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Disney, UFOs, and Disclosure

“Isn’t it strange that Allan Sandler, my partner and I met with that guy at Disney. We had a conversation with him, but again what he told us about his experience it seemed like he didn’t really know very much. So, I don’t know. I don’t know what to say.” Documentary film producer and writer Robert Emenegger, who was approached by the Pentagon to produce an officially sanctioned UFO documentary during the first Nixon administration.

 

Ward Kimball, one of the original Disney animators, referred to by Walt Disney as one of the trusted "Nine Old Men," (supreme court of animation) died in Arcadia California on July 8. He was 88.

Kimball was famous for his animated creation of the characters Jiminy Cricket, The Cheshire Cat, The March Hare, The Mad Hatter, and for redesigning Mickey Mouse in 1938. He joined the Disney Studios in 1934, and rose up in the ranks to become a directing animator on such classics as "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," "Pinocchio," "Fantasia" and "Peter Pan." He directed Disney Oscar-winning shorts "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" in 1953 and "It's Tough To Be a Bird" in 1969.

A young Kimball in Disney's Studio

Unknown to many Disney watchers, Kimball was also student of UFOs and outer space. He had a large collection of UFO books and magazines, according to Navy physicist Bruce Maccabee who met with him in 1980. Maccabee had been to Kimball’s house to recruit him as one of the 10 original board members for the Fund for UFO Research. Kimball accepted the position, although he really didn’t become an active member of the board.

In the mid-fifties Kimball worked with a soon to be famous scientific advisor by the name of Wernher Von Braun to write and direct three key outer space documentaries for the "Disneyland" television series. The three documentaries were, "Man in Space," "Man and the Moon," and "Mars and Beyond." Kimball referred to them as, “the creative highpoint of my career.” According to Disney spokesman Howard E. Green, the three outer space documentaries are “often credited with popularizing the concept of the government's space program during the 1950s.’

The first of these, the 1955 “Man in Space,” was so popular (viewed by over 42 million people) that according to Kimball, President Eisenhower phoned Walt Disney from the White House looking for a copy of the production. When Disney asked Eisenhower why he wanted it Eisenhower replied, “Well, I'm going to show it to all those stove-shirt generals who don't believe we're going to be up there!”

It was Kimball, who at the July 1979 MUFON UFO symposium in California, told of his interest in the subject of UFOs. Then to a stunned audience he related the story of how the American government had approached Walt Disney himself, prior to Sputnik, to make a UFO documentary to help acclimatize the American population to the reality of extraterrestrials.

 Kimball stated in the speech that around 1955 or 1956 the USAF contacted Walt Disney. They asked him to cooperate on a documentary about UFOs. As a part of the deal, the USAF offered to supply actual UFO footage, which Disney would be allowed to use in his film.

According to Kimball’s account, Disney went along with the USAF plan, which was not that unusual. The use of Walt Disney cartoons, after all had been suggested by the 1953 CIA Robertson UFO panel as part of a public-education program involving the mass media to "strip the UFO phenomenon of its special status and eliminate the aura of mystery it has acquired."

 

 

 

 

1) Heinz Haber, Von Braun, and Willy Ley look at one of the props from "Man in Space." 2) Von Braun in "Man in Space" points to the final stage in his proposed rocket.

The discussions between the CIA people and Disney may actually have taken place, because in August 1955, Frederick C. Durant III, who was a member of the Robertson CIA panel, showed Walt Kimball's documentary "Man in Space" during the Sixth Congress of the International Astronomical Federation in Copenhagen.

Prior to the request for a UFO documentary by the defense department, Disney had shown a capacity to cooperate with the government. His studio produced 80 armed forces shorts during WW II. Films such as “Alice in Wonderland” (1951) and “Peter Pan” (1953) were put on hold while the Disney staff produced the numerous animated films, plus 1,200 insignia designs for military units. In one year, during the war, Disney turned out over four hundred thousand feet of government films.

The films ranged from one on venereal disease to one of the most popular which was the film “Victory through Air Power.” It is the film which British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Roosevelt watched together just prior to the invasion of Europe. Roosevelt was “excited by the way Disney’s aircraft masterfully wiped ships off the seas,” so it was “run again the next day, and FDR invited the Joint Staff to have a look at it.”

Disney had represented the United States government on a good-will tour of Chile, Argentina, Columbia, Brazil and Bolivia. He had allowed the United States Army to station a 700-man anti-aircraft unit at his Los Angeles studio early in the war.

