Hallway update

I added a new 12×36″ enlargement to my refreshed hallway gallery today, a 1:3 aspect ratio crop of a high-resolution scan of the photo of the first flight of the Wright Flyer on 17 December 1903 at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.

Click for a larger version

Orville is piloting and that’s Wilbur at the wingtip. John Daniels, one of the five witnesses to the flight, took the photograph with Orville’s pre-positioned camera – so awed by what he saw that he almost forgot to squeeze the bulb to capture this image on the 5×7″ glass plate negative.

From the Flyer to the Apollo 16 Lunar Module Orion above it was a span of just sixty-eight years and four months.

The full-size first flight image from the Library of Congress can be found here – be aware that it’s 27MB.

Edited to add: The comments here include a discussion in some detail of the soon-to-be-released film “First Man” and HBO’s 12-part 1998 series “From the Earth to the Moon”.

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15 thoughts on “Hallway update

  1. That was a productive 68 years.

    By way of a contrast, it’s interesting to note that in 1969, Apollo 11 landed, the 747 went in to service and Concorde made its maiden flight.

    Extrapolating slightly to 68 years after Apollo 16, the US may (?) have its Orion spacecraft (aka Apollo on steroids) flying by then, there may still be a few 747’s flying and Concorde will be an old museum piece. Looks like progress plateaued!

  2. lalmon says:

    Considering the progress that had already been made in such a short span, I didn’t think the Clavius Base in “2001” was all that far-fetched when I first saw it in 1968. And in 1972, I certainly didn’t think Apollo 17 would be the last time humans would leave low earth orbit for almost half a century now. You see, I was a youngster then with only a smattering of cynicism.

    The things that could have been…

    2001 Moon Base
    Click for 1920×1080

    • Your choice of the Apollo 16 landing site for the Hallway photo is interesting. For a very long time, I had a poster in my room when I was student of an iconic picture from the Apollo 15 mission, with Irwin saluting the flag and the LM and rover close by and the mountains near Hadley Rille in the background (see midpage https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_15). The different perspectives in the two picture makes the LM look much bigger on the 16 picture (hence the 20ft jumper leads). So many to choose from!

      They’ve started advertising “First Man” on TV for its UK release of 12th October. Wondered if you’d seen it, but seems like it has the same release date in the US.

  3. lalmon says:

    I only heard of “First Man” yesterday. From the two trailers I watched, I think “From the Earth to the Moon” has nothing to worry about in terms of its best-in-class standing. I hope the new film hasn’t relaxed some of the boundaries that Tom Hanks, Ron Howard, and especially Dave Scott specifically set up and adamantly protected for “From the Earth to the Moon”, but it kind of looks like they have. Here’s to me being wrong, but it seemed like there was an awful lot of yelling going on in those trailers.

    Too, the general feeling I got during the trailers was not nearly the “you are there” sense I got from most scenes in “From the Earth to the Moon”.

    It would be pretty bad to be sitting there watching it, only to imagine the voice of Armstrong saying at one or more points – quite calmly and sotto voce – “What a bunch of hooey.” I mean, what’s with the Stuka run on that crater? Yeesh.

    Also: How is it that 290 people have rated the new film on IMDb two weeks before it opens? Some sort of temporal rift?

    • Geez….I’ve never heard of “From the Earth to the Moon”; don’t believe it has ever aired, or cabled, in the UK. However, the DVD with all episode is on eBay for less than $20. Maybe this is a ‘Christmas must have’?

      “First Man” could go serious wrong. As you will know, Neil A. was a complex and private man. Mike Collins once said (roughly), “No man is an island, but Neil gets somewhere close”. When asked about religion, he said he was a ‘deist’, and they seem to be really quite rare!

      • lalmon says:

        You are in for a real treat – but don’t wait for Christmas, get it today. You will not believe the care with which they made that series, produced for HBO and “based in part on ‘A Man on the Moon’ by Andrew Chaikin”. A couple episodes I could take or leave, but overall it was a 9 out of 10 for me. I watch all twelve episodes about once a year, sometimes two or three times.

