Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Adventure (2022) Movie Script

Ignition sequence starts.
Six, five, four,
three, two, one, zero.
All engine running.
The time is spring 1969.
The place is Ed White Elementary School
in El Lago, Texas,
a South Houston suburb
right down the road from NASA.
The occasion on this fateful day
that put everything in motion?
Fourth grade recess.
No, that's not me.
That's Ricky Rodriguez,
one of my many ne'er-do-well buddies.
They had changed the rules,
so you weren't supposed
to throw the ball at people,
which was kind of the most fun thing
about kickball.
It was taking some gettin' used to.
And that's Mr. St. George, our PE coach,
walking Ricky over to the wall.
He was a very specific disciplinarian,
drawing you a little circle
on the nearest wall.
Here. Put your nose in there
and keep it in there.
And it was always just a little higher
than was comfortable,
so you'd be up on your tippy-toes
until the end of the class.
The one time he was sticking my nose
to the wall, I was ready for him.
The key, I figured,
was to imperceptibly spread your stance
and slump ever so slightly lower
at the crucial moment of his calculation.
Put your nose there.
So that's me. Stanley.
Everyone just called me Stan,
unless I was in trouble, of course,
or on the first day of class
when they read roll.
In kickball, I was kind of a shortstop
and general field rover,
instructed by teammates
to try and catch everything I could.
And, you know,
I was a pretty impressive kicker as well.
But back to how it all got started.
It was those guys
that changed my life forever.
There's our kid.
We scouted you on the kickball field,
we spoke with your teachers.
We're impressed with
a few of your science reports,
and we like that you've earned
a Presidential Physical Fitness Award
three years running.
We've selected you
as the perfect candidate for this mission.
Mission? For what?
Listen, time's a factor here,
so we're gonna be very blunt.
We accidentally built the lunar module
a little too small.
But we're not gonna let that set us back.
How'd that happen?
Are you good at math?
- Yeah.
- Do you get a perfect 100 on every test?
- No.
- Okay.
We are this close,
but we need to test this
accidentally smaller version
on the lunar surface, and soon.
And we need a kid like you to help us out,
so we can beat those damn Russians
to the moon.
Why don't you just send a chimpanzee?
Because you speak
more actual words of the English language.
Stan, you're our only hope.
Come on. What do you say?
Do it for your country.
Do it for the free world!
Great. Secret training starts
end of school year.
Top secret, Stan.
This is a covert operation.
It does not exist. Get it?
This meeting? This never happened.
No one can know about this.
Not your parents.
Not your brothers. Not your sisters.
- No one.
- Wait.
How will we get away with this?
Where will everyone think I am?
Summer camp.
You were recommended, accepted,
and received a scholarship
to Camp Grizzly,
a special outdoor camp
just outside of Lake Traverse, Michigan.
You went up in late May
and stayed through almost all of June.
I'm not gonna lie, the weather and bugs
were arduous, but you had a great time.
A great time indeed.
Some things you never forget, Stan.
Okay, pause!
Let's forget about all this for now.
We'll come back to this part later.
First, let me tell you about
life back then.
It was a great time and place to be a kid.
Living in the Houston area
in the late '60s,
and especially near NASA,
was like being
where science fiction was coming to life.
The optimistic technological future
was now,
and we were at the absolute center
of everything new and better.
Leading the way was,
of course, the space program.
The goal of going to the moon
had been declared
when President Kennedy gave his speech
at Rice University in Houston.
But why, some say, the moon?
Why choose this as our goal?
And they may well ask,
"Why climb the highest mountain?"
"Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic?"
"Why does Rice play Texas?"
We choose to go to the moon.
We choose to go to the moon in this decade
and do the other things,
not because they are easy,
but because they are hard.
The Space Center was relocated
to the outskirts of town in 1962.
That same year, Houston started to build
the world's first dome stadium.
The eighth wonder of the world.
The Astrodome.
When they did the groundbreaking,
instead of ceremonial digs
in the earth with shovels,
all the officials shot Colt .45 pistols
into the ground instead.
And the dome
had the first animated scoreboard
with all kinds of fun, lit-up graphics.
But the best
was when an Astro hit a home run,
or, as they like to say,
put the ball into Astro orbit,
which set off this huge,
electronic fireworks display.
And this was the place
that first had Astroturf.
The artificial surface would need
no watering, mowing, or weeding,
and be the perfect expression of this era
when everything was new
and man-made and therefore better.
Even though Joe Namath said
it was like playing on concrete,
it felt like nature
and all her earthly restrictions
were being conquered.
And no one doubted that, in our lifetimes,
we'd have the option to live on the moon,
or maybe a nearby planet,
probably in some kinda domed space colony.
And, given the rate
of all this technological innovation,
it was easy to imagine
that we'd all probably be livin'
well past the age of a hundred.
For example,
just over at the medical center,
DeBakey and Cooley
were perfecting the heart transplant.
And even closer to home,
we were one of the first regions
in the country to get push-button phones.
Y'all, listen to this.
It was the coolest. No more dialing.
And you could play songs with the tones.
My sister Vicky
was the musical one in the family.
She was the oldest, followed by Steve,
then Jana, Greg, Stephanie, and then me.
Okay. Show your moves.
Okay, good.
Hello? Hello?
Sure, our country was at war.
Cities were on fire,
and all hell was breaking loose
But from a kid's perspective,
out in the suburbs,
it was all confined to the television.
And as a kid,
you just figure it's all normal.
Another riot.
Another famous leader assassinated.
I guess that's just how adults act.
In our family, it seemed
that only Vicky embodied
the so-called generation gap of the time.
She was the only one of us who seemed
o know or care very much
about what was going on in the world.
The closest we ever got to the action
was when we were in Houston with Mom
near the college where it seemed she was
forever in grad school during this time.
- Look at how they're dressed.
- Those?
See, kids,
this is why we moved to the suburbs.
To get away from these kinds of people.
The squares are scared.
No. Your sister is full of crap.
- We moved here because of your dad's job.
- Mm-hmm.
He was sick of commuting an hour each way.
Got it?
- Okay. Okay, Mom.
- Got it.
Got it. Um,Mom, is that one a hippie?
Yeah. Yeah, that's a hippie.
How about that one?
No. His hair's not long enough.
But he's wearing bell-bottoms.
Okay. Yeah. Yeah, that's a hippie.
I think I like hippies.
And in those new suburbs
expanding south of Houston,
housing divisions were springin' up
all over the place.
Our neighborhood
was full of houses under construction.
The land was totally flat.
The only thing remotely resembling a hill
was theoverpass out on the interstate.
We're talking coastal plains,
a mere 30 or so feet above sea level.
Of course,
they hadn't put in enough drainage,
so every time it rainedfor
any length of time, everything flooded.
Look! It's a water moccasin!
Every time!
There was no sense of history here,
for everything as far as you could see
was brand new.
New and endless shopping centers
with grocery stores, burger restaurants,
and, best of all,
a bowling alley and arcade.
At least once a week, we'd walk
or ride bikes over tothe bowling alley.
We'd bowl when our parents were paying,
but on our own,
the arcade was where the action was.
We developed a self-sustaining system
that extended our meager allowance.
For an investment of a quarter each,
we could get an RC Cola for 15 cents
and a pinball game for a dime.
We'd concentrate on the games
we'd mastered, like Aquarius.
All the pressure would,
of course, be on the first game.
Immediately winning,
not only to keep playing,
but to eventually
fill up the machine with free games.
Then when it was time to go home,
we could usually sell them off
for 50 cents to some older person
who thought that was a good deal.
Maybe part of the allure
of the bowling alley
was it was
where the local hoodlums hung out.
We would marvel at their swagger
and the methods they used
to beat the system,
whether crudely lessening
the gravitational pull of the machine
or deftly getting a game
without putting in any money.
When done just right, the machine would
apparently start a new game.