Disney was also, according to a December 16, 1954 FBI document, made a SAC Contact for the FBI, which elevated him from his former position as an informant for the agency. Now he was able to gather information from other FBI informants. The confidential internal FBI memo read,

“Because of Mr. Disney’s position as the foremost producer of cartoon files in the motion picture industry, and his prominence and wide acquaintanceship in film production matters, it is believed that he can be of valuable assistance to this office . . . “

Once Walt Disney had finished his meetings with the USAF, he began to work on the requested UFO documentary for the public. He asked his animators to think up what an alien would look like. Meanwhile, he waited for the Air Force to deliver on the promised film.

After some period of time the Air Force re-contacted Disney and told him the film offer had to be withdrawn. There would be no UFO footage as promised. Kimball told researcher Stanton Friedman that once he found out there would be no delivery of UFO film, he personally spoke with an Air Force Colonel who told him, “there indeed was plenty of UFO footage, but that neither Ward, nor anyone else, was going to get access to it.” This caused a temporary halt to Disney’s UFO documentary project. As one account by Bruce Maccabee described it,

Disney cancelled the project, but by this time a lot of animated film of ‘creatures’ had been completed by his artists.”

“So Disney went ahead and made a short "documentary" anyway, featuring Jonathan Winters impersonating various "characters" associated with typical UFO lore.”

“I specifically recall Mr. Winters as an old lady/grandmother who saw a UFO and reported it... then he portrayed the Air Force officer who investigated the sightings and offered explanations. He also portrayed a little boy in a room who had a telescope looking up at the stars and, to the little boy's amazement, an alien came through the telescope into his room (I think I've got this right). Of course the boys father didn't believe that story."

The UFO documentary was never shown in public, but Kimball did show the 15-20 minute piece at the 1979 UFO Symposium. The documentary, however, did not contain any of the dramatic UFO footage everyone had been anticipating.

What is important to note about this Kimball story, relating the attempt by the United States government to “spill the beans,” is that it was not the only time such an incident had occurred. People associated with the United States government have been approaching people inside the UFO community with similar UFO film offers for decades. A close look at these “approaches” shows some sort of strange and desperate attempt to get out a message to the American population.

Text Box: Fournet, Chop and Ruppelt review script for "UFO."At exactly the same time as Kimball was producing his space documentaries, and Disney was fielding offers from the USAF to do a UFO documentary, the USAF was busy doing what they could do to manage another UFO documentary being produced by Clarence Greene and Russell Rouse.

The 92-minute documentary titled “UFO” was eventually released in May 1956. It was a film that Air Force officials thought might bring a storm of controversy, new sightings, and flying saucer hysteria. As pointed out by author David Jacobs in his book UFO Controversy in America, the Air Force set up a contingency plan to counteract the feared fallout from the documentary. The new Project Blue Book Director and “zealous UFO debunker,” Captain George T. Gregory, took the necessary steps to deal with the UFO documentary.

"Gregory kept a file of all the movie's reviews, notifications, and advertisements, carefully underlining every statement that might cause problems for the Air Force or generate interest in UFOs. From Richard Dyer McCann's review in the 'Christian Science Monitor,' Gregory singled out the statement, 'It will almost certainly stir up a storm of public controversy,' and added the marginal note, 'This is something that neither PIO (Office of Public Information) or ATIC would like to undergo again!'_ ATIC asked (Dr. J. Allen) Hynek (AF Chief UFO Consultant) and Air Force officers to review the film before its release, and asked photo experts to compare copies of the Mariana and Newhouse films with the excerpts shown in the movie. ATIC Chief Scientist A. Francis Arcier met with agency officials to discuss the preparation of a case file giving the official Air Force explanation for every sighting portrayed in the film.”

More importantly, the Air Force had not only prepared for the fallout from the film, they had actively participated in the development of the documentary. Three key former Blue Book members Albert M. Chop, Major Dewey J. Fournet, Captain Edward Ruppelt provided technical assistance to Greene and Rouse.  The three Air Force men had many meeting with the producers. Greene told researcher Robert Barrow:

"Together we went into a lengthy and exhaustive study of reports, various documents and affidavits of UFO sightings and reports from radar experts which, with some heretofore top secret motion pictures, in color, of flying saucers, form the basis of the film."

