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Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 7

March 13, 2011 | 10:43 pm





  Feb. 26, 1942, Searchlights  

  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

These days, many of The Times photos and negatives are held at UCLA. Here’s one of two negatives that Scott Harrison of our photo department got from the archives. As I said at the beginning, the searchlight photo has been heavily retouched, but it is authentic to some extent.

ALSO

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 1

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! -- Part 2


Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 3

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 4

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 5

Another Good Story Ruined: Saucers Over L.A.! – Part 6

Another Good Story Ruined: The Battle of Los Angeles

 




 
  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

We can tell this is a copy negative because of the crop marks. Notice that the blacked-out skyline has already been painted in.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

It’s not quite as clear whether the searchlights have been airbrushed.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Copy Negative  

But instead of blobs of paint, the photo has round spots of light, perhaps lens flares or some type of reflection in the lens.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Negative 2  

This is another negative from UCLA and it doesn’t appear to have been retouched.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Negative 2  

This time, there’s no paint evident along the bottom of the picture.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Negative 2  

No airbrushing is evident on the beams from the searchlights.

  Feb. 26, 1942, Negative 2  

Now we see exactly what Marvin Miles said of that night: “But the objects in the sky slowly moved on, caught in the center of the lights like the hub of a bicycle wheel surrounded by gleaming spokes.”

And so we find at last a powerful, authentic image. One that was certainly too dark and too subtle to retain its details when published in a newspaper. Those of us who weren’t around can only wonder what it must have been like to see this and experience the Battle of Los Angeles first-hand in 1942.

Is it a UFO? As far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing but a convergence of light beams with some randomly clustered dots of light.  Another good story ruined.


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