I just thought I’d take a minute to wax nostalgic about In Search Of, the 70s show hosted by Leonard Nimoy, aka the only show that comes close in nostalgia/rewatch value to UM for me. The original name of this blog was going to be “in search of unsolved mysteries” so I could talk about both shows and not stray off topic, but meh. 😛
If you are a UM fan and have never watched ISO, you are missing out. The show ran from 1977 to 1982 and covered all sorts of topics. Some of them are interesting or historical, while others are total garbage. However, every crackpot theory, no matter how weird, is treated with the same amount of possible legitimacy and respect as everything else.
ISO aired in reruns throughout the 90s on A&E and the History channel, which is where I watched it, and I found it fascinating and a little scary. Watching it now as an adult with a well-seasoned bullshit filter makes the viewing experience that much more fun. Some of the 40-year-old predictions of the future are highly entertaining as well. My favorite episode, the one about killer bees, is a good example of this.
Where UM looks somewhat dated in regard to hair, clothing, cars etc, ISO looks and feels extremely dated, and that adds to the kitsch for me. We love to poke at Nimoy’s pornstache and hideous wardrobe. The show’s master tapes have apparently not been well-cared-for over the years and no remastering was done for the DVD release, making the overall quality somewhat akin to the old 70s filmstrips I grew up watching at school in the 90s.
But the music? I unironically love the lovely synthy music. I think it’s the only category where ISO outdoes UM. Someone else liked it, too, enough to produce a “soundtrack” of disco remixes from the show.
There are certain episodes/moments that are not easy to watch and would never fly on TV today. The faith healing episode, for instance, is one of several that features footage of animals being wounded for the purposes of scientific testing that to me seems downright cruel. I usually skip this one when watching.
The subject matter isn’t exactly the same, but there were several instances where UM and ISO covered the same stories. Some notable examples include Anastasia (the Anastasia episode is great as it features interviews with Anna Anderson and her husband, who were extremely eccentric), Amelia Earhardt, DB Cooper, Fredeick Valentich, POW Charles Shelton, and the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy theory. They also covered phenomena such as the Nazca lines, Ogopogo, King Tut’s curse, Bigfoot, and more.
But, seriously, if you’ve never seen this show and you like UM, give it a try. The whole series is easily found on YouTube, and you can buy the whole series in a boxed set of buggy, relatively inexpensive DVDs.