WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
During the height of the flying saucer craze of the 1950’s, a strange subculture arose of people claiming to be in contact with benevolent space brothers from another planet. Mostly Venus. This became known as the Contactee Movement.
The most well-known of these contactees was a man named George Adamski, however, there were other “Georges” to follow: George Hunt Williamson, George King and, of course, George Van Tassel, who organized the infamous “Giant Rock Interplanetary Spacecraft Convention” in the Mojave Desert near – where else? – Landers, California.
Landers, landing, get it?
By the way, what’s with all these guys named George claiming to be in contact with space brothers? Hell, there’s even a George Green who, since at least the 90’s, has been actively involved in this shit as well. What is there some kind of “George Conspiracy”?
But we digress.
What we’re really here to talk about is Farewell Good Brothers, a 1992 documentary that humorously chronicles this fringe and, if we’re being honest, weirdly fascist element of American society.
Farewell Good Brothers is an off-beat, irreverent and often hilarious portrait of a few people who, back in the 1950’s, claimed to have been contacted friendly visitors from the planet Venus. Theirs is a world of mysterious government conspiracies, strange religious rites and unbelievable close encounters; a world inhabited by an assortment of charlatans, true believers, Christian fundamentalists, and messianic cults
Digitally remastered in 2007 by the filmmaker Robert Stone, Farewell Good Brothers profiles many of these individuals who, for whatever reason (Cold War paranoia, fear of atomic annihilation, etc.), began to spread a “gospel of salvation from outer space”, and attracting quite a following in their day.
Though the contactee movement has pretty much died out, much of the UFO and so-called New Age mythology that exists today can be traced back to these groups and their strange messages of peace and love from above.
Benevolent messages from an advanced race of beings looking out for our welfare? Or a nefarious intelligence psyop from very earthbound agencies trying to inject authoritarian ideas into a gullible population?
Join us as we discuss these theories and more in this, our 10th podcast of the magical and mysterious in our world.
WHAT DID WE THINK?
This was one of our favorite UFO documentaries back in the day, as it really did capture the often bizarre world of ufology and its followers. In some ways it still does, although we have to admit that things just ain’t what they used to be since the advent of the Inter-tubes.
Even in the 90’s, people would often get together in groups or attend seminars and share stories of strange events, government conspiracies, and validate each others sense of wonder and paranoia. Now everything’s done online and, well, that thing called face to face human interaction is missing.
Hey, kooks need people too!
As the filmmakers’ description states, Farewell Good Brothers definitely takes an off-beat and irreverent look into this strange subculture, juxtaposing the contemporary interviews with archival footage from the early days and adding in some Hollywood film clips to humorous effect.
And it’s certainly effective in capturing the spirit of the whole phenomenon, especially when viewing it all from a sociological perspective.
What the documentary doesn’t do (and this may be because the filmmaker was unaware of the connection, or just wasn’t making that kinda’ film), is to delve too deeply into the more sinister elements to this whole movement. Although, to be fair, it did hint to some of this during the interviews, especially with Howard Menger, one of the early contactees who wasn’t named George.
Instead, it takes a, gee isn’t this funny and interesting approach to its subject, and leaves the viewer with the impression that it’s all just some harmless quirk of human nature to believe in weird things. Oh, there go those UFO nuts again.
That’s certainly true, but what it doesn’t take into account, was how many of the early contactees were intimately connected to fascists within the intelligence community, both here and abroad, and that these messages from space brothers were/are virulently racist and totalitarian. For more on this topic, we suggest studying the works of Jacques Vallee, Joseph P. Farrell, and Dave Emory.
By the way, this isn’t a direct criticism of the film itself, just an observation based on years of looking into this topic. But it’s worth mentioning, because most people interested in UFO’s have no idea the connection exists.
The bottom line is that Farewell Good Brothers does a pretty good job of tackling its subject matter, despite these shortcomings. It’s both informative and wildly entertaining. So, definitely check it out.
p.s Luckily it’s available for free on Vimeo (the older VHS version you can see on Youtube), however, why it doesn’t have a distribution deal through Netflix or Amazon is almost as baffling as the UFO phenomenon itself.