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"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth."  Those were the words of President John F. Kennedy who presented a challenge in 1961 in a special message to the United States Congress on urgent national needs.   

And, after several years, the long-awaited goal of landing on the moon was not imagination but reality when the Apollo space program did it.  The foundation for Apollo began in the early 1960s with Mercury and Gemini spacecraft missions, forerunner to Apollo, the significant bridges to the Moon.

I. My take on Apollo

   A magnificent event happened on July 20th about 50 years ago.  

   Three astronauts flew on a Saturn rocket to the Moon, with lift-off beyond 15,000 miles per hour, and journeyed to the Moon.  Thank you Canuckdian for sharing your video.
An America of 194 million joined a world of some 3 and a half billion to marvel July 20, 1969, when astronauts Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Neil Armstrong piloted their Eagle lunar landing module, descend over the Moon's surface and touch down at 4:18 EST.  The astronauts took time to dine before their next step, the actual first steps on the Moon.   

   Several things you handle today are a result of the research and technology that came from prior work decades ago, such as smartphones, which you take for granted today.  They stem from what was begun and funded into NASA over 50 years ago, and even though the computer you have, like a laptop or high-end cell phone, has more power that the computers used 5 decades ago, through time they evolved as a result of man's attempt to go to the Moon.

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   To lead our trip back into time, I discovered this very nice and informative video from CBS Sunday Morning about Apollo.  And this great video SATURN V GREAT DOCUMENTARY about 5 mins: A beast comes alive.  

    Here is a novel movie with stunning shots in First Man (2018 5 mins).      

    It is incredible but, the whole nation fifty years ago was wrapped in the theme of outer space, with a subtheme to explore new worlds--why do you think the old Star Trek of the 1960s had their opening sequence to explore new worlds? 

     Even Disneyland (in California) had its rides geared more on the exploration theme than just mere fantasy, due to the foresight of Walt Disney, such as the ride to the Moon (which was replaced by Mission to Mars and then the iconic Space Mountain.  We can even add  Monsanto's Adventure Thru Inner Space, which just celebrated its own 50th Anniversary.  Mr. Walt Disney once said, "You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world...but It takes people to make the dream a reality." Disney had a superb imagination and loved bringing happiness to children; few know to his credit, he received over 950 honors including France's Legion of Honor and Officer of Academic decorations; Thailand's Order of the Crown; Brazil's Order of the Southern Cross; Mexico's Order of the Aztec Eagles, the Showman of the World Award from the National Associations of Theatre Owners, 48 Academy awards, 7 Emmys, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  How much did it cost to visit Disneyland, you may ask?   Ready for this?  Entry fee for Disneyland in 1970 was $3.75.  No such thing as passes.  We had A to E tickets.  Rides in A category ( the crummiest) were 10 cents.  E tickets cost 90 cents. That was a time Big Macs cost 49 cents and a regular hamburger 18 cents.

The early astronauts wore silver spacesuits such as this GI Joe in this collectors photo.  A 1968 GI JOE astronaut set; at that time GI Joes were made in the USA, courtesy of Howlin' wolf reviews 

   Behind the main story are myriad descriptions that go back to Gemini with its headaches, such as problems regarding flight control systems that had to be overcome.  For educational purposes, we feel this 51 min documentary on the bridge to the Moon is important to include on this historical anniversary of the Apollo moon landing.  It marked a high mark in U.S. History.  <WOWAmerica was graced with this great clip of Al Roker interviewing Buzz Aldrin on NBC Today. 

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The 50th Anniversary


50 years ago

      I remember vividly so well the astronauts first walk on the Moon even though I was just a kid. After having their meal and skipping their planned rest, the two astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong released the Modularized Equipment Stowage Assembly to activate the surface television camera so that we on Earth could see them.  Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface at 10:56 pm EDT. Thanks NASA.

