Edwards (August 4, 1908 - June 23, 1967) was
an American writer and broadcaster,
and one of the pioneers in radio. Late in his
life, he became well-known for a series of popular books
about UFOs and other paranormal phenomena.
life and career
in Mattoon, Illinois, Edwards broadcast on pioneering
radio station KDKA AM in the 1920s, making him one of
the earliest professional radio broadcasters.
the 1930s, Edwards continued his career in radio, but
also worked a variety of other jobs, including a stint
as a professional golfer. He was hired by the U.S. Treasury
Department during World War II to promote war bond sales.
National radio, UFOs and controversy
WWII, the Mutual Broadcasting System hired Edwards to
host a nationwide news and opinion program sponsored by
Federation of Labor. Edwards' program was
a success, and became nationally popular.
1948, Edwards received an advance copy of Flying
Saucers Are Real, a magazine article written
by retired U.S. Marine Corps. Major
Donald E. Keyhoe. Though already interested
in the UFO reports that had earned widespread publicity
since 1947, Edwards was captivated by Keyhoe's claims
that the U.S. military knew the saucers were actually
began mentioning UFOs on his radio program, and wrote
several books on the subject.
was dismissed from the radio program in 1954, for reasons
that remain uncertain. His interest in UFOs was believed
to be a factor, but Edwards's editor and friend Rory Stuart
wrote, "[AFL President] George Meany insisted
that Frank Edwards not mention any [competing labor union]
CIO labor leaders on his program. He flatly refused and
was fired." In spite of thousands of letters
in protest of his dismissal, Edwards was not reinstated.
his dismissal from Mutual, Edwards continued working in
radio, mostly at smaller local stations. He created and
hosted a syndicated radio program, Stranger
Than Science, which discussed UFOs and other
Forteana. In 1959,
he published a book with the same title, largely a collection
of his radio broadcasts.
1955 to 1959 and from 1961 to 1962, Edwards served as
a commentator for WTTV television in Indianapolis. He
was on radio station WXLW, also in Indianapolis, in 1964
and returned to television on WLWI in 1965. His book Strange
People recalls a television interview that
was videotaped on October 3, 1961 with psychic Peter
Hurkos. It is not known if any of these programs
survive. During his time at WTTV, his program was the
subject of experiments in subliminal advertising during
1958. The movie preceding his show contained the subliminal
message "Watch Frank Edwards" inserted along
with similar messages for bacon. Neither was a success
in changing viewer habits. It is unknown if Edwards knew
of the experiments.
made an appearance on the Johnny Carson-era Tonight Show,
in October, 1966. The episode was guest-hosted by singers
Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. Although Carson saved
videos of the show past 1969, this episode is presumed
lost. On that telecast, Gorme made references to the fact
that she enjoyed various science-fiction shows, like Star
Trek and Time Tunnel,
and Edwards made various references to experts' sightings
of UFOs to promote his then-current book, Flying
is one of the myths of Ufology that Edwards died on June
24, 1967, exactly 20 years after Kenneth
Arnold's famous first "flying saucer"
sighting. In fact, Edwards had died a few minutes before
midnight on June 23, but his death was announced at the
Congress of Scientific Ufologists in New York City
on June 24, 1967.
authored by Frank Edwards include:
My First 10,000,000 Sponsors
Strangest of All,
New York: Lyle Stuart, 1956.
Stranger than Science,
New York: Lyle Stuart, 1959.
New York: Lyle Stuart, 1964.
Flying Saucers - Serious
Business, New York: Lyle Stuart, 1966.
Flying Saucers - Here