For 50 years Sir Patrick Moore has been the BBC’s leading authority on astronomy but it was recently been revealed that during the 1950s Moore starred in a B-movie about UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) in County Monaghan.
The film “Them in the Thing”, a low budget science-fiction movie was filmed in 1954 and includes shots of flying saucers hovering over Castle Leslie, in Monaghan. The cinematic treasure was discovered by the Irish Film Institute and was the work of the late Desmond Leslie, whose family were residents in the castle for over 300 years.
Leslie had a lifelong passion for extra-terrestrials and in 1953 he wrote a book entitled “Flying Saucers Have Landed”. The next year he set to work on the B-movie with help the neighboring village of Glaslough and his own son, Mark.
Mark said “My dad was quite an experienced filmmaker with a high definition camera. He was pretty ambitious so the UFO film he made is nearly an hour long."
“The flying saucer is actually an old Spanish Renaissance shield which was hanging on a wall in the castle,” he told the Irish Independent. “My dad suspended it on a fishing line while my brother shone a mirror at it to make it glow."
At the time Sir Patrick Moore was an unknown English astronomer but Leslie had met him when they both took part in a TV debate on UFOs. He invited Moore to come to Ireland and have a small cameo in the film.
Mark said “Patrick was skeptical about flying saucers so he's seen throughout the film walking around Castle Leslie, not noticing the alien invasion.”
Fifty-three years later Moore is still hosting “The Sky at Night” on the BBC.