature of the evidence and theories to be presented:

"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 production values were fairly typical of the period, with interviews, reenactments and scenic footage shot on film, all voiced over by Nimoy. The style was often more expository than explanatory. The music was composed by Laurin M. Rinder and W. Michael Lewis. A soundtrack album was released on AVI (American Variety International) Records in 1977.

Nimoy's popularity among science fiction fans (due to his role as Spock in the original Star Trek television series) won the show a following in fandom circles. Nimoy wrote an episode about the turbulent life of artist Vincent van Gogh, having earlier played the artist's brother Theo in a one-man show. As part of his research, Nimoy found records in the archives of the hospital where Van Gogh was treated that suggested that he suffered from epilepsy rather than insanity.

The show also spawned at least six spin-off books, all written by Landsburg with forewords by Nimoy: In Search of Lost Civilizations, In Search of Extraterrestrials, In Search of Magic and Witchcraft, In Search of Strange Phenomena, In Search of Missing Persons, and In Search of Myths and Monsters, with an additional book that collected the best segments from these existing volumes.

In 1978, Landsburg produced a Bigfoot documentary using portions of two In Search of... episodes ("The Monster Hunters" and "The Yeti") called Manbeast! Myth or Monster, based on his book In Search of Myths and Monsters. Though Nimoy had written the foreword to Landsburg's book, he did not narrate this documentary. - Source

Leonard Nimoy, host and narrator of the series, takes you to the world of Unsolved Mysteries and those strange and unusual things in the world that defy explanation and often understanding. The world is filled with unexplained mysteries, paranormal phenomena, strange creatures, and other things that go bump in the night. Although some of the shows now seem dated based on recent events and discoveries, they are still entertaining and engrossing. As the show states, its purpose is to provide "a possible explanation for the phenomenon being examined". The topics covered are varied and many, and each is worth the viewing. The show was such a hit that after it's broadcast time ended, it was rebroadcast over and and over and in 2002, the show was revived by the SciFi Channel into an hour long format with the X-Files Mitch Pileggi as the shows host. - Source

Dated History: Quite a few of the mysteries aren't so mysterious anymore.

For instance, they had an article about Carlos as "The Most Wanted Man in the World." In 1994, the Sudanese government was convinced to give him up and he was arrested in 1994 and now is serving a life sentence in prison.

Likewise, they did a story on Josef Mengele. He died in 1979 and his grave was found in 1985. Now that Mengele's identity while living in South American is known, the dramatic tales of Mengele's narrow escapes from Nazi Hunters related in the episode have turned out to be bogus.

Other subjects covered like astrology, dowsing, communicating with the dead, the predictions of Nostradamus, etc have been thoroughly discredited as utter nonsense by modern scientific skeptics.

A 1981 episode was about the search for the Titanic. The wreck was found just four years later. Of course, the episode repeats as truth the then-current theory that the Titanic sank in one piece, which was disproved when the wreck was found in two pieces. (Hence the reason pre-1985 Titanic films portray it sinking in one piece.)

An episode covers the real account of The Amityville Horror, which has now been debunked as a hoax.

Noah's Ark and the great flood is explored. Noah's flood being a myth has been the consensus of the geological community since the late Victorian era, so technically history had already marched on when the show was made. The episode acknowledges this and challenges the "nineteenth-century scientists" who disbelieved in the flood with the "twentieth-century scientists" who do. One of the "twentieth-century scientists" interviewed for this show is this guy.

There's an episode about Anastasia Romanova, including an interview with an ancient-but-still-living Anna Anderson. In 1991, DNA evidence proved Anna Anderson was not Anastasia. Furthermore, Anastasia's body was found in 2007, proving she was killed along with the rest of her family. As a side note, the episode is clearly an artifact from a time when certain issues prevented Western historians from having direct access to Russia. Come to think of it, that probably played a large part in how that legend survived so long. - Source

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