The Emenegger-Sandler UFO Landing Film Conspiracy

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
May 20, 2019
Last Updated
October 13, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
8 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Cover-Ups

We have examined on several occasions the subject of disinformation within the boundaries of UFO research and investigation. And also that most in the UFO community generally, if begrudgingly accept this in order to move information around in an environment where “educated paranoia” overwhelms trust out of necessity and self-preservation as much as anything else.

With this in mind, then, we will look to an incident in the early-1970s, where representatives of the United States Air Force would approach two Hollywood names with deep connections in the industry. The proposal was for the pair – one a filmmaker, the other a producer – to make a film on the phenomena of UFO sightings that were unfolding persistently across America, and indeed the rest of the world.

Depiction of the Emenegger-Sandler UFO incident

Depiction of the Emenegger-Sandler UFO incident

We have also examined before the persistent role of the intelligence services – specifically the CIA – have in Hollywood and the entertainment and media industries as a whole. And these connections are not at all limited to the UFO question. All aspects of modern life and how society views them are of interest to such shadowy aspects of the United States (and the world’s) intelligence departments.

Was the Emenegger-Sandler incident another example of such intelligence agencies reaching out from the shadows of their dark domain to assert their agenda more directly and precisely. And above all else, for what ends? Why were the events that would result in an award-nominated documentary put in motion in the first place? And, as an afterthought, how many more times might such a “direct approach” have gone ahead?

Before we examine the aforementioned events in Tinseltown, California in the early 1970s in a little more detail, check out the short video below. It looks briefly at the connections between Hollywood and the CIA.

An Offer Too Good To Be True From The United States Military

In late-1972 and early-1973, an apparent series of meetings would take place in Los Angeles, California between representatives of the United States Air Force (further promising the guaranteed cooperation of not only the Air Force, but the Navy and Army) and two respected and well-connected Hollywood figures – documentary maker, Robert Emenegger, and producer, Allan Sandler.

The purpose of these meetings was quite simple – to “encourage” the pair to make a documentary on the UFO phenomenon and the question of extraterrestrial life. Not only would they have the military’s full cooperation, they would also have access to their files, including those of the Department of Defense.

Robert Emenegger

Robert Emenegger

It certainly seemed to be an offer too good to be true. And when the promise of genuine footage of a UFO landing at Holloman Air Force base only two years previously in 1971 being handed over to them, neither could afford to turn down such an offer. The documentary would surely be “groundbreaking”, to say the least.

While Emenegger and Sandler had worked together on several occasions and were good friends, the filmmaker was in no doubt as to the “shady” aspects of his producer partners life. He would state that:

…(he) had very strange connections (and) did things for the CIA, and maybe even the FBI. They all seemed to work together! [1]

Perhaps Emenegger’s thesis while a college student at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) titled The Influence of Motion Pictures On Public Behavior should be a clue as to why the United States military wanted to pursue such a project. And why they wished him to make it.

According to some, the intelligence services were beginning to shape public opinion and expectations from the shadows and without anyone being aware of it.

Unprecedented Access-  “We Could Go Anywhere And Ask Any Questions!”

Upon arriving at Norton Air Force Base the two men were immediately taken to a “clean room used by the CIA” – designed so that “there was no way anyone could eavesdrop” on events taking place inside. It was here where the proposal happened, including the promise of the UFO landing footage.

Furthermore, the footage also showed several of the “alien visitors”. And their meeting with the representatives from the United States government.

Picture claiming to show a UFO landing

Does this show a UFO landing?

The pair would ultimately get to work. And while they would have to wait for the actual footage to be released to them, they were free in the meantime to go through any files they wished to look at, as well as interview and speak to any members of the military they felt necessary.

The pair would even go to the alleged location of the aforementioned landing and meeting place of the 1971 incident. They would also speak with several military members and would even witness “archive” footage of UFOs appearing during missile launches.

Even NASA would volunteer information and even photographs alleging to show “spacecraft” taken during their missions in space. Emenegger would recall:

We had carte blanche to go anywhere (and) ask any questions. There were no restrictions put on us!

Several high-ranking military members, including Colonel William Coleman from the infamous Project Blue Book. Indeed, Coleman called the orders that all branches of the military had to cooperate with the project “unprecedented”. This should perhaps alert us to the notion that there was very much a hidden agenda at play. One from the shadows of the intelligence services.

Big Players With Connections And Interests Everywhere!

Many Hollywood movies, particularly those, whether in a comedic sense or a serious one, that focus on the industry or the surreal location itself for its story or backdrop, often portray “big players” as people who have interests and connections going in all directions. Some of which may be questionable, perhaps even on the edge of legal.

Such portrayals are undoubtedly fictitious. The fact is, though, such people do exist, if on a much more toned-down and unexciting plateau. One such person, if Emenegger’s description of him is accurate is Allan Sandler, the producer of the documentary. In fact, according to Emenegger, in the first instance, the Air Force would “approach” Sandler. He would then take the idea to him.

A depiction of the landing incident

A depiction of the landing incident

Was this first “approach”, in reality, a briefing for a covert operation?

There are also further reasons to believe the intelligence services’ involvement in the operation. Emenegger, for example, would claim several years after filming the documentary that he and his crew were “shadowed” by a “CIA courier” constantly. The filmmaker even obtained the courier’s name, Dick Beske, who he would claim was “always hanging around” taking obvious note every last detail of their activities.