It was masterful.
I tried that maneuver
for the next several years
but never figured it out.
We'd been one of the first houses
completed on our street,
and it felt like the entire neighborhood
was a construction site and up for grabs.
You could build a whole fort
out of the throwaway wood piles.
That would have to suffice,
because tree houses
were probably a couple decades away.
Dad, isn't this stealing?
Well, the way I figure it,
they charged us way too much
for the house,
so technically, they owe us.
It's just a piece of plywood.
They'll never miss it.
I'm still not sure
if my dad was in the frugal,
struggling-to-make-ends-meet category
or closer to a scam artist.
Pull it back. Tighten the net. There.
But it was clear our family's sole mission
was to save as much money as possible.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
You're not finished.
Put the nozzle back in my gas tank.
Now squeeze the handle completely open.
Now lift the hose from back to front.
That's my gas in the hose.
- I paid for it.
- Dad
He knows that.
Even though my dad was in charge
of shipping and receiving at NASA
You go beat those Russkies.
Roger that, comrade.
and apparently made a good enough living
to more or less raise a family
with six kids,
I was embarrassed
he was more of a paper pusher
than someone who had
anything to do with the missions.
There is and there isn't
a possibility of advancement
He felt as far away from being
an astronaut as you could get.
My dad targets the coordinates
so that when the astronauts
splashdown in the ocean,
the navy can come pick them up.
He's the guy that when the countdown
finally gets to blast off,
my dad's the one actually
pushing a button launching everything.
When I was walking home from school
I guess I was
what you'd call a fabulist,
which is just a nicer way of saying
"persistent liar."
So I got a little closer.
That's when I realized
there were wires attached to him,
stretching up to, like, outer space.
He was some kind of robot.
I was hoping I could bring him here today,
but suddenly,
he just got pulled up by the wires.
Mrs. Ulrich said you didn't bring
anything to show and tell.
You know, I just did the "tell" part,
hoping they'd imagine the "show" part.
She says you told the entire class
that your father's scheduled to go
on Apollo 14 or 15 in 1972.
Honey. Honey, is that true?
Why can't Dad do something important
at NASA?
- It's a little bit embarrassing.
- Stan.
Your father has worked very hard
to make it to the top of his department.
He's in charge of everything
that goes into that place,
from a pen to a space suit.
He is important. Okay?
I was just wondering why he couldn't be
an astronaut or something actually cool.
not everyone gets to be an astronaut.
Everyone does their part,
and it takes a lot of people.
Including your father. Got it?
- Got it.
- Good.
It was true. A neighbor behind us
worked on the helmets.
Several friends' dads
were engineers at NASA.
A girl in my class's mom
helped make the suits.
It was like everyone was doin'
somethin' for NASA one way or another.
My dad was doin' his part, too,
however meager in my eyes.
Like I said, I was the last of six
in our own
Brady Bunch configuration of a family,
and the only one born in the '60s.
By the time I came around,
my parents were largely done with
documenting everything their kids did.
I was incorporated into
the existing system,
but that was about it.
I'm hardly in any family photos
or home movies.
My siblings used to mess with me about it.
See how you're not in any of these?
They're afraid to tell you,
but you were adopted.
Mom and Dad are too broken to tell you,
but we got you in an orphanage.
They picked you
out of a crowd of screaming babies.
Har-di-har-har. Very funny.
I learned later that after I was born,
my mom got on this new thing
called the pill
but never told our priest,
for fear of being excommunicated.
- Dad, you're it.
- You're it!
- Aah!
- Got you. You're it!
Then there were
our next-door neighbors, the Pateks,
who were clearly not using contraception
because they were still kickin' out
a kid about every year.
Their mother was so overworked,
she'd sometimes just give the kids
rubber bands to chew on between meals.
And she was obsessed with cleanliness.
She kept their house spick and span,
and to aid in this, she'd put
all her kids outside almost all day long.
Except the newborn, of course.
She'd put the next-to-youngest outside
in the care of the older kids
while she stayed inside
with the youngest and cleaned.
Every now and then,
somethin' like this would happen.
But we all seemed
-to somehow survive our childhoods.
- Stop, stop!
Wait, wait, wait!
After the Pateks' dad got off work,
he'd usually just sit in the open garage
most of the evenin' smokin' cigars.
I guess he was also doin' his part
in keepin' the house clean.
The six of us
formed quite an army of workers,
keepin' the house and yard clean
and executing our systems with precision.
In addition to endless outdoor work,
my biggest indoor job
was to empty all the trash cans.
I'm not even sure
if they had plastic trash bags yet,
but it wouldn't have mattered,
because we only used old grocery bags
which were prone to leaking,
depending on whatever liquid-y crap
everyone threw away.
And, of course, it was my job
to clean up the floor after.
Maybe because we couldn't afford it,
we hardly ever went out to a restaurant.
Mom was a genius at conjuring up meals
and carryin' 'em out for days.
The canned ham would have brown sugar
and pineapple on it Sunday.
Monday, there'd be ham casserole.
Tuesday, ham sandwiches,
and Wednesday's navy bean soup
would have the rest of the ham in it.
Other staples included
tomato soup and grilled cheese,
tuna casserole with potato chips,
pot pies, meatloaf,
endless variations of chicken,
and, of course, a lot of creamed corn.
The fun stuff was deviled eggs,
homemade Popsicles, Vienna sausages,
and on special occasions, Jiffy Pop.
It was also the first wave
of the Jello mold craze.
School lunches were their own production.
Every Sunday night,
we'd all be Mom's helpers
as we'd systematically make a week's worth
of sandwiches for school lunches,
and then freeze 'em
to be thawed out overnight
before each day of the school week.
Sometimes the thawing wasn't complete,
and you'd end up with a half-frozen,
soggy white bread bologna sandwich.
My dad's parents lived in
an old neighborhood in Houston,
and we'd go visit on weekends.
You just keep tappin' it lightly
until it straightens out.
See there?
A nail will last forever,
so you don't ever want to throw 'em away.
Just make sure
you got a good place to store 'em.
- Mm-hmm.
- My grandparents' reaction
to havin' lived through the Depression
was to feel it was goin' to happen again
at any moment.
Don't hit your fingers.
They saved everything
that had the slightest value
- and reused everything they could.
- See? I think you got it.
They even reused paper towels,
which begged the question,
what the hell's the point of a paper towel
as opposed to, like, a rag?
But none of us
ever said anything.
We're not going to
And I swear my grandmother took us
to see The Sound Of Music
about every six months.
I'm not sure if the movie
was playing for years and years
or if they kept bringin' it back.
It was just another outing with Grandma
who, like her movie choices,
was a very sweet lady
you couldn't find much fault in.
My other grandmother
was much more edgy and paranoid,
but very entertaining.
She would stay with us for long stretches
and regale us
with various conspiracy theories
and doom and gloom scenarios.
We now know
JFK didn't die that day in Dallas.
Poor man was rendered a vegetable
due to the severe brain trauma
from the bullets.
But they are keepin' him alive
in seclusion on a Greek island.
They didn't think we could handle
seeing the president as a vegetable,
so they are shieldin' us
from the true facts.
It's Aristotle Onassis's
Which explains his marriage to Jackie.
To her,
the world was goin' down the tubes,
and fast.
Overpopulation is chokin' the planet.
And within a few years,
we are gonna be past
the point of no return.
Scientists say
that the Earth cannot technically handle
more than 3.5 billion people,
and at some point in the '70s,
food supply's just gonna collapse
for most of the world's inhabitants,
which leads to mass starvation
and war and famine.
Don't know how they'll keep up
with the dead bodies--
Enough already, Mom.
You gotta stop with the paranoia talk.
You're scarin' the kids.
You're drivin' me nuts.
You won't shut up. Please stop.
Stop. Stop.
