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.
Something to Consider
If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.