|Newsclippings & Transcripts
January 31, 1953
More Discs Sighted
By Southland Fliers
Mysterious flying discs reportedly are making day-and-
night flights over Southern California. Veteran fliers Friday
reported they observed four silver discs flying in formation.
Investigations of the unex-
plained discs are reported to be
under way by the Marine Corps,
Army Air Force and CAA officials.
The four discs flying in formation
were observed at 2 p. m.
Thursday by the crew of a
Northrop Aviation Corp. plane.
Only a few hours before, an
El Toro Marine Corps jet pilot
chased a disc over Long Beach
but was unable to catch up with
the speedy object.
Those aboard the Northrop
plane were Rex Hardy Jr., former.
Navy lieutenant commander,
Pilot Jay Mattis and Photographer
The trio observed the four discs
while they were flying 9000 feet
above Malibu. They watched for
five minutes, after which the
mystery objects disappeared.
"They were of aluminium color
and were in a definite flight pattern,"
said Hardy, a Northrop
test pilot who has logged more
than 4000 hours in the air. "The
saucers were about the size of a
B-36, but circular. They were
"They definitely were not balloons
nor any type of aircraft
I have ever seen. If they had
been balloons they wouldn't have
been moving so fast. Their speed
was terrific. They traveled 100
miles in about five minutes.
"I'm a confirmed believer now
in the 'saucers' or whatever you
want to call them."
The CAS reported that there
was a possibility that the four
"discs" seen by Hardy were four
C-97 transports. known to be in
the area at that time.
Another report on flying
saucers came from Mrs. Earl
Buck, who resides in Building 3
at the Portsmouth Naval.Housing
project at San Pedro.
She said that a mysterious disc
appeared northwest of- the project
'at approximately 8:30 p. m.
Wednesday and Thursday.
"It was 12 times as big as a
star and an off-color white," Mrs.
Buck said. "After about a half
hour it turned red with a green
ring around it and moved off
like a flash.
'I told people about it after
seeing it for the first time and
no one would believe me," she
reported. "But on the second
night, about 24 other people gathered
and- we all saw it."
Rex Hardy Jr.
Just 21 and recently graduated from Stanford University, Rex Hardy was the youngest of the initial Life photographers, a group that included such famed shooters as Alfred Eisenstaedt, Peter Stackpole and Carl Mydans.
Hardy was initially based in Los Angeles and much of his work involved taking pictures of Hollywood stars, including James Stewart, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford and Clark Gable. Hardy later worked out of the magazine's New York office.
Three of Hardy's pictures made the cover of Life: the dancing duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, journalist bon vivant Lucius Beebe and comedian Harpo Marx.
Hardy said in an interview with John Loengard for "Life Photographers: What They Saw" (1998) that Marx's picture had been taken at a weekend party in Bucks County, Pa.
"He didn't have his wig and was sensitive about his baldness, so he made a little crown of leaves and put it on," Hardy said. The result was a picture of Marx "posing like a Roman emperor."
In 1940, Hardy joined the Naval Reserve and was a junior officer on the aircraft carrier Saratoga when it arrived at Pearl Harbor less than a week after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack by Japanese forces. He subsequently underwent flight training -- he already had a private license to fly--and spent much of the war as the pilot of a reconnaissance plane in the South Pacific.
"He was part of the naval photo-recon unit, so his plane's bomb bay was largely filled with camera gear," Tom Hardy said last week. "They would be escorted into enemy territory, then drop flash bombs that would light up the area to be photographed, to be turned into maps later on.
"Of course once the target was lit up, it was important to take the shots and then get away as quickly as possible, usually chased by angry Japanese fighter planes or anti-aircraft fire."
After the war, Hardy worked in aviation for Northrop, Lockheed and NASA. His book, "Callback: NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System," was published by Smithsonian Press in 1990.
In 1996, an exhibition of Hardy's Hollywood photographs from 1936 to '37 was shown at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.