Most importantly Greene and Rouse obtained two key UFO films that had just been declassified for “UFO.” The two films, both showing daytime UFOs in flight were, the Great Falls (Montana film which showed two objects) and the Tremonton (Utah film which showed 12 objects). The films had been analyzed and presented to the CIA Robertson UFO Panel in January 1953 as the best photographic evidence held by the USAF related to UFOs. Following their appearance at the Robertson panel the Air Force chose to keep the two films classified.

The Utah film was actually declassified quietly by ATIC just before “UFO” was finished. Were the two films declassified for the UFO documentary? Were these all or part of the UFO footage that had been shown to Walt Disney? The timing was ideal, and at least Ruppelt and Fournet were involved in the analysis of at least the Utah film.

An even more direct and dramatic encounter between the Air Force and a team of documentary producers occurred in 1972-73. It was then that former USAF Project Blue Book spokesman Colonel William Coleman, and former ATIC Commander Colonel George Weinbrenner, made an offer at the Pentagon of “800 feet of film . . .as well as several thousand feet of additional material” related to UFOs. The offer was made to documentary film producers Robert Emenegger and Allan Sandler. The two men were told that they would be allowed to use the UFO footage in a special film project they had been asked to join.

Other than the fact that neither man had to sign in at the Pentagon, the whole documentary negotiation was handled like an ordinary film deal, according to Emenegger. There were no mysterious figures and calls in the middle of the night as had happened with researchers like Bill Moore. The talks to go over the details of the documentary were held in places like Colonel William Coleman’s Pentagon office.  Emenegger described some of the incredible events that occurred, as the officially sanctioned Defense Department film was being planned.

“As a matter of fact, you know, one of our agreements was to go over the script at the Pentagon, and if there was any question about anything they had the right to ask about it. Strangely enough, no one even questioned the thing about the landing at Holloman Air Force Base. It was like, “Well OK” . . . I just couldn’t believe it, (Emenegger and Sandler began as UFO disbelievers) but said, “Oh Well - I’ll go along with it.” One conversation led to another.  Everyone couldn’t have been more open about what we were doing. Anyone along the line could have questioned it, which I expected. They could have said, “What the hell are you guys talking about?” This included General George Weinbrenner, if you recall.”

The main film promised to the two men was dramatic footage of an encounter between the occupants of a landed UFO and officials at Holloman Air Force Base. It impressed Emenegger who described what he saw in 1988, “What I saw and heard was enough to convince me that the phenomenon of UFOs is real – very real.”

The project was described to the two producers as a documentary on a secret government project. When the two men discovered that the topic of the secret project would be UFOs, they were surprised because “they had assumed that the matter had been resolved with the closure of Project Blue Book in 1969.”

The documentary was to be sponsored by the Department of Defense in a claimed attempt to do a public relations turnaround, which they claimed was needed because of the Vietnam War. At least that is the story Emenegger and Sandler were told by Colonel Bill Coleman.  A number of different subjects were proposed for the defense documentaries (such as 3-D holography and laser development), but no other subject other than UFOs, was ever brought up.

The two documentary producers were told that the government was now ready to release all the facts about the alien presence on earth. They were shown and told about evidence that they could use for their tell-all documentary.  This evidence included:

q Photographs and films of UFOs.

q 800 feet of film showing a landed encounter between three aliens and Holloman Air Base officials during a landing that had reportedly occurred there in May 1971. ( The Holloman footage was first brought up with Emenegger and Sandler by Paul Chartle and Col. Lane from AFOSI) Several thousand feet of additional material was also promised.

q Photos of UFOs taken by astronauts, which NASA had formally denied the existence of.

As the documentary neared completion, the two producers waited for the promised dramatic alien landing footage taken at Holloman AFB. Colonel Bill Coleman, however, withdrew the film offer. According to what Emenegger told researcher Tim Good, Coleman had declared, “The timing was politically inappropriate, due to the Watergate scandal.”

The Emenegger/Sandler documentary, “UFOS, Past, Present, and Future” was released by Sandler Films in 1974. Lacking the actual UFO footage the documentary was forced to use standard animation, background film taken at Holloman, and “elaborate drawing of the so-called aliens.”

At least that is what the producers thought when they first ran the film. Later, indications arose that indicated 12 seconds of the actual Holloman landing might have been slipped in (for unknown reasons) as part of the “training film” material the defense department provided for the documentary.