        Be aware that there are two versions – the original came in a black and silver box in the as-produced 4:3 aspect ratio. A later release, I think called the Signature Edition, cropped top and bottom of frame to create a 16:9 version. Both are eminently watchable, though. My favourite episodes are “Spider” (Apollo 9) and “That’s All There Is” (Apollo 12).

        Original Apollo equipment found and restored for use in the series included an LLRV, the unused LM-13, the white room, and the Command Module, Lunar Module, and docking simulators.

      • lalmon says:

        I found a playlist with the “From the Earth to the Moon” making-of featurette from the DVD extras. The featurette shows a lot of stock footage, but the series itself has mostly new effects with minimal vintage footage.

        You’ll need to click the first video below, then the YouTube logo to watch it there – the uploader doesn’t allow playlist playback from web sites.

        A bit of “That’s All There Is”:


        …and “Spider”:

        • I ordered that! All the Region 2 DVD’s are described as the ‘Hank’s signature edition’, but I couldn’t figure the significance of that or what the format is.

          Re “First Man”, have you ever read the authorised biography of Neil Armstrong by James Hansen? It’s quite long, at ~750 pages, and I have to admit I didn’t finish it. My impression is, that in order to go in to some sensitive areas, the text is a little “padded”, so that things are approached very gently. Maybe I’ll get back to it this winter.

          • lalmon says:

            I have Hansen’s book but haven’t read it yet – its bulk tends to steer me toward other books first. I recently got the weightless ebook version, so that may encourage me to read it sooner rather than later.

  4. It turns out that “First Man” was shown at the Venice Film Festival about a week ago. There is an interview about it with Mark Armstrong (son), who seems happy with it, here.

    • lalmon says:

      I hope he is, but considering the source and all those “mums” in the quotes – in fact, quite rare here – I’m off to the kitchen to contemplate a grain of salt.

      • Well, at least it’s a film where men climb on board a big rocket and go to the Moon, and not just to a film set. Geezers like us may not be too impressed with it, but most of its audience will be people who weren’t born in ’69. If they come out thinking that Apollo was “cool”, that would be a good thing.

        • lalmon says:

          True. Similarly, I suppose last year’s “Dunkirk” might interest some people enough for them to find out more about the topic. I’m generally useless when it comes to historical films because I know too much, and often sit there saying, “Wut?” a lot while making just-ate-a-lemon faces. Tonight, for example, watching said film for the first time, I was surprised to learn of the magical dogfighting capabilities of looooong-gliding, out-of-petrol Spitfires, not to mention the extraordinary amount of ammunition some of the RAF boys were apparently blessed with. Why, it’s almost unbelievable.

          • It will certainly be interesting to hear any comments the surviving astronauts have to make, both about the overall story and then the portrayal of Armstrong. I’m not sure how “close” Aldrin and Collins were to Armstrong.
            Could be that Dave Scott was closer?

  5. lalmon says:

    Last night, I finished watching “From the Earth to the Moon” again. There’s just one episode I don’t like – the one on 13. They had to come up with something to avoid simply rehashing the “Apollo 13” film partly responsible for spawning the HBO series, but for me the method they chose left something to be desired. It’s perhaps more to do with the smirky punchability of the antagonist’s face than anything else. Jay Mohr’s smarmy lead character in the “Action” series the following year – a series I enjoyed and also re-watch from time to time – was actually a bit more likeable than the fictional Brett Hutchins in “From the Earth…”.

    Ideally, I would have liked more detail on the 16 mission in part 11, “The Original Wives Club”, but the episode is nonetheless top-notch.

    In any case, I’ve lost no love for the series. I still got chills, cheered, and welled up in all the right places. It’s still special twenty years on.

    I noticed for the first time – with not a little grin – that in the final episode on 17, their attention to detail even extended to a perfect replica of the large spacesuit/rover dust brush that I recently referenced in my The moon is a messy place article. Who besides a nut like me would even notice something like that, which was visible for all of seven or eight seconds? Well…Tom Hanks, that’s who.

    Cernan brushes camera lens at 41:55 in “Le Voyage Dans La Lune”

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