Orson Welles Hosted a NASA Documentary About Aliens in the '70s and It Is Amazing

It is damn near impossible to explain the joy that comes from watching Who’s Out There, a documentary on aliens made by NASA in 1975 starring real scientists, regular people, and then Orson Welles, pontificating into the camera. I cannot emphasize this enough: Spend half an hour watching this.


It starts off strong with its Doctor Who-esque credits sequence. Then Welles talks about becoming friends with H.G. Wells after his infamous War of the Worlds radio play. Then they interview people who had been scared by the broadcast.

It gets barely more normal as it goes on. Once Carl Sagan showed up, my head exploded. Even though a lot of this “documentary” is just Welles monologuing, it’s worth it just to hear his voice. Watch it once and then take the mind-addling substance of your choice and watch it again.

[h/t Chris Person, Reddit]

Contact the author at katharine@io9.com.



Orson Welles was such an extraordinary narrator. He continues to make all this retro paranormal, pseudo-scientific, speculative batshit highly watchable. Much in the same way Nimoy makes In Search Of... a perennial favorite.

Who could forget The Man Who Saw Tomorrow?

Or Future Shock?

Or The Late Great Planet Earth?