Remembering When John Glenn Said Aliens Were Real on 'Frasier'

"We never gave the real answer."

Getty Images / Bill Ingalls/NASA

On Friday John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, died at the age of 95. Considered an icon of the Space Age, Glenn was a man of many titles: marine, United States senator, and the oldest person to fly in space.

Glenn was also, few might realize, a guest star on Frasier. Yes, the American hero agreed to play himself on the 2001 episode “Docu.Drama” where he replaces Dr. Frasier Crane as the host of the Dr. Frasier Crane show. It’s a charming bit: When the “character” of John Glenn thinks he’s still live on the air, he drops “the truth” about the internet’s favorite conspiracy: aliens. Here’s the transcript beginning at 2:09 of the clip below:

“Back in those glory days, I was very uncomfortable when they asked us to say things we didn’t want to say and deny other things. Some people asked, you know, were you alone out there? We never gave the real answer, and yet we see things out there, strange things, but we know what we saw out there. And we couldn’t really say anything. The bosses were really afraid of this, they were afraid of the War of the Worlds-type stuff, and about panic in the streets. So, we had to keep quiet. And now we only see these things in our nightmares or maybe in the movies, and some of them are pretty close to being the truth.”

The moment also came an unintended effect of becoming fuel for the fire of alien conspiracists. The Frasier moment is listed on conspiracy message boards and forums as the moment when Glenn finally leaked the truth under the guise of a popular television sitcom about a radio host in Seattle.

The last thing Glenn likely intended with his guest star appearance was to give even a centimeter of credibility to conspiracy. But the bit does reveal something about Glenn: his humor and his game attitude. After all, this is the man who was willing to be launched to space with uncertain technology, looked around, and called what he saw a tremendous view.

He helped paved the way for the American space program and, as NASA has stated, inspired the world around him.

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