The Project U.F.O. TV show was a 60 minute sci-fi series on NBC about two U.S. Air Force officers who investigated reports of UFO sightings. In the style of Jack Webb (Executive Producer), stories were taken from the USAF's "Project Bluebook" files and dramatized. The producer of the program, Col. William T. Coleman, USAF (Ret.) was the former head of "Project Bluebook". The opening sequence of the Project U.F.O. TV show contained pictures of flying saucer diagrams while "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel" played as background music. As that happened, Jack Webb gave the following opening narrative:
"Ezekiel saw the wheel. This (indicating the UFO diagrams) is the wheel he said he saw. These are Unidentified Flying Objects that people say they are seeing now. Are they proof that we are being visited by civilizations from other stars? Or just what are they? What you are about to see is part of a 20-year search."In the very first episode, Major Gatlin told Staff Sergeant Fitz that their job was to do their best to prove that a UFO sighting was real by eliminating every other possible explanation. He explained that it would not be wise to approach a sighting with the idea of proving that it was not an alien encounter because you can't prove a negative.Major Gatlin also told Fitz that he himself had once seen something in the sky that he couldn't explain on a mission as an Air Force pilot.
The Project U.F.O. TV show was loosely based on the real-life Air Force program called, "Project: Blue Book".Jack Webb ("Dragnet") created the Project U.F.O. TV show and he spent a considerable amount of effort researching actual Air Force files to get ideas for episodes. In the first season, the show reflected those file pretty well. Most of the sightings were explained with just a few that couldn't be explained but certainly didn't prove the existence of alien visitors. Then in the second season, Major Gatlin and Captain Ryan (who had replaced Sergeant Fitz) actually saw a U.F.O. for themselves! The storylines in season two typically ended with a shocking revelation that indicated that the sighting really was an alien craft or some other phenomena outside of conventional science.
Project U.F.O. aired its first episode in February of 1978 on Sundays from 8:00 to 9:00PM on NBC. The "Wonderful World of Disney" was shortened from two hours to one hour to make room for Project U.F.O. In its second season, Project U.F.O. was moved to Thursday nights from 8:00 to 9:00PM where it had to compete with some very popular shows. ABC was starting out that hour with "Mork and Mindy" and CBS was airing "The Waltons".
Brick Price Movie Miniatures (now Wonderworks) usually made the UFOs used on Project U.F.O. from parts assembled from stock model kits that you could buy at a department store, but they did it well! Project U.F.O. was the last TV series created by Jack Webb and the last one produced by his production company, "Mark VII Limited".