In this clip from the musical “Dancing Lady” (1933), Fred Astaire and Joan Crawford dance over a circular rug which then starts to fly around the sky until it comes back to ground, cheered by a crowd.
To us, of course, the flying carpet actually looks like a flying saucer, and the tassels may even be interpreted as exhaust plumes (or force field?). This is because more than a decade after the MGM musical, the flying saucer would enter popular culture in 1947 through Kenneth Arnold’s sighting.
By coincidence, this month’s Fortean Times also has a piece by founder Bob Rickard about the depiction of a vimana in a 1986 Indian TV series of The Ramayana. The “UFO-like flying platform” looks almost exactly the same as Astaire’s flying rug.
Flying platforms, once the stuff of fantasy, from the Ramayana to musicals, have already been developed as technological prototypes such as the Hiller flying platform of 1955:
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