Video Footage Suddenly Withdrawn

Perhaps predictably – certainly in retrospect – the promises of the thousands of feet of UFO landing footage were suddenly withdrawn as the project reached its completion. To Emenegger, though, the betrayal was exactly that. He would state how he felt like “we had egg on our face”. And outright “cheated” at this last-minute change to their agreement. And his frustration is not only understandable, it is likely accurate.

Had the United States military – or those acting in its name – really ever planned to have over such “earth-shattering” footage? For their part, the US Air Force claimed that the Watergate scandal and changed the political environment. So much so, that to release the footage would be “inappropriate” – reasoning that is fuzzy at best.

Underneath all of this, then, is why would the powers that be approach such well-known (in the industry) and connected Hollywood names to make a documentary on UFOs? Granting unprecedented access in the process to highly sensitive information. On a subject they officially claimed had no credence? What was the “hidden agenda” in this bizarre situation?

And might, as many researchers continue to suggest, the real overriding power pulling the strings of such arrangements, actually reside in the intelligence networks as opposed to any branch of the military? Given what we know of the intelligence agencies influence in Hollywood, it is certainly not that much of a stretch of the imagination.

You can check out the video below. We should treat this apparent “original footage” with a pinch of salt. However, given everything we know about disinformation, it certainly isn’t inconceivable that original footage would be released to the public in such a way. If only to help discredit any future footage, of this incident or another one.

A Plethora Of Reasons For Secrecy And Disclosure

Whether or not the above footage is genuine or not is open to debate. It would appear, however, that there certainly are several possible ulterior reasons for such a project to take place.

Was it, as some researchers believe, a way of testing the water? To see what the public’s reaction to the UFO and alien question? Might it have been the first in a long process of disclosure? One that will depend very much of the social, political, cultural, and even economic climate of the times?

Or was the project, in spite of the apparent access to military, government, and intelligence files, aimed at discrediting those wished to investigate such sightings? Even of the whole subject of Unidentified Flying Objects?

A picture showing an apparent UFO

Does this picture show a real UFO?

If any of these scenarios prove to be the case, who ultimately makes that final decision? Who decides to press on with such disclosure? Or to continue in efforts of disinformation? Given the constant change at the White House, it wouldn’t appear to be the President of the United States? Nor any other nation’s leader, for that matter.

Might, then, the overriding conspiracy, at least to some researchers, of a world shadow government (what some people refer to as the New World Order) be more accurate than we might think? And might the orchestration of the Emenegger documentary be just one of many such orchestrations? Attempts to either manipulate or influence behavior or beliefs? Or to communicate important information as discreetly as possible?

Evidence Of The “Behind-The-Scenes” Reality Of The Shadow Government?

Before we turn our attention back to the documentary following Emenegger and Sandler’s research, what should we make of the notion that many of the themes and ideas in Hollywood movies are, in fact, reflections of the alleged secret, behind-the-scenes reality of the shadow governments and black budget projects that unfold daily out of view of all but a select few?

We have examined these notions on several occasions. Essentially, that wherever the public thinks we are collectively in terms of advanced technology, in secret and out of the public arenas, some select scientists and engineers are working with technology that is (at least) thirty years in front of what the public thinks exists, perhaps more.

A depiction of the landing incident with occupants

A depiction of the landing incident with occupants

And what’s more, these types of statements are not the ravings of conspiracy theorists. Ones mad from the confirmation of their own beliefs. Indeed, some come from several very high-ranking, well-educated, and serious-minded people. Many of whom have direct experience in such shadow government-sponsored black budget projects. And have gone on record stating such an assertion. That “anything the public can imagine” we can already do.

With that in mind, then, and with appropriate reason and judgment, let’s turn our attention to Hollywood. What should we think about some of the plots, devices, and overall storylines of some of the far-fetched blockbusters of the last fifty years? Might there really be a little more truth in such fictional classics than even the most open-minded persons would even think?

An Event That “Might Happen” Or “Could Have Happened Already?”

The documentary would be released, however. Under the title UFOs, Past, Present, and Future in 1974, with a book also accompanying the release. And while the video footage was missing from the finished product, the information put across, and the people who were putting it across from such high plateaus in the military and the Pentagon was eye-opening, to say the least.

Regarding the alleged 1971 landing at Holloman Air Force Base, the dangling carrot that enticed both Emenegger and Sandler to become involved in the project, it was put across as some that “might happen in the future”, or that “could have happened already”.

Is this a case of the truth hidden in plain sight, using the outlandish nature of the account as cover? Or might there be another truth or valuable piece of information? One that the attention the apparent Holloman landing incident overshadows?

An already conspiracy-soaked case would take another twist. Several frames of the original military UFO landing footage was in the documentary. Right in the middle of the “dramatic reconstruction” of the incident. Furthermore, although it isn’t clear how Emenegger got them, he states the air force was aware of the frames. And what’s more, they would even authorize their use.

You can check out the 1974 documentary UFOs, Past, Present, and Future below. It was ultimately re-released as UFOs It Has Begun in the late-1970s following a surge of interest in the subject. Such blockbuster movies as Close Encounters of the Third Kind were partly responsible for this.


1 When the Government Gave Hollywood Footage of A “Real” Alien Landing, Robbie Graham, Mysterious Universe, January 28th, 2019

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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1 Comment

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  • Dr Tim Brigham says:

    Likely those promising the footage never saw the compete footage either. In the end I think it never existed, but was talked up on the inside until this was realized. Just my opinion

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