The world lost an icon, Betty White, on New Year’s Eve when she passed away weeks before her 100th birthday on January 17. In 2014, she became Guinness World Record certified, having the longest television career for any female entertainer spanning seven decades. She was factually older than sliced bread and attributed her longevity to refusing to eat “anything green.”
White’s earliest appearances on television included her own short-lived variety show, The Betty White Show, in the 1950s. She was one of Hollywood’s first female producers. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after White refused to bow to racists who objected to seeing Arthur Duncan, a black dancer.
A self-described “cockeyed optimist,” she always accentuated the positive. You can see her convivial personality shining through, lightning-fast wit, comedic genius, and endless talent from the start. She was a trailblazer and a fierce truth seeker. For example, she once observed in “If You Ask Me”:
“You can lie to anyone in the world and even get away with it, perhaps, but when you are alone and look into your own eyes in the mirror, you can’t sidestep the truth. Always be sure you can meet those eyes directly.”
When The Betty White Show aired, the campaign of stigma surrounding the UFO subject had not yet fully taken root. A few years previously, an alleged UFO crash occurred in 1945 after the first detonation of a nuclear device in New Mexico, part of Project Trinity and the Manhattan Project. Two years later, the Roswell Daily Record reported a flyer saucer.
Betty White Discusses a UFO Sighting
Shortly before UFOs became taboo in the media, White talked about the subject on the Betty White Show. In one episode (see video below), she interviewed a young Ralph Richardson for “Wish Day.” The boy’s favorite show was Space Patrol, and she introduced him to Cadet Happy from the show.
“Ralph you weren’t the fella I heard saw a flying saucer were you?” she asked the young man.
“Hm hmm, it’s true too,” he responded.
“I’d like to hear about it, I’m very interested in them,” says White.
Then, Richardson describes seeing the UFO in Los Angeles, with a description that might sound like today’s TicTac image.
“It’s round and white,” he tells White, saying another witness saw the object.
“Were you scared?” she asks.
“Why should I be scared?” he says.
“Well, that’s the best answer I’ve ever heard,” says White. “I’ll buy that answer right this minute. Why should you be scared? Maybe somebody’s trying to get acquainted with us. You can’t judge; you shouldn’t be scared of that, should you?” she says.
Then, Richardson received all sorts of gifts before meeting Cadet Happy, played by Lyn Osborn. He presents Richardson with an official space helmet from the show and other gifts.
The actor was also known for Cosmic Man (1959) and Invasion of the Saucer Men (1957). Sadly, he died not long after, in August 1958, following brain surgery for a tumor.
See the video below shared by PayneTV.com (interview with Ralph Richardson about 18 minutes in):
Betty White and Donald Keyhoe
On another episode of The Betty White Show in 1954, she interviewed former Marine Air Corps Major Donald Keyhoe. He was the director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena investigating UFOs. Also, he authored “Flying Saucers from Outer Space,” recording “astounding facts behind the greatest mystery of our age.”
A caption from the Daily Herald from Circleville, Ohio, discussed what Keyhoe said to the audience.
“Former Marine Corps Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe tells Betty White and her TV network audience that flying saucers do exist and that our government has set up a Mars committee to investigate life on that planet. He also said the Air Force is withholding information which would prove saucers do exist. Sighting of foreign missiles are on the increase, he declared. (International Soundphoto)”
In a picture shared to Reddit, we see Betty White sitting with Donald Keyhoe, circa 1954. Both appear to have somber, serious expressions.
The footage for the full interview isn’t on YouTube, so far as this writer could tell. It would be fascinating to see it in its entirety.
Keyhoe had also appeared with Mike Wallace to discuss his objections to the military’s categorization of the phenomenon as nothing more than “flights of fancy” and not “celestial saucers,” as Wallace put it. In a 1966 article in the Washington Post, Keyhoe said, “his goal was to get the Air Force to support the committee’s contentions that UFOs exist.”
Unfortunately, Keyhoe’s organization went bankrupt, and he retired in 1969, the same year the Air Force claimed to abandon UFO research. In 1988, at age 91, he died of pneumonia and cardiac arrest in New Market, Virginia.
See more about this amazing interview from YouTube:
UFOs on the Golden Girls
In 1988, the topic of UFOs appeared on The Golden Girls in “The One That Got Away.” While playing cards on the lanai, Rose Nylund (Betty) and Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) see a UFO overhead.
“Did you see that, Dorothy? It was a UFO!” Rose says.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” says Dorothy, who plays it off.
Then, Rose says, “But I want to be the one to go,” hoping to go onboard the ship.
Later, Rose tries to lure the UFO back with a “flashlight and a pie pan.”
Later, Major Barker visits the house to look into the UFO sighting. Previously, Rose says she went down to the military base, and “he said they’d check into it.” In response, Dorothy says, “This is gonna end up in all the tabloids.”
Nevertheless, a smitten Dorothy says she saw a blue triangular UFO that left a yellow exhaust trail after Major Barker questions her.
“There is a perfectly simple explanation for what you saw,” says Major Barker.
“Well, I always knew there would be,” says Dorothy.
“What you and Rose Nylund saw was a UFO,” he replies to a shocked Dorothy.
In another scene, Rose sees Dorothy looking through binoculars “pondering the universe.”
“I’ve been doing the same thing,” says Rose. “…thinking how wonderful it would be if there really were aliens… maybe it’d be just like Cocoon… they’d take us away… and we’d never grown old…”
“See, I don’t know. I like my life,” says Dorothy. “I mean – I’m not president or anything, I’m just a teacher… a substitute teacher… a divorced substitute teacher… who can’t even afford her own place to live – BEAM ME UP!”
Then, Rose asks, “Dorothy, you believe ?”
I think it’s wonderful there are other beings out there’
She replies, “Rose, they checked out what we saw and it actually was a UFO,” leaving Rose’s mouth hanging open. After chasing Dorothy into the house, Rose goes on to say:
“I think it’s wonderful there are other beings out there trying to meet us. They might have solutions to all our problems, cures for our diseases, new storylines for Alf,” she says.
“They might also have tentacles on their legs so they can suck all the blood out our heads,” says an incredulous Dorothy. Then, she apologizes, saying, “Part of me is very excited but part of me is petrified.”
“Major Barker does not want us to say a word about this to anyone,” Dorothy implores Rose. “Until we hear from him again. Not a word,” she adds.
Later, Dorothy tells Rose a newspaper article explained the UFO as a secret bomber. Shortly afterward, another UFO flies over the famous Golden Girls lanai. However, Dorothy is asleep and misses it.
Featured image: Screenshots via YouTube