What Did Hollywood Aliens Look Like Before The Roswell UFO Incident

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 - 3:31PM
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 - 3:31PM
What Did Hollywood Aliens Look Like Before The Roswell UFO Incident
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Have you ever wondered why for the past 40 years or so, Aliens have almost exclusively been depicted in pop-culture as completely hairless green-bodied beings with bug-eyes, and an elongated head? What served as the inspiration for this image? Did real-life alien encounters influence Hollywood or did these big-screen depictions inspire a wave of pretenders claiming to have met these little green men? 

The answer may be a simple one. In 1947 the Roswell UFO incident became the watershed moment in Ufology, but it wasn't until 30 years later that it really hit the mainstream when investigations claimed an alien body was recovered at the site of the crash. There is evidence that whatever the crash actually was, the US Military underwent an extensive operation to clean up the site, and cover-up the event. But the influence of the Roswell incident stretches far further than conspiracy theories, it may have helped shape our perceptions of extraterrestrial beings for the past 4 decades.

The titular alien from the 2011 movie 'Paul' was an homage to Roswellian ideals of alien beings.


So how did popular culture depict alien beings before the Roswell UFO incident hit the big time in the late 1970s? A quick exploration of movies from the 1900s to the 1970s shows us that big-screen aliens were far from homogenized, ranging from robotic creatures to a brooding David Bowie.



Moon aliens from "A Trip to the Moon" 




Those weird utopian martians in the Danish film, "Himmelskibet" 




Her soviet constructivist Highness, the "Queen of Mars" 



And her edgy Martian pals as depicted in "Aelita" 




From the 1936 'Flash Gordon' film, we bring you 'Ming the Merciless', the evil emperor of Planet Mongo, and Flash Gordon's arch nemesis




Aliens from neighboring planets as imagined on four different pages of 1939-1940 Fantastic Adventures Editions




Klaatu, the humanoid alien messenger emerges from his flying saucer in 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' (1951)




The giant flesh-eating alien-plants from "Day of the Triffids."


David Bowie as the sexiest damn alien you'll ever see in"The Man Who Fell to Earth



Want to see more the post-1978 aliens?  Browse the Outerplacesmovie database, conveniently categorized by decade!

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