IMHO Installment #62: Freeman Had a Close Encounter

26 Jun 2007


A few days back, I happened past "Close Encounters of the Third Kind " in the dollar DVD aisle of the video rental store. I hadn't seen it since I was a kid, but thought my daughter would enjoy it.

Over the decades, I'd more or less forgotten about much of the minor action -- the various locations around the world where long-missing ships and airplanes were appearing out of nowhere. I wonder whether Close Encounters pioneered that plot device -- moving from location to location showing mysterious effects before getting to their explanation. Eleven years later, we see that in The Seventh Sign (for the only other example that comes to mind right now, though I'm sure this is entirely common).

But, you know what really surprised my wife and me? We're sitting there watching this thing and, all of a sudden, there's a guy on screen who appears to be Morgan Freeman (one of the air-traffic controllers, if you ever go looking for him)! I had no memory of his being in that film, so checked the IMDB credits listing ... No Morgan. But, it REALLY looks and sounds like him (appropriately younger looking). A few other web sites, upon searching, also forward this theory, but I was unable to confirm it anywhere.

Any movie buffs care to weigh in? Not that it matters, of course -- although it could potentially come in handy during a game of " Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon."

Original Comments

Below, are the original comments on this post. Additional comments may be made via Facebook, below.

On June 26, 2007, Beenzzz wrote:

I had no idea he was in that movie either. Now I want to rent it and watch it just to see.

On June 26, 2007, Evil Genius wrote:

You mean that guy from the Electric Company?

On January 6, 2008, Anonymous wrote:

just saw close encounters of the 3 rd kind and that is why i am here .It definatly looks and sounds like freeman as the main traffic controller not Weathers .I had to look it up but have no comfirmation as of yet

On August 19, 2009, Morgan wrote:

I just finished watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I hadn't seen it in over 20 years. In the beginning of the film, a bunch of air traffic controllers are watching a near collision on a screen. There's a black actor playing one of the air traffic controllers who sounds EXACTLY like Morgan Freeman. Of course, this guy is much younger, but the voice is exactly the same. Carl Weathers appears later in the film.

On September 24, 2010, blogger wrote:

it's got to be him! also the white guy who checks out the screen with the morgan is gary cole from brady bunch movie,office space,talladaga nights

On January 18, 2011, Anonymous wrote:


It's been over three years since you posted your question but I have the answer - the actor was David Anderson, not Morgan Freeman. See in the link below - Cheers from Dave in NorCal

On August 6, 2012, Anonymous wrote:

Except that Gary Cole was 20 in 1976 when the film was made.

On August 26, 2012, Anonymous wrote:

It looks and sounds just like him, but upon further investigation of his filmography he was not in the movie