It costs over $4.5 billion
every year to cart the mess away
Yes, with such threats looming,
the future was often terrifying.
We were told
if everything continued as it was going,
we'd be knee-deep in trash
and wearing gas masks just to breathe.
They did a great job
of scarin' the hell out of everyone.
It must've worked.
President Nixon signed the Clean Air Act
and the Clean Water Act,
and it soon became unacceptable to litter.
Now, that, young Steven, is the difference
between a redneck and white trash.
A redneck's gonna throw his cans on the
floor of his car, the back of his truck.
White trash,
he's gonna throw his cans out the window
and be a litterbug.
That's no good.
So we're rednecks?
Oh, no, no, no, no, no.
A redneck would just leave the cans
just laying there.
You're gonna clean those up
when we get back to the house.
Take the wheel.
- What?
- Drive.
That's right.
It wasn't against the law
to drink and drive back then.
You just couldn't be legally intoxicated.
Make a wish.
Dad, I just--
I remember how he'd drop the tab
into the beer itself.
And I wasn't sure if it was a ritual
or if it was Dad's anti-littering effort.
Either way, it was appreciated,
'cause those tabs are on the ground,
and they could really slice up your feet.
- However, I heard
- How'd you do?
that six people a year died by choking
when the tab came back out
and they swallowed it.
I would always think that
maybe this could be the day.
But like so many
of the doomsday scenarios,
it thankfully never happened.
But all the dissonance
was a lot to process for a young mind.
On the one hand, okay,
the world was goin' to hell.
We were in a war in Vietnam,
but even more scary was the Cold War
we were in with the Soviet Union,
who we were told at any minute
could be dropping a hydrogen bomb on us.
Anyway, we were the last
of the duck-and-cover generation.
It's a bomb. Duck and cover.
I thoughtbein' under a desk
wasn't gonna do much good
on the vaporization or radiation front.
But what the hell.
You did the drill.
But on the other hand,
the future was so cool and optimistic.
We were heading to the moon and beyond.
It was easy to be swept up
in the promise of the future
and the thought
that science and technology
would ultimately fix almost everything.
At the top of the heap, the embodiment
of all these positive feelings was NASA
and, of course, the astronauts themselves.
The names still roll off the tongue.
The original Mercury guys,
John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Alan Shepard,
Walter Schirra, Gordon Cooper,
Gus Grissom, Deke Slayton.
Then the Apollo names became familiar.
Pete Conrad, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin,
Michael Collins, Frank Borman,
James Lovell, Gene Cernan,
John Young, Alan Bean.
They were the bravest. The best.
This is a CBS News
special report.
America's first three Apollo astronauts
were trapped and killed by a flash fire
that swept their moon ship early tonight
during a launch pad test
When Gus Grissom,
Roger Chaffee, and Ed White died
during a test for Apollo 1,
- I remember my mom crying.
- Oh my God.
Our school was named Ed White Elementary
even before the tragedy.
After, it became kind of a memorial.
But the world was changing,
and so was how we saw ourselves in it.
When Apollo 8 snapped
the famousEarthrise photo
over the moon on Christmas Eve,
it gave us Earthlings
a perspective we'd never had.
There we were, all together
on this floating blue ball in space.
It was said that someday soon,
when humans fully grasped what this meant,
there would be a shift in consciousness,
and there would be no more wars.
And back in our little part
of that blue ball,
everywhere you looked,
there were reminders of NASA
and the manned space program.
On our playground,
there was a rocket slide
you could climb up and pilot.
I think everyone knew
spaceships didn't have steering wheels,
but no matter.
The space race wassuch
an all-pervasive element of our culture.
It found its way into everything,
including advertising and promotion,
however ridiculous.
Howdy, folks! I'm Sam the Rocket Man!
We're shootin' the moon
with out-of-this-world savings!
The closer they get to the moon,
the lower our prices are.
We'll trade anything.
Used spaceships,
lunar modules, or even used cars!
At school on launch days,
it was always the same ritual.
The teacher would wheel in a TV.
We'd watch the rocket on the launchpad
- for five minutes
- Fifteen
and then all count down in unison
with the TV for the last ten seconds.
- Ten, nine, eight, seven
- Ignition sequence started.
Six, five, four
- We have ignition.
- Three, two, one, blastoff!
We have liftoff. We have liftoff.
And then just stare at the screen
as the rocket took off into the sky.
Science class was so exciting,
because it felt like current events.
It was all astronomy,
cosmology, and Apollo related.
Until Edwin Hubble
proved otherwise in 1922,
humans thought the entire universe
might only consist of our galaxy.
Now we know we are
but one of 100 billion galaxies.
As of yet,
we have no proof of other solar systems
revolving around distant stars
or planets outside our nine.
But the odds that we're
the only nine planets in the universe
and that we're
the only one with life on it,
we've calculated out
at ten billion trillion to one.
Yes, whatever was going on
in the formation of our solar system
is undoubtedly going on in others, right?
It's the same material,
gravity, and conditions everywhere.
In other words,
there's just no way that we're alone.
It's just a matter of time
before we have an encounter
with other beings from other places
in the universe, if we haven't already.
We'd already gone to Jupiter
and beyond in the movie 2001,
and there was no doubt
we'd be there soon enough.
I remember bein' so entranced by the film,
I would try to describe
the deeper meaning of it
to anyone who would listen.
And then as he goes past Jupiter,
he goes through
this kind of crazy time warp.
There are
all these bright lights flashing by,
and suddenly he's in this old room,
and then he's this old man.
Then he sees the black slab,
the same one from Jupiter,
at the foot of his deathbed.
Or is it?
He reaches out, trying to touch it,
and then he turns into a baby
that hasn't even been born yet!
Go back, go back!
- No, it's going-- Run, run!
- Back, back, back, back!
Well, like I said,
it was all around us.
We were being told that people our age
would one day be able
to have our honeymoons on the moon.
And by the end of the century,
we could be a paying customer
on the six-month flight to Mars.
It was all so close.
We literally had the astronauts themselves
buzzing above us in jets
because Ellington Air Force Base
was down the road.
It wasn't at all unusual
to suddenly hear a whoosh low in the sky,
see a jet streak by and disappear quickly,
and then hear the sonic boom
of the sound barrier bein' broken.
We'd run home as quickly
as we could from school
to watch Dark Shadows,
a show we all got obsessed with.
It was a truly bizarre and scary tale
of an old patrician family
livin' in a castle by the sea
and one ageless vampire
- Ugh!
- Barnabas Collins.
TV itself felt like an ongoing battle.
First off, just gettin' decent reception
in this era of antennas
and three major networks was a challenge.
Then, in our family at least,
you had to stake out your territory
and often bodily defend
what would be coming out of the tube
for the next 30 minutes.
There were so many great shows
going all evening.
It was often hard to choose,
and they never let you down.
The Beverly Hillbillies,
My Three Sons,
The Munsters, Bonanza,
Star Trek,
Adam-12, Get Smart,
Gomer Pyle, Batman,
Gilligan, Flipper
Petticoat Junction, Andy Griffith,
I Dream of Jeannie, The Addams Family,
Dick Van Dyke,
The Green Hornet, McHale's Navy,
Mission: Impossible,
Green Acres, Hogan's Heroes,
Dragnet and Hawaii Five-O,
to name but a few.
Then there were the shows
that never made it past one season
and are mostly forgotten, but not by me.
In The Time Tunnel,
two scientists are lost in time,
always landing
at choice moments in history.
The Titanic,
Little Bighorn, Ford's Theatre.
Then there was a show called
It's About Time,
a comedy about two astronauts
that, upon reentry,
find themselves in a time warp,
now living in prehistoric times
- with cavemen and dinosaurs.
- I don't believe it!
- I believe it!
- I do too!
It was also
the first wave of syndication
- It's so tasty!
- where shows from slightly earlier eras
- were also on all the time.
