To the Moon!

I was stationed in Thailand with the U.S. Air Force when the first manned moon landing happened on July 20, 1969. (That’s me defending the free world at right.) We received news there via armed forces newspapers and radio, but I think I felt a distance from events since most of them were taking place half-way around the world. Besides the moon landing, other seismic events in 1969 included Woodstock, Altamont, Chappaquiddick, the Chicago Seven trial, Easy Rider and Abbey Road, the Stonewall riot, Nixon’s election, and the Manson murders. It was a full load. I just realized there was a second moon landing (Apollo 12) that November. I’d forgotten that. You always remember the first time something significant happens.

I read a lot of science fiction as a kid. And saw many SF movies. When the Russians kicked off the space race with Sputnik in 1957, it felt like the promise of all that was being fulfilled. It’s been very disappointing that space exploration stalled for years and only now seems like it might get off the ground again. I’d thought at the very least that the moon and Mars would have colonized by now. The films I saw in the years before Apollo 11 fired my imagination. Here is a selection of films made both before and after the first moon landing. Most have serious intent, while a couple are just plain goofy.

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Release dates and directors for the films are as follows:

A Trip to the Moon (1902) – Georges Méliès

Woman in the Moon (1929) – Fritz Lang

Destination Moon (1950) – Irving Pichel

From the Earth to the Moon (1958) – Bryon Haskin

Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) – Arthur Hilton

Radar Men from the Moon (1952) – Fred C. Brannon

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – Stanley Kubrick

Countdown (1968) – Robert Altman

Moon Zero Two (1969) – Roy Ward Baker

The Right Stuff (1983) – Phillip Kaufman

Apollo 13 (1995) – Ron Howard

First Man (2018) – Damien Chazelle

Apollo 11 (2019) – Todd Douglas Miller

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See you next time. — Ted Hicks

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About Ted Hicks

Iowa farm boy; have lived in NYC for 40 years; worked in motion picture labs, film/video distribution, subtitling, media-awards program; obsessive film-goer all my life.
This entry was posted in Books, Documentaries, Feature films, Fiction, Film, Home Video, Non-Fiction, TV & Cable. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to To the Moon!

  1. david M Fromm says:

    This really fuels memories !

  2. Vic Losick says:

    I didn’t realize how much you missed during your deployment! (Love the Alice Kramden.)

    • Ted Hicks says:

      I was happy to get out of the Air Force when my 4 years were up, but I got sent to some good places and had a pretty good time (what I remember of it). Glad you liked the Honeymooners reference. I definitely wanted to end it with that.

  3. Greg A Slagle says:

    Great photo Ted. I need to see more. Great posting!

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