The passing of the first man on the moon caused me to think about how important Neil Armstrong was to motion pictures. The origins of cinema’s relationship to human space travel dates back to 1902, when Georges Melies created The Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune). The film was loosely based on two popular novels of the time: From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon. It was named as one of the 100 greatest films of the 20th century by The Village Voice.
A Korean War veteran, Neil Armstrong was one of the initial test pilots tapped to become an astronaut. The exploits of these space pioneers were chronicled in the 1983 movie The Right Stuff. Though he was not personally featured, the story of his co-horts called the Mercury Seven was chronicled. The Mercury Seven were Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton.
The Apollo 11 mission was the initial goal set by President Kennedy’s proclamation for an astronaut to set foot on the moon by the end of the decade (1960s). When The Eagle landed on July 21st, 1969, the television and radio audience was estimated globally at 450 million at the moment when Armstrong made his famous walk.
Apollo 11′s flight to the moon has not been made into a Hollywood movie. However. the Apollo 13 mission became a cinematic classic. Neil Armstrong was portrayed as one of the astronauts supporting the combined efforts of NASA’s Mission Control.
Like John Glenn, and the other pioneering astronauts, Neil Armstrong will always be considered an American hero. He has made one more flight to the heavens. His legacy is in tact.
Neil Armstrong was 82.
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