For the Adherent of Pop Culture

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

"Countdown to Danger
UFO Annual 1970
Polystyle Publications
Writer: Unknown


General Henderson confronts Straker with the fact that five or more UFOs have penetrated SHADO's detection systems in the recent past.


Read the story at the SHADO: UK website




This is a 9-page short story that appeared in UFO Annual 1970.




In this story, Straker meets once again with General Henderson, described here as an official of the IAC, suggesting this story may take place some time before "Conflict", in which Henderson is depicted as the President of the IAC, not just an official.




The photo of the launch pad on page 68 is taken from "Close Up".


Here, it's revealed that Henderson had expected to be placed in charge of SHADO when the organization was formed. This may explain his rivalry and generally uncooperative attitude towards Straker in "Conflict" and later episodes. The story describes the two men as having a grudging respect for each other, but have crossed swords too many times to develop a friendship. The later episode "Confetti Check A-O.K." reveals the circumstances of the offer to Straker to make him head of SHADO.


It is revealed that the IAC believes that other inhabited worlds may be trying to contact Earth. A series of rockets have been dispatched to act as a series of communications posts with these conjectured civilizations. Henderson remarks that the chain of transmitters is meant to reach to "the furthest reaches of the universe." This is unlikely, at best, considering Earth doesn't even have faster-than-light propulsion capability yet! Presumably, Henderson was just engaging in a bit of hyperbole with that description.


On page 71, Straker remarks that the five amateur photographers who snapped photos of alleged UFOs have been fed a story that it was just a film company making a "flying saucer" picture. Would that film company be Harlington-Straker Studios, by chance, hmm? 


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