From the Earth to the Moon... Mar 3, 2005 1:32:55 GMT -6
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Mar 3, 2005 1:32:55 GMT -6
From the Earth to the Moon
Through the gracious courtesy of Chicago Astronomer Becky, I recently had the opportunity to watch the HBO special "From the Earth to the Moon", produced by Tom Hanks in 1998 with an all star cast.
This is one hell of a production!
It starts out with the Mercury missions, but not just the glossy scenes we know and have seen already. This 12 part series explains the absolute minutia of the space effort and the lives of the people behind it. It progresses through the Gemini and finally the Apollo missions all the way to the last Apollo 17 lunar landing.
I learned quite a few things about the space race that I never knew before, such as: The surly nature of Alan Shepard, the fate of the astronauts wives, the fun nature of the Apollo 12 crew and the internal politics within the ranks of the astronauts themselves. I was also surprised on how much a bastard that Walter Mondale was in his attempts on derailing the space program. (I'm glad his bid for the White House was a failed one... Ignorance favors all political parties.)
A lot of familiar faces starred in this production, the one that knocked me for a loop was Malcolm in the Middle's father as Buzz Aldrin. The acting is great and shows the versatility of the actors in both comedic and serious roles. I knew that Pete Conrad was cocky, but it shows more of his personality here. Armstrong has been known to be rather sullen and quiet, and is clearly demonstrated here as well. To this day, he doesn't talk much about his adventure. The decision determining who will be the first man on the moon is blunt and anti-climatic, but it tells it as it is. It tells of the astronauts secret activities and agendas, as well as particular small moments that they experienced.
In the Apollo 13 segment, the production did not go into the details of the incident like we all seen before, but rather focused on the reporters angle on the event. And I rather enjoyed the insight sweat details on the building of the L.E.M. I wish they did a segment on the rover. I thought that they labored too long over the Apollo 16 mission - training much...learning geology with a trained eye, but I appreciate the effort that they went through. The Apollo 1 tragedy was produced well, with the political aftermath fallout.
I hope that all what was filmed is true, and I do understand creative license, but I would feel better if I knew they kept it faithful to actual events. I need to view this again to catch more, but I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the space program.
I need to thank Becky for lending me the tapes way back in October of 2004 at our First Chicago Astronomer Star Party in Woodstock Illinois. I taped them, but never viewed them until now. I appreciate her tolerance in my delay in returning them and greatly appreciate her trust that I would.