Saturday, June 3, 2017

Saucer Attack !

Saucer Attack !
by Eric Nesheim and Leif Nesheim
Kitchen Sink Press, 1997

Saucer Attack ! (128 pp) was published by Kitchen Sink Press in 1997.

The book was inspired by the large collection of 1950s toys and memorabilia collected over the years by the lead author and Madison, Wisconsin resident Eric Neisham. With his son Leif recruited as a co-author, Neisham wrote Saucer Attack as a homage to a memorable era in 50s pop culture in the U.S.
At 7 1/2 x 10 inches, this is not a coffee table book, nor even an 'art' book per se; but it is a quality book, with glossy paper and very good reproductions. Kitchen Sink Press always took care with quality of their books.

'Saucer Attack! has ten chapters, organized in rough chronological order, starting with the 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast by Orson Wells, and the increasing prominence of aliens and their spaceships in the Pulp Era of sf. 

A subsequent chapter covers the signal event of the Flying Saucer Craze, businessman Kenneth Arnold's observation of flying saucers near Mt Rainier, Washington, in June 1947, which led to the explosion of interest in flying saucers that was a hallmark of the 50s and early 60s. 
Remaining chapters deal with Flying Saucer culture in movies, television, print media, toys, and comics.

The Neishams and their collaborators in the pop culture collector community have an impressive display of memorabilia within the pages of 'Saucer Attack !' Baby Boomers are sure to remember at least some of these items from their childhood days.

For me, it's seeing media from the classic TV show The Invaders that revives long-dormant memories.........I was only a kid at the time I watched it in the mid-60s, and I only have vague impressions of those few episodes I saw, but they made a lasting impression on me.
Interestingly, the flying saucer design used in The Invaders originated not with the show's production team, but in the memoirs of pioneering UFOlogist George Adamski (1891 - 1965), who in December 1952 released what he claimed was a photograph he had taken of an actual UFO (below). 

Detractors scoffed that Adamski had simply repurposed some light bulbs and a surgical lamp......but True Believers in Flying Saucers held firm to the legitimacy of Adamski's claims. Needless to say, 'Saucer Attack' covers Adamski and other individuals who, in the 50s and 60s, paved the way for the 'contactee' and 'abductee' narratives that have become an integral part of pop culture.

Scanning the books and comics and magazines showcased in the pages of "Saucer Attacks' will surely trigger some degree of acquisitiveness on the part of the reader. However, many of the pop culture artifacts on display are rare, and getting rarer, with each passing year, and thus getting quite expensive as a result. 

All I can advise is that if, in your trips to used bookstores, or your examination of the boxes of older comics stored under the shelves in your local comics shop, you come upon some back issues of Western / Gold Key's UFO Flying Saucers, or Dell's The Outer Limits, or Eando Binder's Menace of the Saucers, you may want to grab them.......... 

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