Tag Archives: Apollo 11

Moonhead

“Moonhead” is an instrumental track from Pink Floyd, commissioned by the BBC for use in its coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The unreleased 1969 track has cropped up on a couple of Floyd bootlegs.

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Livin’ la vida Luna

Reading the Apollo 11 anniversary pieces yesterday, it occurred to me that my particular late-Fifties reverberation of the baby boom is quite intimately bound up in the entire lunar landing program. I mean, we literally grew up with the Apollo launches.

One of my earliest memories is walking past the corner news stand on the Boulevard in Hasbrouck Heights and seeing the photos of the scorched space capsule on the front of the Daily News. (I remember at least one relative opining that the deaths of Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee proved the whole moon-launch program was ridiculously dangerous and ought to be abandoned.) Life magazine was still a going concern back then, so when I read the Apollo items in the Bergen Record and Time magazine, it was with the knowledge that soon there would be bedsheet-sized color photographs to savor.

I’ve already noted the fixed position Apollo 11 has in my mind. And the living-room television was always set on whatever network broadcast had the latest stuff on the highest-wire act that brought Apollo 13 safely home. I also remember the third-run movie theaters, stuck with showing a dreary Gregory Peck vehicle called Marooned, trying to pump up interest in their newspaper ads: IT ALMOST HAPPENED LAST WEEK IN SPACE! And since back then no pop-culture  experience was complete until it had been ridiculed in Mad magazine, I’ll always think of the magazine’s parody, Moroned, before I think of the actual movie.

Pop culture also tracked the rapid loss of interest in the program, when the wonder of space exploration seemed to dwindle into gimmicks. Golf on the moon! Cars on the moon! By the early Seventies, Gahan Wilson could score a point by showing astronauts shooting craps on the moon. Talk about a dying fall.

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Men on the moon

Forty years ago today. I remember like it was yesterday. There I was in a living room in northern New Jersey, watching men walk on the moon. For a fleeting moment, human beings were on two worlds instead of just one.

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It’s only a pixel moon

This Thursday — yep, the day after tomorrow — marks the 40th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11, which four days later allowed a certain Neil Armstrong to get his boots dirty in a manner never before experienced by humankind. To mark the occasion, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has set up a Web site called We Choose the Moon that allows you to follow the timeline of the Apollo 11 mission from the comfort of your PC or Mac — either of which, I am astonished to realize, probably has more computing oomph than the machines used to guide three men safely to the moon and back. They’re in pre-launch mode now, of course, but I expect this will be one of my favorite sites for the next week or so.

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