Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Moon landing clippings, Part 2

This little snippet from the Saturday, July 19, 1969, edition of The News-Herald of Franklin and Oil City, Pennsylvania, shows the local TV listings for late Saturday night into early early Sunday morning of July 20 ⁠— the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

The televised moon coverage was everywhere. In the "TV Scout" column elsewhere on this News-Herald page, Joan Crosby notes that "the television networks have recognized the momentous nature of the Flight of Apollo 11, and particularly of the moon landing phase, by preempting all programming for 31 hours. ... These hours will be filled out with special material including Orson Welles narrating a science fiction film, a review of the Lyndon Johnson years in the White House, a tour of the Smithsonian Institution's aeronautical sections and a visit to the world of 'Space Odyssey, 2001.'"

(The piece narrated by Welles was apparently a documentary titled How Science Fiction Viewed the Moon.)

In the TV listings, you can see reference to the round-the-clock Apollo 11 coverage at the start of the Sunday listings. Five channels are listed for "30 Hours of Continuous Apollo 11 Coverage."

There are a couple other curiosities to note, too. The movie offerings at 11:30 p.m. Saturday include Weirdo Theatre's presentation of The Undead, a 1957 film that has a 4.0 (out of 10) rating on IMDb and features Billy Barty and Dick Miller.

On the defunct blog Old School, which had just 15 posts between 2008 and 2013, DHessert wrote this in 2010:
"When I was young (no doubt you thrill to hear those words), My brother and I used to have an old black and white tv in our bedroom. In those days having an extra tv was quite a luxury, but little danger to your development, as there were so few interesting shows on that we rarely bothered to turn on the darn thing. Most of our time was spent riding our bikes around town, exploring the nearby river, or getting into trouble with our BB guns...but I wax nostalgic, to the point!

"Every Saturday night at 10:30 we would climb into bed and prepare to be scared by 'Weirdo Theater.' 'Weirdo Theater' was a show that reran all the old horror movies from the 30's, 40's and 50's. All of them were creepy to a kid, but the films that really grabbed me were the Frankenstein films. I loved the creation scenes in the lab with sparks flying everywhere, tubes of colored liquid bubbling, the hunchbacked Igor on the roof, and the crazed Dr. Frankenstein screaming 'It's alive!' For my money it didn't get any better.

"As I grew older I moved onto many other films, and in high school I read every Stephen King book I could get my hands on, but I still have a soft spot for the big guy with the flat head and bolts in his neck."

Another curious TV listing is Rocket Robin Hood, which came on at midnight Sunday. I had never heard of it. It was, according to Wikipedia, a Canadian animated series that aired from 1966 to 1969 and placed "the characters and conflicts of the classic Robin Hood legend in a futuristic, outer space setting."

The Merry Men lived on an asteroid and tried to fend off the sheriff of the National Outer-space Terrestrial Territories and the Warlord of Saturn. Clearly it was a great show for kids during the heyday of the Apollo program! (Although I'm not sure of the point of airing it at midnight.)

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