“July 20, 1969” (A Tribute to Apollo 11)

We’re fast approaching the 40th anniversary of the first landing on the moon.  My recollections of that day are very clear;  it made a deep and long-lasting psychic impression on me.  I’ve tried to express something of that magical time in this short film, titled “July 20, 1969”.  My wife Sherron helped me put this snippet together (using the wonders of this here new iMac).  The pictures are from the public domain, the music plucked from Garageband…the text derived from a short prose work I completed years ago.

This anniversary (Apollo 11) seems to be affecting me more than this sort of thing usually does.  I firmly believe watching those fuzzy pictures from 250,000 miles away was an absolutely seminal moment from my childhood, those few days igniting my fascination with science fiction, other worlds, distant spaces, journeys into darkness, etc.  I’m pleased to be able to pay tribute to the exploits and achievements of the Apollo program and I hope our little film gives some small hint of the sense of wonder and excitement I felt back then…emotions I retain today when I look at the pictures, see their faces, and have a clearer understanding of the daunting obstacles they faced, the sacrifices they made and the grandness of vision our forays into space represent.

This film is dedicated to the lads of Apollo 11:  Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin and Michael Collins

And the crew of Apollo 1:  Roger Chaffee, Edward White, Virgil I. Grissom

Thank you.


  1. Mike Cane

    Great text, devastating video narration. This is partly why at times I want a time travel machine: I want to go back in time and kidnap my infant self after birth and raise myself *properly*.

  2. Kendi

    I just enquired in our local Bookland about the possiblility of aquiring Rocketmen by William Nelson ( I think) just heard a partial interview on CBC with the author and it sounds like the behind the scenes stuff is facinating!
    yay for the IMAC and the tools that facillitate creativity!

  3. Karen

    An interesting context of such a transformational day. I love that you always get me to think about things in a different way. Thanks S&C.

  4. (S)wine

    she was right, damit.
    my mum held me up to the window in Bucharest, Romania…I was two weeks old; she held me up to try to focus on the moon, at the exact time Armstrong hit the surface w/his boot.

    cool concept; love the brevity; you know i always love the brevity.

  5. driftlessareareview

    Unless there’s oil or rough-sex-liking-John-Galt utopians on board, I don’t think we’re heading back to the Moon anytime soon. So much for the prophecies of Ralph Kramden.

    To be fair, the Orb uses some NASA samples to great effect. Electronica at its most positive and humane.

  6. Cliff Burns

    Hey, Alex: a fellow lover of the short-short format. You can say a lot in 100 words or less…as long as they’re the RIGHT hundred words.

  7. Cliff Burns

    I blame the Apollo mission for my love of “spacey” music: everything from solo theremin to, yes, Orb to God is an Astronaut. Yessir, in many ways my mind has yet to return to Earth since July, 1969…

  8. Pat Bertram

    I was taking a walk on earth forty years ago when men were walking on the moon. Unlike everyone else, it seems, I wasn’t sitting in front of a television. For one, we didn’t have a television, for another, the whole thing seemed rather ho-hum to an inveterate reader of science fiction. If we hadn’t been there in truth, we’d been there in stories, in imagination. So, oblivious to the excitement, I went for a walk.

    I didn’t discover the excitement until thirty-one years later when I saw the movie “The Dish” with Sam Neill. Seeing how the people in that Australian town were so thrilled to be a part of the mission, I finally felt the awesomeness of the undertaking.

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