Magazine April 20, 2020, Issue

The Great Coronavirus Non-Freakout

(Roman Genn)
Americans were ready, by gadget and by character

Pretty much every space-alien movie or television show — from Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Mork & Mindy — had the same basic setup: There are aliens and spaceships and ray guns and flying saucers — these things exist — but if people discover this, the country will freak out.

Bill Bixby, the swinging bachelor in the old sitcom My Favorite Martian, hides the identity of the Martian visitor, played by veteran character actor Ray Walston, from everyone for the same reason that the little boy in E.T. doesn’t tell anyone that he’s found a real live space alien

This article appears as “The Great Non-Freakout ” in the April 20, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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