- I'm Mister Ed.
And late at night, there would still be
Twilight Zone episodes.
When I was really little,
before I knew what it was,
I called it The Scary Flying Eyeball Show.
A dimension of sight.
A dimension of mind.
You're moving into a land of both shadow
and substance, of things and ideas.
Then there were Saturday mornings.
We'd get up early
and stare at the test patterns
and wait for the fun to begin.
Late on Saturday nights,
there was a local show called Weird
that opened with a creepy theremin piece.
Welcome to Weird.
They showed movies like the
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman,
The Incredible Shrinking Man
The Thing, The Beginning of The End
The Blob,
Attack of the Mushroom People.
Basically, anything
with atomic bomb-induced mutations.
- This concludes our broadcasting.
- Good night.
And now our national anthem.
- It would come to an end around midnight
- Hey.
- and the stations would go off the air.
- Hey. Turn everything off.
By Sunday nights during the school year,
a feeling of outright dread set in.
The Wonderful World of Color,
which is what it was calledbefore it was
The Wonderful World of Disney,
was lathered in this melancholy feeling.
With school looming the next morning,
- no matter how good that particular show
- Hey.
the freedom and fun of the weekend
was coming to a close.
And then, once a year,
there would be a special screening
of The Wizard of Oz on TV.
We would all gather around and watch.
- It's gonna go to color real soon, and it
- No!
It was so much more than a movie.
Until we got a color TV,
everything had been in black and white,
even Oz.
But whether in color or black and white,
the flying monkeys
always sent my sister Stephanie
either under the covers
- or out the door.
- Now fly! Fly!
- The latest casualties
- On the news,
the war in Vietnam was a constant,
and found its way
into almost everything goin' on.
The US Command reports
148 Americans killed in the war last week
For a kid, it was confusing.
Adults were always guilt-tripping us.
Everyone, finish every bite on your plate.
There are starving kids in Vietnam.
We were at war with them, bombing them,
but we cared about
their starving children?
- Pass, pass!
- Go, go, go.
- Gimme!
- Here!
- Pass, pass!
- Here! Throw it!
What made it
a perfect neighborhood to grow up in
was there were a ton of young families
with kids in our age range.
It was no problem gettin' a game goin'.
We'd play in someone's front yard,
the street, or, for some things,
we'd go down
to where the housing development ended,
and there was a big field
with a water treatment plant.
We called it Sewer Park.
When it was raining or at night,
my brother Greg and I invented
a baseball game
we could play in the garage.
Astros superstar Jim Wynn is up to bat.
Home run!
The Toy Cannon!
And the scoreboard is going crazy
on the line drive!
We'd have a baseball card draft
and create a team,
with all roads
leading to our own World Series.
This was just before the Nerf ball
was invented and changed everything.
there'd be a bench-clearing brawl.
Next up, Boog Powell!
That's it!
- Charge!
- Aah!
I'll never forget
all the kids in the neighborhood.
There was Larry,
who had a severe case of ringworm.
It seemed likeeveryone
in the neighborhood took turns
bein' the kid with a cast on.
Of course, there was Byron,
the son of a NASA scientist
and the local pyromaniac chemistry set kid
who was always building
little rocket-like propulsion devices.
he'd put a grasshopper in the pilot seat.
--Three, two, one!
Then there was Tony, the witty
smart aleck who would get you in trouble.
-He specialized in changing the lyrics
- to songs in music class
- Now to page 24.
- from traditional to, of course, dirty.
- Old Dan Tucker.
Stan, Tony, go stand out in the hall.
One of the downsides
of bein' a kid during this era
was they still thought it was a great idea
to train children like they were animals,
which required constant reminders
of what was incorrect conduct.
You were always one little screw-up
away from a beating
from any number
of the adults in your life.
Parents, principals, coaches,
even your friends' parents
who had these convenient
"You can paddle my kid
and I can paddle yours" agreements.
But nobody was more scary
than our principal,
the Grim Reaper himself,
Mr. Cowan.
Are you boys out here
for disciplinary reasons?
Follow me.
- No. No, no, no, no.
- All right. Get back to class.
Tony, Stan,
get in here.
I guess it fit the times.
Life was cheaper.
We were all more expendable,
and no one thought too deeply
about safety.
For instance, there we are, drivin' down
the Gulf Freeway at 70 miles an hour,
with a truck bed full of kids
on the way to the beach.
It never crossed anyone's mind
that we were all just one slight collision
or rollover away from being roadkill.
Just all of us gettin' Popsicles
at the pool could turn into a disaster.
Aah Aah! Aah!
Something about the way they were frozen
had turned them into dry ice,
and they stuck to all of our tongues.
Also, our neighborhood swimming pool
was routinely over chlorinated,
absolutely roasting everyone's eyes.
They just hadn't perfected
the chemical thing yet,
and it hadn't entered our minds that
anything they were doing could be harmful.
And we were definitely the last
of maybe two generations of kids
who thought it was great fun
to chase after
those DDT-spewing mosquito trucks.
And it wasn't at all uncommon
to return home
to find they'd nerve-gassed
the entire house with poison
to kill that occasional roach
that had been spotted.
And check out my Little League coach's
unique motivational technique.
For every error you committed
in the previous game,
you had to stand
before three of your teammates,
firing squad style,
trying to peg you with the ball.
My strategy was to try and catch
the one from the most accurate thrower,
dodge one,
and just hope the other guy missed.
You might just get out alive.
Yep. Amongst all the fun,
it always seemed like punishment,
pain, or injury were never too far away.
Like this game we used to play
called Red Rover.
Red rover, red rover
Let Stan come over
Red rover, red rover
Let Ronnie come over
We'd keep playin' certain games
until somethin' like this happened.
That simply meant
we'd now matured to a new level,
and it was time to quit playin' that game
and pick up a new one.
If it wasn't baseball,
football, or basketball,
it was goin' off on a big bike adventure.
We all got good at bike repair,
especially fixing flat tires.
And it seemed like
every longer car ride anywhere
included an obligatory changing of a flat.
It might have been that we were
in the pre-steel-belted radial era,
and they just
weren't very good at tires yet,
or the fact that Dad had
a penchant for buying used tires.
- Come on.
- Ever thought about gettin' a new tire?
Then it wouldn't match the other three,
and it would look funny, Steven.
We had all kinds of neighborhood games,
depending on who was playing.
If there were a lot of girls around,
all the guys' sisters, usually,
there was this game we played
called Statue Maker
Watch out.
where you'd have to say
what you were a statue of.
A phoenix.
A wave.
At night, the games moved indoors
or on the back porch.
So many classic board games.
- Five
- Five, six, seven
Sometimes when my folks
would be entertaining
and other families would be visiting,
we'd get all elaborate and set up
other games like bobbing for apples.
Watch and learn.
New world record right now.
Three, two, one, go.
At some point, Greg came up with
a foolproof way to win every time.
He was so dominant and adamant about it,
we all just sort of quit playing.
That's how you do it!
While my three sisters were,
for the most part, the opposition,
they weren't without some advantages.
Vicky had gotten a job at Baskin-Robbins
- All right.
- the revolutionary ice-cream shop
that offered a mind-blowing
31 different flavors,
and she got two free scoops a shift.
I think I'll have the banana nut fudge.
Good choice.
For the first two or three months
she worked there, she ate them herself.
But eventually, she got sick of ice cream
and started givin' 'em away,
so you wanted to be there
when she was gettin' off work.
Thank you.
Need I guess what flavor I must serve up
to earn my ride home?
You can say it.
Vanilla, please.
- Vanilla?
- Yeah, vanilla.
- You want vanilla?
- Yes.
- Of all these flavors, you want--
- Yes.
Just scoop it.
I don't remember my brother Steve
ever getting a flavor besides vanilla.
A waste of all those exotic flavors,
but I guess I admired
his contentment and consistency.