     It was still lighted outside here in California, although we were entering twilight because I remember taking out my binoculars a few times and stepping outside on our front porch, and peering into the big Moon, as if those binoculars would bring the moon walk closer, although, it was not quite dark, yet.  The moon appeared more grand than ever.  With the eyes of the world on him, Neil armstong said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."  We saw it in b-w. Actual historic footage, courtesy of 2 videos NASA and Apollo 11- Apollo Flight journal.   The late 60s and early 70s were for me a time of growing-up in Los Angeles watching Saturday cartoons, H.R. PufnStuf, Hogans Heroes, Mannix and Boy Scout summers.  And, going to Disneyland to ride the new Space Mountain along with my favorites like Pirates of the Caribbean, Rocketship to Mars, Matterhorn and Adventures through Innerspace.  I always liked science.   In the 1960s and up to around 1971, thinking about another science, ecology, and eco-friendliness was in the future, for it didn't take root until a few years into the 1970s as I remember it in the big city.  Being a youngster however, everybody wanted to take part and help clean Mother Earth.  Back to 1969, I remember going outside and seeing everybody had their TVs on and were watching the same thing: the Moon landing.  It was a pretty hot July night, and all windows and many doors were wide open.  I admit few houses in our neighborhood had fully air conditioned homes.  The two astronauts spend about 2 1/2 hours carrying out their activities complete with scientific experiments and collecting lunar material.  The crew splashed down on July 24 when they came back as heroes.  The man who first stepped onto the lunar surface rarely gave interviews, and here is a chance of a video clip that I found on Youtube of him being interviewed on 60 Minutes. Los Angeles of the 1960s, when everyone I knew drank Tang, courtesy of George Vreeland Hill. Thanks George for the great video.  All music is from the period.

The universe and the creation is so much greater than anyone ever realized.

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Imagine going up into space powered by 5 Saturn V engines capable of propelling you at over 15,000 miles an hour.  Before man could take a giant leap, who fashioned the spacesuits?  Ever wonder how those space suits were made.  Here is an interesting piece, of the contribution the American woman made to the flexible astronaut space suits--it meant life or death for men in space     Here is another bit of history on the man who helped save Apollo 11.  And, a million thanks to Amy S. Teitel and Vintage Space.

June of 2019, I had the opportunity to visit the National Radio Astronomy Observatory Very Large Array (VLA) public Visitor Center, where I saw this exceptional 24 min video on the exploration and technology of the cutting edge technologies inherent to astronomy, narrated by Jodie Foster.  If you ever are in Albuquerque, visit the VLA center, but be warned, your cell phones become inoperative.  Over the years, I have collected several GI Joes.

Next, is an interesting 1 min video of GI Joe Astronaut, from the creative folks at blueflamechevelle and a snapshot of the Apollo editions put out by Hasbro, honoring the Apollo Space program.  On your left is Buzz Aldrin and on the right is the edition which has a Life magazine neetly reproduced in small size, with actual tiny content inside, (next to the space station.) You can barely make out the magazines in the box on the right, in two sizes.   By the way, on your left is a  GI Joe figure of Jimmy Doolittle.  


The 1960s is an era far different than what you may imagine, especially if you are under 21.  The air might not have been cleaner nor did the range of digital technology exist as we have today, but we had foods not nurtured in artificial this and that's, we ate healthier, the plumbing were the same, we didn't depend on outside sources for energy, and it was a heck of a lot safer for kids.  America was also in an ambience of the Space Age.  The toys we played with also gyrated around the theme of outer space, and many of my fondest memories were connected to Mattel's Major Matt Mason, of which I like to enclose of what I mean.  I try to include pictures of what existed, beginning with this link of the about 6-inch astronauts; Paramount's movie was canned but, not the story of Maj. Matt Mason and buddies.  Mattel's popularity could never have existed without the creativity and vast lines the Mattel engineers dreamed up.  Items ranged from Space Crawlers, lunar space stations with working lighted beacons (with a couple of space aliens) and space shields, Moon suits, moon sleds and I could go on infinitum, so take a look.  None of the links or pictures are used for personal commercial purposes.  Time to explore outer space.  Believe me, we had a lot of imagination.  We had a big round oak table, and my brother and I would sometimes put the space station undeneath the table, and pretend we were deep inside the moon, safe inside a giant cavern away from falling space rocks. Unfortunately, we never had the ReconoJet II, but we had the awesome lunar Space Station, both videos courtesy of blueflamechevelle.  The item with the word NASA is really the top of the station, ie. the roof, where you could put the beacon or the space crawler on its side to act as a giant crane with a working wench. 

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space suits were

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Callisto in green, Doug in yellow, Sgt Storm in red, Jeff in blue and Maj. Matt Mason first in white, later in silver. An intro courtesy of Sixties Child that shows the impressive array.

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Above are samples of what you may find on Ebay.   This link is from John who has quite a collection, about 11 minutes, courtesy of Awesome ModelsComics&Toys. A real 1968 commercial in color. The red rocket actually would fire, and had a cap that when the rocket hit something, you would hear it pop.  The blue shields were collapsible, and the beacon lighted up. The lady astronaut is Jo Ann, is custom made, and can be found at this link.  The Space Bubble in action.

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The photo, near the photo of the Life magazine, with the two round white disks, along with 3 clips that hold the center module in place and silver utensils and a first aid kit are space station accessories that you place on any floor of the space station, and you place your figure on it so he/she would not fall through the cracks.  Photo with the big number 3 is the Moon suit storage rack.

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