As an interesting footnote to the Disney story, Emenegger reported that he and Sandler had also talked with the Disney people during the time period they were working on their UFO documentary. The people who they spoke to at the Disney studios “seemed to be involved and interested, but did not have any particularly startling data.”

In 1983, the United States government made yet another offer of dramatic UFO film for a UFO documentary. This new offer was made to documentary film producer Linda Moulton Howe and HBO. They were approached and offered the same Holloman landing film, along with a film of the live alien that supposedly had lived in a Los Alamos safe house from 1949-1952.

While preparing to make a UFO documentary for HBO, Howe was brought onto the Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. There, Richard Doty, a special agent stationed at Kirkland, made her a new film offer. Doty told Howe that "higher-ups" were willing to release special confirming UFO footage for her documentary. Howe described the film offer made to her,

"The government intended to release to me several thousand feet of color and black and white film taken between 1947 and 1964 showing crashed UFO discs and extraterrestrial bodies in historic footage to be included in the HBO documentary supported with official government confirmation."

As with Kimball and the Emenegger/Sandler team, the promised film was never released to Howe. Despite Doty’s claim that the government had authorized the release of film showing crashed saucers and alien bodies for use in the HBO documentary, it never materialized. Doty and others at the base told Howe that this was due to “political delays.”  When the alleged historical film footage didn’t materialized, HBO canceled the documentary, and Howe was forced to move on to other projects. 

In 1985, yet another offer of historic UFO footage was made once again to Robert Emenegger. Colonel William Coleman, now retired from the Air Force Public Relations Office and living in Florida, indicated the time was again right. The government might again be willing to release key confirming footage confirming the extraterrestrial presence on earth. Suggestions were even made that Senator Barry Goldwater, and former President Jimmy Carter “would help” obtain the release of the promised film.

One of the conditions tied to the release, however, was that prominent UFO researchers Jacques Vallee and J. Allen Hynek had to get involved in the film project. The reason for this was that a key to getting the government to release the information hinged on the film being "professional enough and interesting enough to reopen the whole subject before the American people."

By the time Hynek had been contacted by Col. Coleman in 1985 to get involved in the newest UFO film disclosure, Hynek was already familiar with the Holloman and other UFO films that would be offered to Vallee and himself.

That is because Brian and Tina Choate, who were in large part responsible for bringing Hynek to Arizona, had already seen the UFO footage – including the 1971 Holloman Air Force Base alien landing footage.

They were shown UFO footage and photos at Norton Air Force Base’s Defense Audiovisual Agency (DAVA) in the early 1980s by a General Glenn E. Miller, who asked them if they would like to check out a copy of the Holloman footage. They were expected to then pass on the word of what they had seen to Dr. J. Allan Hynek. "Miller wanted to get the word out."

General Millar, a man with two doctorate degrees, worked at DAVA along with his boss  Robert Scott - the DAVA Director. Surprisingly, both men were according to Jacques Vallee, "outright contactees." Because the Choates were "steeped heavily in contactee lore," it is believed Millar allowed them to see the Holloman film even though they were not prominent in the UFO community.

In 1985, Emenegger had seen enough to lead him to believe that dramatic UFO information and film footage was once again about to be released. That is because he too was dealing with Bob Scott and General Miller at Norton. He spoke of this new contact to get him to do another UFO documentary.

“During the Reagan administration I met with  Bob Scott and General Glenn Miller . . . they wanted another program like we had done, and we spent a lot of time discussing it. Bob Scott was a Reagan appointee . . . He had a Glen E. Miller retired general as his aide, or second in command. We spent a lot of discussion. There was a lot of stuff in the vault that he wanted to get out. I even had General Miller come to our house to meet Hynek and his group to take them out to Norton so they could look around . . . Miller was, interestingly enough, was head of one of the studios in Hollywood – one of the old ones. He got Reagan his first contract. So there were these strange connections. I met with Miller and Scott like at Denny’s restaurant. It was like “Meet at Denny’s and we will discuss this.”

Vallee, on the other hand, was “negative and skeptical” about the offer of the UFO footage being promised by the two men. He felt that if the government wanted to release the information they could simply go to someone like the national Academy of Sciences and announce the discovery of the alien presence.

Both Vallee and Hynek felt the Air Force was again playing games and were trying to use them to deliberately mislead the public. Between themselves, they concluded that they could not support Emenegger’s plan to pursue a documentary, but "if there was any chance of uncovering genuine evidence" they would pursue it "behind the scenes." Hynek and Vallee did follow-up on some interviews at Norton Air Force Base, where two "contactee" Generals assured them they could produce the UFO footage. The two researchers, however, weren’t buying, and the UFO film offer was finally withdrawn.