My sisters also seemed to set the tone
musically in the house,
and between them,
they covered a lot of ground.
The youngest, Stephanie,
liked whatever was popular.
I remember her listening to her 45
of The Archies' "Sugar Sugar"
over and over again.
The Archies were characters
out of a comic book,
but that didn't keep 'em
from havin' the biggest hit of 1969.
All right.
Last time, all right?
- Fine.
- I've had enough of this.
My middle sister, Jana, loved The Monkees
and, come to think of it,
pretty much any group
that had cute guys in it.
My tastes were, let's say, maturing.
To Herb Alpert, for instance.
Or at least
one particular album cover of his.
Vicky had
the coolest taste in music, of course,
and would happily lecture us
on the deeper meanings of songs.
It's like the true meanings
are snuck in there,
and we have to decipher them,
like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
It's right there for those who are
tuned in, but the straights
they don't get it.
Oh God! Turn it off,
turn it off, turn it off!
- Oh no!
- Breathe. Okay.
Oh, Jana!
- Jana was always having mishaps.
- Stop, stop. I'm pulling it.
She was the first to have to get stitches,
the first to break a bone.
- Oh!
- Stuff just happened to her.
And it seemed like a lot of extra work
bein' a girl.
Straight hair was the look
everyone was goin' for at the time,
but it was so difficult
in the humidity of Houston.
And this was before
all the hair products and blow dryers.
The curlers were so small back then,
they took to usin' orange juice cans.
My sisters were not only more resourceful
but much more dramatic.
Ouija, are you with us?
- Yes!
- Oh my gosh!
That's good.
Does Robert have a crush on me?
In our bedroom, Steve, Greg,
and I were in agreement
that the ultimate woman was Raquel Welch,
as seen in such movies as
One Million Years BC,
Fantastic Voyage, and Bandolero!
Steve had a stash of Playboys
hidden under the desk.
We never found out
which sister ratted us out.
The radio was always on,
playing the hits.
One of my favorites was "In The Year 2525"
with its ominous dystopian future.
I noticed a lot of girls I knew
had songs with their names in them.
There was one notable song
with a guy's name in it,
but his name was Sue.
We loved the ending
where they had to bleep out a curse word.
It has to be said that this was
the height of the prank call era,
more than a decade before caller ID.
We ranged from the basics, like
Do you have Prince Albert in the can?
Well, you'd better let him out.
To the much more elaborate
Hello. It's Tommy O at KRB
and Name That Tune.
Who am I speaking with?
Um, my name is Martha.
Martha? It's your lucky day, Martha!
Our jackpot's up to $285,
and it's all yours
if you can name this tune
after hearing five seconds of the song.
Are you ready?
Um, I guess so.
Name this tune.
Martha, can you name that tune?
Is that "Wichita Lineman?"
Yes! "Wichita Lineman"!
You've won the jackpot!
Jana, go get that. Tell 'em we're eating.
-Who is that?
- So rude.
- I know.
- Conversely, Dad had the answer
- Hello?
when our household was the continual
target of one prank caller.
It's him again.
I got something for that little shit.
Oh, that's, uh that's very interesting.
Well, you listen carefully to this.
That should split his eardrum.
I remember actually feeling
a little sorry for the prankster.
Not sure the punishment fit the crime.
When we weren't playing
in the Little League ourselves,
we'd hang out at the fields
to watch our friends play
and pretty much just fart around
and chase foul balls.
Bring that foul ball back
for a free snow cone!
- Okay.
- I'll have strawberry.
- That's one foul ball.
- And a Chick-O-Stick.
There's yours.
And yours.
Thank you, sir.
You could also get a free snow cone
by pickin' up a bag of trash.
I trust in God.
I love my country
and will respect its laws.
I will play fair and strive to win.
But win or lose, I will always do my best.
Now look to the flag incenter field
as we play our national anthem.
I felt so moved
by the Little League pledge
and the national anthem
that I felt it wasn't important
if we won or lost.
That sentiment usually lasted
until about the first pitch of the game.
But there was no better babysitter
than a triple feature at the Majestic,
which, despite its name,
was a pretty seedy theater.
I remember one line-up that featured
a sci-fi movie called Countdown
where the moon race ends
with us gettin' there,
only to find
the Russians had made it there, too,
but had, of course, died
in a crash landing of some kind.
As a gesture,
the American astronaut puts out the flags
of both the United States
and the Soviet Union.
Now a mad world!
And then
there were two scary movies.
- The Frozen Dead
- I must!
where a mad Nazi scientist plans
to revive a number of frozen Nazi leaders.
And It,
in which a crazed museum assistant,
played by Roddy McDowall,
brings a 16th-centurygolem to life
by putting a little scroll in its mouth.
It's indestructible,
according to the prophecy,
and becomes his accomplice
in murder and lots of mayhem.
Kill him!
The movie ends
with the golem walking into the sea.
There weren't really sequels back then,
so as far as I know,
the golem never came walking back out.
I'll never forget
the New Year's Eve party my parents had
as it was becoming
that fateful year of 1969.
While the adults partied inside,
most of us were in the backyard
where the Roman candle wars were raging.
And Byron's pyromania
had reached a new height
with a large chunk of drainage pipe,
a small explosion,
and a flaming softball across the sky.
Are you guys ready
for the countdown?
Okay. Here we go.
Ten, nine,
eight, seven,
five, four,
three, two, one.
Happy New Year!
I guess this is as good a place
as any to return to where we left off.
Yeah, yeah. Laugh all you want.
But here's what they told me
Good job, Stan. You didn't pass out.
Don't worry about the vomit.
Every astronaut, from John Glenn
to Neil Armstrong, they all upchuck.
At least the first time.
So while my childhood
had been fairly normal,
my time at NASA sure as hell wasn't.
I found myself in some intense training.
This one was actually called
the Vomit Comet.
I kind of loved 1/6th gravity,
but it was like learning to move around
with a whole new body.
And there was lots of classwork.
Not very exciting but necessary, I guess.
Underwater training
had been invented by Buzz Aldrin
after the failed Gemini space walk.
It was pretty scary.
And they had all kinds
of survival scenarios to think about,
train in, and plan for just in case,
from gettin' stranded in a jungle
to havin' totromp through a desert.
You had to be able to make clothes
and protective cover from your parachute.
I remember thinkin'
that if this ended up my fate,
it would be the least of my problems,
like one of those Twilight Zoneepisodes.
After I finished training,
they put me through a crash course
Probably not the best term for it,
I guess.
on how to fly all aspects
of what was now secretly being called
Apollo 10 1/2.
First, I had to learn every control,
even while blindfolded.
- Check.
- Event timer?
- Check.
- Temp in?
Simulation was one thing,
but to see what it felt like
to actually land a craft in 1/6th gravity,
they created this monster.
The Lunar Landing Training Vehicle,
or LLTV.
[engine roaring[
Neil Armstrong had almost died
tryin' to land this thing.
He bailed out just seconds
before it crashed and exploded,
and he went to lunch
like nothing had happened.
That was Neil.
Always cool as a cucumber.
After you learned
everything about the ship,
it was time for integrated simulation.
Kranz, Bostick, and everybody
was at the mission control,
I was in the simulator,
and we were all being tested
by the simulation supervisors.
These ominous voices
behind a two-way mirror.
Leak started in CSM propulsion.
S-IVB engine shut down
during abort mode, overlap.
They were known
as "sim sups" for short.
They'd sit behind their dark window
at mission control
and come up with the most diabolical
scenarios you could imagine,
so that no matter what happened
out there in space, you'd be ready.
I heard, during the Gemini program,
they had a controller fake a heart attack
to see how everyone would respond.
Everyone pretty much hated him.
Okay, last simulation.
Let's knock this out,
land safely, and call it a day,
hopefully in time for some beers
at the Singing Wheel.
