Category Archives: astronauts

RIP Neil Armstrong

We have lost another great man. Last week, astronaut, explorer, hero, Neil Armstrong passed away at the age of 82. He was the first man to walk on the moon way back in 1969.

Wait a second. Didn’t he die last year? Groan. Is anyone else tired of these Twitter and Facebook delayed and fake deaths? How about those folks who read something on the internet and don’t check the date? Yeah, exactly. That said, Neil Armstrong was still a good man, a great man, and he should be remembered.

While I don’t precisely remember the event, Armstrong walking on the moon, as I was quite young, I was glued to the TV for all of the Apollo missions that followed. NASA, Apollo, space, the moon, astronauts – it was an American past time, it was hysteria, it was like Beatlemania, or Batmania, only real.

Some of my first and most beloved toys were space and astronaut themed. We were all drinking Tang and eating Space Food Sticks, and racing home from school to see the splashdowns. And to many of us, Neil Armstrong was the guy who started it. Godspeed. A year later, and forward.

Capricorn One

Capricorn One ~ This 1978 film by writer/director Peter Hyams was influenced by wild rumors and urban legends that the US moon landing was faked. In Capricorn One, a Mars landing is faked, but when a glitch in the actual splashdown of the unmanned capsule makes it impossible for the astronauts to have survived – the real guys on Earth are infinitely expendable. Hilarity ensues.

Excellent excellent performances by Elliot Gould who plays an unorthodox reporter on the trail of the cover-up and James Brolin as one of the astronauts. Others among this chiefly 1970s cast do wonderful jobs including Karen Black and Brenda Vaccaro, and even a pre-murder O.J. Simpson. Hal Holbrook even proves that he’s been Oscar-worthy decades before the Academy ever decided he was. Capricorn One also features one of Jerry Goldsmith’s better early scores.

Other than the dated 1970s trappings and cast, this is a very current film, and I wonder why in this political environment it hasn’t been optioned for a remake. This was much better than I remember it, and highly recommend it.