In the late eighties, the government was again busy making disclosure promises. This time the offers included the offer of an interview with the "keeper" of the live alien that had been held at Los Alamos, or access to a 16mm film that had been taken of the alien while he was still living. The man who had been the "keeper" had been a Captain in the early fifties when he lived with the captured alien. He was by one account now a Colonel, near death and prepared to talk. Those presented with the interview offer were documentary film producer Linda Howe, and author Bill Moore. In 1989 Howe described the “live alien” offer made to her:

I was to have talked to the Colonel, The, I now believe dead, Colonel who was then a Captain in 49’, and who retrieved the live alien from the crash at Roswell – the second Roswell crash, and took him to Los Alamos. This Colonel was to have stayed with the live extraterrestrial on a pretty-much 24-hour basis until the alien died on June 18, 1952 of unknown causes according to the briefing paper, and according to what the Flacon/Doty said on the two-hour live special. (UFO Cover-up…Live) . . . I was supposed to go and film with the Colonel.

Emenegger was not offered a film interview with the alien. Through Paul Chartle he was offered an actual chance to go to New Mexico and see the alien (EBE-3) that was now a guest of the government. Prominent author Whitley Strieber was made the offer of publicizing a 16mm film that had been taken of the alien, along with other bizarre tales. Whitley described his government encounter this way,

"I had some personal experience with them. I was approached by a retired officer from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations with all kinds of stories, how the government had taken 16mm film of an alien that they had done an operation on in 1952 to enable it to talk through otherwise atrophied vocal cords. It struck me as . . . I wouldn’t have written it as fiction because it was ridiculous. They tried to make me believe that aliens had something to do with Jesus Christ and all sorts of ridiculous things which if I had gone out into the public with would have make me look like a fool."

In most of the cases involving the live alien footage and the interview with the "keeper," there was one delay after another. Finally like the offer of UFO films made to other researchers in the seventies and early eighties, the offer was eventually withdrawn.

The final twist in this bizarre disclosure saga brings us back to the Disney animator Ward Kimball. A prominent British photographer by the name of Don Maloney reported in 1995, that in 1972 he had been in the United States and was having dinner with the head of the Disney Studios, and four of the nine original Disney animators. Ward Kimball was one of the four at the table.

While this dinner was going on, Maloney reported that he was introduced to another man, identified in one account as a "well-known Disney employee." The man offered to show Maloney some unusual film footage at his house. When Maloney saw it he described it as "old footage of UFOs," and "two beings that he was told were aliens."

UFO investigator Georgina Bruni interviewed Mike Maloney about his early 1970s encounter at Disney. She described what Maloney told her about the aliens he had been shown on the film:

"One, which appeared to be dead, was laid out on a table - or slab, the other was clearly alive and moving around on the floor. He was given no information as to the source of the footage, which he was told was "top secret", but he was in no doubt that it was a genuine piece of old film. Mike described it as being similar to the alien autopsy footage that had been shown on television. (The Santilli "Alien Autopsy" film) At no time did he say it was the same, just similar. Of the footage he personally viewed, he said: ‘If the film that I saw was a fake, it was a brilliant fake.’"

Was the "well-know" employee Kimball, or was there a second "well-known" Disney employee who was also a UFO buff? Was the Kimball Disney story told by Kimball in 1979, just a cover for a film that the Disney people had actually gotten from the government? Maloney has not yet released the name of the man who showed him the film. If it was Kimball who showed the alien film in his house, then the government now knows where that missing UFO film went.

If it wasn’t Kimball who showed Maloney the conclusive E.T. footage, then Ward Kimball, like many UFO researchers before him, had spent many decades of his life gathering strong evidence of the E.T. presence, and died before he could hear the government confirmed his suspicions.

If that is the case – then welcome to the club Ward.

Grant Cameron

P.S. When the first draft of this article was made public, despite the story that he is very sick, e-mail was receiving from Phil Klass who asked this author if he had "verified" statements attributed to Coleman, Doty, and Emenegger.

A return e-mail was sent asking Klass to "verify" contacts and conversations he had with people like Coleman, Col. David Shea, and others. At that point I would describe what had been done to "verify" statements.

Nothing has been heard from Klass since.