Well, Coke for you, Stan.
Tang's good for me, Flight.
All right. You are a go for power descent.
Okay. Engine start. 10% thrust.
Lookin' good.
You are go for full throttle.
Full throttle.
Thousand feet.
Getting a 1201 program alarm.
- 1201? Bales, what the hell is that?
- Hold on.
750 feet.
"Computer overload.
Can't complete all tasks."
All systems seem in order.
Jack, what's goin' on here?
It's a bailout alarm. The computer's
overloaded for some reason.
500 feet. Looks fine on my end.
400 feet.
1202 alarm!
I-- I can't see a thing wrong,
but this isn't good.
I-- I think it's time to abort.
Flight guidance, something's wrong
with the computer. Abort.
Are we gonna abort flight?
- Flight abort.
- Darn it! Abort!
This was not an abort!
If you'd read the manual thoroughly,
you would have known
to continue on the landing.
Instead, we now have astronauts
comin' back to Earth
with their tail between their legs,
a billion tax dollars wasted,
and front-row seats watching the Russians
plant their flags up there in August!
You happy?
By the time I was really up there,
ready for liftoff,
I was actually very calm,
because I felt I had already done it.
They had whipped me into fighting shape.
I remember
bein' more excited than nervous.
Maybe too calm, come to think of it.
Stan, are you ready?
So it was off to the moon and back.
We carried out Apollo 10 1/2's
secret mission without a hitch.
But then it was like it never happened.
No headlines.
No ticker-tape parade for me.
I couldn't tell anyone, even my family.
When Apollo 11 launched on July 16th
and landed on the moon four days later,
I was watching it on TV
like everyone else around the world.
But to me,
it felt like it was some kind of dream.
I was the only person on Earth who knew
exactly what they were experiencing.
It was like I was up there with them.
But I wasn't.
I was here.
You see the Saturn V right there?
They put it on a barge in Huntsville,
Alabama, where they built it.
Then it goes up to Tennessee and Ohio,
then shoots on down the Mississippi.
Goes across the Gulf of Mexico,
rounding the tip of Florida,
then they drop it off at Cape Kennedy.
Now, of course, if it was to come here,
you'll wanna take a right at the Gulf,
then it's pretty much
Galveston Bay, then Clear Lake,
and then we could walk across
NASA Road 1 and pick it up from there.
check of all the systems
aboard the spacecraft
- And you're in charge of all that?
- ready to go
If that's not shipping and receiving,
I don't know what is.
Eastern time.
That huge, 36-story-high launch vehicle
But, no, Kyle in Florida
takes care of most of the details.
T-minus 34 minutes and counting,
with everything going well.
Astronauts fit as a fiddle,
according to the report,
as they wait there
for the launch of Apollo 11.
The spacecraft systems
are checking out perfectly
in these final checkouts.
The weather is good,
and it seems
that man will get off this morning
in this great adventure
to land finally on the moon
Are you nervous at all?
- No, not really.
- Why would Dad be nervous?
I'm not!
Well, hon, your dad is a part of this too.
So many people are.
we really don't have a language
to to describe this thing.
Uh, how do you say, uh
"high as the sky" anymore?
"The sky's the limit."
What does that mean?
Does the moon
seem strange and far away to you?
No, not really.
There's things further out than the moon.
And is it true
that the young people
So now, of course,
I'm thinking about the next thing.
Mars and beyond.
You're thinking of Mars and beyond?
We haven't gotten to the moon yet, Arthur!
That's the nature
of you science-fiction writers, I suppose.
We'll find some surprises on the moon.
Not necessarily on this first flight,
but I'm sure eventually.
I don't know if they'll find a large
black monolith waiting for us on the moon.
A reference to 2001
- Would you like to--
- Stan! Get in here! It's about to launch!
Well, the, uh, engines
that generate that thrust
have a combined horsepower
equal to 543 jet fighter planes.
They burn 5,662,000 pounds of fuel,
the equivalent of 98 railroad tank cars,
the capacity of a small town's water tank.
Their launch vehicle there weighs
as much as the submarine Nautilus.
Liftoff, the noise reaches 120 decibels
and has been compared
to eight million hi-fi sets
playing at once.
we need a go-no-go for launch.
- Go, flight controllers.
- Go.
- Okay. Retro.
- Go.
- FIDO. Guidance.
- Go.
- Go.
- Control.
- Go.
- Telcom.
- Eecom. Surgeon.
- Go.
CapCom, we're go to continue.
T-minus 60 seconds and counting.
All right, 64-zero-five.
As tonight's report, it feels good.
T-minus 25 seconds.
-Move! Your head's in the way.
- 20 seconds and counting.
Yeah, come on.
T-minus 15 seconds.
- Guidance is internal.
- A little lower.
Twelve. Eleven.
Ten. Nine. Ignition sequence start.
Six. Five.
Four. Three.
Two. One.
Zero. All engine running.
We have a liftoff.
The program, of which Apollo 11
Buildings shaking.
We're getting that buffeting
we've become used to.
What a moment. Man on the way to the moon.
It's looking good, Flight.
Right down the middle.
Flight, they all look good.
Looks like a good trajectory
so far, doesn't it, Wally?
Very good. Very good.
Downrange one mile.
- Three, four miles.
- it's confirmed
2,195 feet per second.
Everything fell into place.
- Still see it?
- Yes, indeed.
First separation, get ready.
Bird, you're looking good.
But you know what? This terrific
bikini was made by a paper company.
Confil's fantastic!
It is like paper in one way.
So cheap, you can just throw it away.
Well, on that note
I've got things to do.
This is the coffee.
It doesn't care that it looks different.
It's the way coffee is--
This is Jethro Bodine calling space people
by mental telepathy.
You're probably lookin'
for a big Earth brain
to take back to Venus or Mars or wherever
They must be Martians!
Eh, cosi, cosa.
- What are they saying?
- Okay. Wait a sec.
What is this crap?Jethro!
Where is the coverage?
- This third stage
- Come on. It's a historic day.
five minutes and 47 seconds
to increase their speed
Historically boring day.
- Pardon?
- put them on the way to the moon.
26,000 feet per second.
Burn is going well.
Ignition came right at the moment
when it was expected to.
the full thrust has been monitored.
Telemetry and radar tracking both solid.
Velocity now exceeds
35,000 feet per second.
Altitude, one, seven, seven
nautical miles.
You are now out of orbit, Stan.
Seem to have trouble
raising the Apollo at the moment.
So an engine cutoff, they confirmed.
We haven't heard from the spacecraft.
These minutes give us great concern.
Apollo 10 1/2, this is Houston.
Do you read?
Roger, Houston. This is Apollo 10 1/2.
That was a magnificent ride.
Roger, Apollo 10 1/2.
We'll pass that on.
And it looks like
you are well on your way.
And that was
the beginning of my trip to the moon.
Even though I was movin'
at 7,500 miles per hour
it sure felt to me like
three and a half very long travel days.
Three. Two
The coverage continued
on the TV, of course,
and the growing anticipation
of what was going to happen
in a few days was ever present.
Not this time!
But a few days flyin' to the moon
is a long time.
- And it was summer.
- Dark Shadows is starting without us!
All right! Bye, guys!
Bye. Tomorrow.
That night we went to the drive-in.
- Hi.
- Deploying Dad's money-saving scheme.
Four adults. And then two of them
are children that are under 12,
so if they're under 12,
that's, you know, free.
Okay. That's $6.
You better believe it is.
Come on!
Come up!
- Oh jeez!
- Sh, sh!
I'm in!
- We wanna see Hellfighters!
- No. No movie with the word "hell".
- It's filmed in Houston with John Wayne!
- I want Swiss Family Robinson!
You can stay here
and watch Swiss Family Robinson.
We're going to see Hellfighters.
- Okay, fine.
- All right, fine.
