October 03, 1988 12:00 PM

The supposed strange forces, fiends, UFOs or whatevers inhabiting the Bermuda Triangle—an area off the east coast of Florida-had their heyday in the ’70s. But many book; that made a mystery of the ships and plane: lost in the triangle—Charles Berlitz’s Bermuda Triangle, for instance—are still in print. So this documentary, broadcast in 1977 as par of the PBS NOVA science series but only now coming out on tape, is still timely. It is a model of research. Writer-producer Graham Massey, who later produced such BBC pro grams as The Impossible Spy, include: interviews with triangle hypesters—Berlitz muses about a force that can “change matte itself into another dimension.” There are also segments with Lawrence Kusche, author of the debunking The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved, with U.S. Coast Guard officers talking about the inexperience of amateur sailors in the triangle and with other sources Distortions, omissions and fabrications seen to be the real menace lurking in the triangle stories. The reports on the disappearance of five Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers in 1945 are examined at length. Flight leader Lt. Charles C. Taylor’s radio transmissions have often been quoted as having him say he was “upside down.” Massey presents interview: with control-tower personnel who agree that no such transmissions were heard. Taylor, an instructor leading four student pilots, simply got lost; crashing at night in stormy seas, the five planes apparently sank without a trace Massey concludes that boats and plane: “behave in the Bermuda Triangle just as they behave everywhere else in the world.” (Vestron, $29.98; 203-978-5568)

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