Today, at 4:17PM EST, will be the 48th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Approximately 6 hours later, Neil Armstrong exited the Eagle to set foot on the Moon. He was followed by Buzz Armstrong from my home state of New Jersey. As with millions (billions?) of people worldwide I watched the historic event on my TV at home. It was just my Mom and me.
Science and science fiction consumed me as a child. I saw many movies – today TCM is playing one of my favorites “First Men in the Moon”, original novel by H.G. Wells. Again, I saw it with my Mom. I had an advantage over the kids who grew up in the 1950’s and earlier who loved Sci-Fi movies – I could watch the REAL THING with NASA. Early Reality TV with actual drama – Gemini 4 with Edward White was “Walking in Space”!
Obviously I could not actually participate in the Grand Adventure. The closest I could get was building those Revell plastic models (or was it some other company?). I had them all – Mercury, Gemini, various Apollo kits, along with scif-fi models. I wished that I still had them all.
I also wrote to NASA. They sent me two books regarding careers. It was never a path I followed because I’m lousy in math, but I did buy a telescope. I could look if not travel.
If you go online today, locate a copy of “Full Moon” by Michael Light. He gained access to the original Apollo negatives and had new prints made. The copies most people have seen over the years are copies of copies of copies. That degrades the image. This book is breathtaking. I also recommend “From Earth to the Moon” produced by Tom Hanks for HBO on DVD. It’s a miniseries about the journey to the moon – the story on Earth and in space. Also “For All Mankind”. More interviews and footage. One final recommendation is a feature documentary “In the Shadow of the Moon”, produced by Ron Howard. This film was released in 2008 and features recent interviews with astronauts, along with space footage. And there are many more documentaries available.
The photograph above was taken at the 1964 New York World’s Fair Space Park. That young boy in the photo is myself.