The car will stay on the Shakiest Gun
in the West, Swiss Family Robinson side.
Just get back when it's over!
- Yes, Dad!
- Okay!
- What did he just say?
- Get back when it's over!
Thank you.
Hold on. Settle in.
- Oh yeah. That's real nice.
It was always fun
to just roam around.
We'd go lookin' for couples
makin' out in their cars.
The best giveaway was a car
that's brake light was goin' on and off.
section of drill pipe
you see sticking out of the hole
has to be cut off right at the well head
before they can move in with the nitro.
It's spreading the flame
This was the last phase
of childhood where I experienced
that special comfort
of falling asleep in the car.
You could drift off,
knowing everything was going to be fine.
And you'd wake up the next morning
in your bed.
In space, it was a little more lonely.
The next day, we all went to the beach
in our friend's pickup.
It was about a one-hour drive.
Galveston, oh, Galveston.
It was the only beach we knew.
But it was always so fun.
Cars and gritty hot dogs be damned!
And just by goin' in the water, we were,
to some degree, risking our lives
because there was an undertow
that would gladly pull you underwater
and kick you out somewhere in Louisiana.
If that didn't get you,
there were jellyfish floatin' around
everywhere, ready to sting you,
and barnacles on the random posts
sticking out of the water,
ready to rip you to shreds.
It seemed like
there was always an oil spill
somewhere out in the Gulf of Mexico,
resulting in little tar balls everywhere.
At the end of the day,
we'd scrub our tar-blackened feet clean
with gasoline.
And during these days,
because of the moon mission,
the TV was full of classic sci-fi movies.
The most memorable
was maybe the 1950 version
of Robert Heinlein's Destination Moon
which predicted nearly 20 years in advance
so much of what would actually happen
in 1969.
It's amazing everything it got right.
The initial failed launch.
A Texan demanding it all be built here.
Well, all I gotta say is
we'd better build it in Texas.
Looking back at Earth.
- Whoa, whoa, whoa. What--
- What are you doing?
- Janis Joplin's on Dick Cavett.
- was all over
- No, uh
- Yeah, the movie's not even over yet.
The boys have dominated the TV all night.
It's our turn.
May I light your fire, my child?
That's my favorite singer. How'd you know?
- I guess not.
- Apparently not, no.
Well, I would have bet against it myself
Oof! Stan!
- Get off!
- No!
- To get down and really get into music
- No, no. Stop it!
- get on the bottom floor of music
- No!
instead of fiddling on the top
like most chick singers do.
I think they
on the top of the melody
instead of getting into the feeling
of the music, I don't know.
That's a good enough answer for me.
We spent a good part
of the next day,
like so many other hot summer days,
just hangin' out at the pool.
We all had our diving board specialties.
I had perfected the jackknife,
the cannonball,
and the lesser-known preacher's seat.
Greg was good at creating
some dives of his own.
But the highlight was probably
gettin' to have a Frito pie for lunch,
which was just a bag of Fritos
with the side split open
and a bunch of chili mixed in.
By the time I entered lunar orbit,
I was traveling at 2,287 miles per hour
and around a celestial body
that's never had an Earthling on it.
I looked down as I was passing over
the Sea of Tranquility.
It didn't look too tranquil to me.
Where in the world was I gonna land?
Hello. I'm Johnny Cash.
When we got home
from the pool that night,
we all watched The Johnny Cash Show.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Monkees!
- It's them, it's really them!
- Oh my gosh!
Davy is so cute!
We'd rushed home
because Stephanie and Jana said
the Monkees were gonna be on.
There was Micky, Davy, and Mike,
but where was Peter?
And then later,
there was Joni Mitchell
singin' a duet with Johnny.
She has the most interesting voice.
She's such a versatile artist.
She's a painter too.
Then the big day came.
July 20th, 1969.
They were going to land on the moon
some time in the afternoon
and walk on it in the evening.
But Dad had a surprise option for us.
Okay. We've been given
some discounted tickets to AstroWorld.
But they're only good for today.
So you can go, obviously,
or you can stay here with us and watch
the news coverage of the moon landing.
But won't we miss the landing?
No, they're not scheduled to walk
until later today, so you'll be home.
- Yes!
- I'll tell you what. Let's vote.
- Vicky, what's your day lookin' like?
- I'm working till five.
- Steve?
- I have a couple of yards.
Of course.
And you four?
- Who's up for some AstroWorld?
- Yeah!
No one could pass up a trip
to AstroWorld.
It was the greatest place of all.
It was a huge amusement park right across
the freeway from the Astrodome,
and Houston's version of Disneyland.
A place of non-stop adventure
and excitement.
Seemed like everything was "Astro."
The Astro Wheel.
The Astro Needle.
Astro Way.
Then there was the Black Dragon.
The Bamboo Chute.
And the Spin Out car ride.
The Lost World jungle boat ride
featured alligators
and restless natives firing arrows at you.
Our usual strategy was to get there early,
right when the gates opened,
and then sprint to the Alpine sleigh ride
near the back of the park.
It was by far the most popular ride.
Maybe you could ride it a
few times real quick
before the line started gettin' too long
and there'd be a 45-minute wait.
The ride was exhilarating.
There was a big waterfall.
An avalanche room.
An echo tunnel
where what you yelled out in one place,
you'd hear again in the next cave.
- Hello to the future!
- Davy Jones forever!
Miss you!
Hello to the future!
Davy Jones forever!
Miss you!
And it all led up
to this crazy finale.
You'd be goin' along all pleasant-like,
then you'd come around a corner,
the car would slow down,
and you'd realize you were headin'
into a dark, forebodingmine shaft-lookin'
opening in the side of the mountain.
And just when you thought
things had returned to normal
The Abominable Snowman
was probably some college drama student.
One time,
we even caught him takin' a smoke break.
We'll be going off air
shortly, and we'll pick you up for sure.
It's 40 minutes
before the landing on the moon,
and it is now nine minutes
before we should begin to hear
from the command module
coming around on this pass,
the 14th revolution of the moon.
This landing
is not just as simple as as it sounds.
They've got to come in
over some rather high features
before they make that set down
on a fairly flat point in the moon.
The hard part is to get that close
and then have to commit to leaving,
after all this work.
I think that pressure is probably
the greatest amount of pressure
any crew will ever have.
--They roll now to the windows up position.
Our position downrange
We gotta be a go
before we start this burn.
- Go/no go for a lower descent. Retro.
- Go!
- FIDO. Guidance.
- Go.
- Control.
- Go.
- Telcom.
- Go.
- GNC.
- Go.
- Eecom.
- Go.
- You are a go to continue power descent.
- It looks good.
- Yeah it's still on.
- Roger.
Pitch 212, yaw 537
It's another major milestone.
Altitude, 40,000.
Getting a program alarm. 1202 alarm.
- Flight--
- We're go on that alarm?
Roger. 1202. We copy it.
We are go on that alarm.
- Converging on Delta-H.
- Flight control, we have velocity.
What's this alarm?
It's a go case
that's just apparently some
Eagle, we'll monitor to Delta 8
-It's coming up on the computer
- Delta 8, look good now.
Well, at least this is more fun
than the simulator.
I think that's given.
Okay. Roger.
They could abort the landing
at that point.
We're down to just minutes.
Now reading 760 feet per second.
Okay, we've still got
landing radar guidance.
- So far.
- Okay.
- Velocity 9,100 feet per second
- Going fast.
Switchover time, please, Houston.
760 feet per second.
On their way down.
Altitude, 4,200.
- Radar test.
- You are a go for landing, Eagle.
- Confirmed.
- 3,000 feet.
We're go. 2,000 feet, 47 degrees.
- Roger.
- Roger, Eagle. Lookin' good. You are a go.
How's America lookin', Bob?
It's okay.
- Okay.
- We're on a high.
Altitude, 1,600.
- Up to the-- Let's go.
