Communion Of Dreams

July 21, 2009, 12:53 pm
Filed under: Apollo program, Failure, Government, NASA, Science Fiction, Society, Space

I mentioned the other day that I would provide some further recollections about the Apollo 11 landing and Moon walk, but yesterday after all other coverage of the event that I read and heard, I wasn’t really sure what to add. You can find a brief description of how I experienced that historic “small step” at UTI, if you’re interested.

But last night, after thinking about the whole thing a considerable amount, I decided to pop open the new NetFlix disc that arrived in the mail yesterday. Another in The Invaders! series I wrote about in June. And on it was an episode titled “Moonshot“.

Well, of course I had to watch it.

And I was . . . rather amazed.

Oh, it was the typical formula for the show: something happens that seems to indicate alien involvement, and the star of the show hears about it and comes to the site to investigate. There he meets up with someone else who has suspicions about the aliens, and together they try and thwart whatever evil plot is being cooked up (sometimes successfully, more often not – this is a series in which the good guys win at best marginal victories).

But this was different. Not because of the formula, or acting or anything. But because of *when* it first aired: April 18, 1967.

What is significant about that date? Well, because it was just three months following the Apollo 1 disaster. And the episode is all about how the aliens are killing off the astronauts selected for the first manned Moon mission.

I’d bet the episode was already “in the can” by the time of the Apollo 1 tragedy. Maybe not. But either way, it is rather astonishing that they decided to run the episode so soon after that event. Most people now don’t remember, or don’t appreciate, the impact that Apollo 1 had – it has been subsumed into the greater glory of the subsequent successful launches. But at the time, it was quite traumatic.

I’m just old enough to remember the series, as I mentioned in my June post. So I don’t remember any controversy around the airing of this particular episode. If anyone does and can shed some light on it, I would appreciate it.

Jim Downey

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Interesting. I spent a chunk of my littlehood in Texas, and my family knew the Apollo 1 astronauts. In fact, that early exposure to the space programme might have had something to do with my longstanding wish to be an astronaut. I’ll ask my mum if she remembers anything about that ep of The Invaders! causing a stir when it aired, but she might not, I can’t remember us having a telly until rather later.

Comment by ML

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