Mariana's UFO film one of the best produced.
- Mariana's UFO film one of the best produced.
Great Falls area residents have seen many unidentified flying objects over
Some of those people might have had too much hootch to drink at the time.
Mariana was general manager of the Great Falls Electrics baseball team at
Little did he know that his quick-thinking work with a camera would make
Mariana a heroic figure among UFO buffs.
Mariana was standing in the bleachers one day when he was amazed to see "two
vehicles hovering above the pitcher's mound," his son related in an
The elder Mariana, who studied journalism at the University of Montana, kept
a movie camera in his glove box.
He ran for the camera, and stood in the bleachers behind home plate filming
closeups of the strange objects.
After a short time, the aircrafts shot up into the air in a flash.
Soon, "they were little dots on the horizon," said the son, Nick Mariana of
Mariana's film is credited as one of the best films ever taken of possible
extra-terrestrial activity. And he had a witness, his secretary, who backed
up his story.
Mariana later complained the best segment of his film disappeared after he
gave the movie to Malmstrom Air Force Base to analyze. Base officials denied
intentionally clipping out the best closeups from the film.
Mariana once appeared on "I've Got a Secret," a TV program hosted by Gary
Moore in which a panel tried to guess what secret a guest had.
Panelists didn't guess Mariana's secret.
Mariana died Aug. 20, 1999, in Oregon, but interest in his film continues.
Mariana's son, Nick, was born in Great Falls, but the family almost
immediately moved to Missoula.
Today, he owns a former Great Falls business called Mr. Video. As it turned
out, he had his own movie camera when he was a kid.
Nick Mariana shares his father's view that the government took the best part
of the film and stuck it in a classified folder somewhere.
"They don't lose that stuff," he said. The younger Mariana thinks the
vehicle may well have been from another world.
"I'm a believer," the Victor man said. "I think it's perfectly feasible that
they've made contact."
At the same time, he said there are plenty of "crackpots" out there who
falsely claim to have been abducted by aliens.
For years, the Marianas had the famous 15 seconds of 16 mm film around the
house in a collection of movies. Then Nick Mariana tried to find it.
"It disappeared from our house," he said. Fortunately, that part of the film
had already been copied.
Nick Mariana said his father was irritated that the government whacked out
the best section of his movie. After all, who wouldn't object to a hatchet
job of editing?
But the elder Mariana didn't dwell on what happened to his film, even if he
wasn't thrilled about it.
"He just wasn't that kind of guy at all," son Nick said. That hasn't kept
the Marianas from musing over the years about what the full film might have
been worth to collectors.
This spring, makers of a two-hour UFO film documentary for the History
Channel in Canada, All In One Films of Toronto, are trying to find friends
or relatives of Mariana who heard him talk about filming the UFOs.
They also would like to talk to anyone who might have seen a showing of the
Mariana film in Great Falls in the 1950s.
If you fill that bill, either e-mail or write me and I'll pass the
information on to the folks upstairs in Canada.