- 1,400.
You're lookin' good.
They've got a good look
at their site now.
-This is the critical time. They'll hover.
- 1,400 feet.
They're gonna make the decision.
750 feet.
We look good here.
540 feet.
The data's
coming in beautifully.
100 feet. Down at 19.
Big crater. Very rocky.
Phew. Well
looks like you're gonna have to take over
the controls and land her yourself.
That's 20 feet.
- Sixty. Sixty seconds.
- Sixty seconds.
Lights on.
Down two and a half. Forward.
Forty feet.
Pickin' up some dust.
Thirty feet.
Big shadow.
Guys, lookin' good. Down a half.
Pitch forward.
- No level?
- No level.
Less than 20 seconds of fuel left.
Forward. Drifting right.
Contact light.
Engine stopped.
Engine arm off.
-Engine arm off.
- We're home.
-4-13 is in.
Man on the moon!
Eagle, we copy. You down?
Houston, Tranquility Base here.
The Eagle has landed.
Roger, Tranquility.
We copy you on the ground.
You got a bunch of boys
about to turn blue.
We're breathin' again. Thanks a lot.
Oh boy!
- Phew! Boy!
- We're gonna be busy for a minute.
-That's real good.
- Wally, I'm speechless.
- I'm just trying to hold onto my grub.
Boy, oh boy, oh boy.
We were way up in the air
on the Astro Way when we got the news.
- They landed!
- They're on the moon!
Cool, man! They did it!
Yes, they did!
They did it!
- They landed on the moon!
- Yeah, they made it!
They were on the moon,
but nobody was sure when they would walk,
so we just stayed close by,
glued to the screen.
The Times yesterday ran an editorial
saying Mr. Nixon was trying
to use this politically
It's lost to history, but at the time,
a lot of folks had a big problem
with how much it was costing
to go to the moon.
What else we could be doing
with the money and what it represented.
more like 15th-century Spain.
We're discovering a new world.
But, uh, I wonder if we don't have
our own Inquisition going in Vietnam,
in the name of that great religion
of anti-communism
What the hell is she doin' on TV,
on today of all days?
- Who put her on?
- I wonder
I'll bet the phones
are ringin' off the hook at CBS.
I think she looks cool.
I love her hair.
When you look at Cape Kennedy, youfind it
surrounded by a good deal of poverty.
When you look at the Houston Center,
less than 4%
of the employees there are Black
Is that true, Dad?
How many Black kids are in your class,
Greg? One? Of course it's true.
is somewhat disturbing.
When are they gonna
walk on the moon?
- Yeah. What are they waiting for?
- I feel it's a great achievement
as far as science is concerned.
But cash they wasted, as far
as I'm concerned, in gettin' to the moon
could've been used
to feed poor Black people
in Harlem and all over the place,
all over this country.
So never mind the moon.
Let's get some of that cash in Harlem.
Right on.
As Dr. Paine said earlier
on the earlier Apollo flight,
this was a triumph for the squares.
I suppose that's one reason
people find this a little distasteful
After the day at AstroWorld,
it was hard to keep your eyes open
as the coverage droned on and on.
- This was done
- There was so much waiting
as the astronauts
struggled to get suited up
- and the cabin depressurized.
- haven't had an estimate
- I felt their pain.
- as to how far they are
But I also couldn't help but think
of all the years of dreams and effort
that were just now minutes away
from becoming a reality.
- an estimate of that.
- Hey. They're about to step out.
That's okay.That's good.
He can't see where he's going.
He's backing out of the hatch.
- So close You're doin' fine.
- He didn't wanna
catch on the side of that opening.
Delicate suit and backpack.
Okay, Houston,
I'm on the porch.
Roger, Neil.
We're gettin' a picture on the TV.
Three more steps, then a long one.
- Okay.
- There's a foot
There he is.
There's a foot coming down the steps.
Neil, we can see you
coming down the ladder now.
We can see you coming.
I'm at the foot of the ladder.
The LEM footpads are only, uh, depressed
one or two inches,
although the surface
appears to be very, very fine-grained
as you get close to it,
it's almost like a powder.
Look at those pictures.
I'll step off the LEM now.
- Armstrong is on the moon.
- I'll step off the LEM now.
There he is.
38-year-old American
standing on the surface of the moon.
Yes. Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
It's one small step for man,
one giant leap for mankind.
The surface is fine and powdery.
I can
I can pick it up loosely with my toe.
It does adhere in fine layers, uh
like powdered charcoal to the
to the sole and sides of my boots.
The footprints of my boots and the treads
in the fine, sandy particles.
Hey, look at the bounding step.
Oh, look at that. Yes.
Okay, ready for me to come out?
Talk about being super casual.
- Boy, looks like fun, doesn't it?
- All right. That's got it.
Are you ready?
-Beautiful view.
- Isn't that somethin'?
Magnificent sight out here.
Magnificent desolation.
We can kind of see
the footprints
of man leaving footprints on the moon.
Without any atmosphere there,
no wind, no rain to wear them away,
they might stay there
for quite a long time.
Columbia on the high gain. Over.
The EVA is progressing beautifully.
They're setting up the flag now.
They've got the flag up now,
- You can see the Stars and Stripes.
- Yeah.
You can see the Stars and Stripes
on the lunar surface.
Beautiful. Just beautiful.
So-called kangaroo hop.
They're beginning
to get pretty frisky up there.
Tranquility Base, this is Houston.
Can we get both of you
on the camera, please?
The President of the United States
would like to say
a few words to you, over.
That would be an honor.
I'm talking to you by telephone
from the Oval room at the White House,
and this certainly has to be
the most historic telephone call
ever made.
I just can't tell you how proud we all are
of what you have done.
This has to be
the proudest day of our lives.
Because of what you have done,
the heavens have become
a part of man's world.
And as you talk to us
from the Sea of Tranquility,
it inspires us to redouble our efforts
to bring peace and tranquility to Earth.
For one priceless moment
in the whole history of man,
all the people on this Earth
are trulyone.
One in their pride in what you have done,
and one in our prayers
that you will return safely to Earth.
Okay. Good night.
Good night, hon.
- Thank you, Mr. President
- Good night, ladies.
- It's a great honor and privilege
- Good night, sweet peas.
Good night. See you in the morning.
glad there are no chimpanzees
standing there
- I think I'm gonna go to bed too.
- Okay.
- Steven?
- Hey.
- What a day we've seen
- Let him go to sleep.
- I'm tired. Good night.
- day such as man has never seen before.
A day that has been played out
before our very eyes
by this miracle that happily came along
at the same time as man's exploration
of space - television.
We have seen the men
exploring the moon in
oh, they're magnificent pictures,
considering that they come from
a quarter of a million miles out
and on the surface of the moon,
man has landed there,
and man has taken his first steps there.
I wonder, Eric Sevareid,
just what there is to add to that.
Uh, somehow,
they found a strange beauty there
that I suppose they could
never really, uh, describe to us.
It may not be a beauty that can
pass on to future beholders either.
Well, for thousands of years now,
it's been man's dream to walk on the moon.
Right now, after seeing it happen,
knowing that it happened,
it still seems like a dream.
And it is, I guess, a dream come true.
- Greg.
- What?
Go to bed.
Good night.
Congratulations. You did it.
Well, we all did it.
Oh, that's nice of you to say.
Was Stan awake
when he took the first steps?
I don't know. They were tired.
AstroWorld took it out of them.
I just want him
to be able to tell his grandkids
he saw the first steps on the moon.
Well, you know how memory works.
Even if he was asleep,
he'll someday think he saw it all.
T-minus ten nine
seven six right up into it
five four
three two
We have liftoff!
T-minus ten nine
more fuel eight
seven I'm steppin' on six
four three
We have liftoff!
T-minus ten nine
more fuel eight
seven I'm steppin' on six
four three
We have liftoff!