By John Hertz: Today was the 40th anniversary of humankind’s launching its first trip to the Moon. Tonight I had nothing better to do — when you have something better to do, you should — than attend the 3,753rd meeting of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, oldest s-f club on Earth.
LASFS business meetings — monkey business — are so mad they usually outdraw the program. I stayed for the program tonight, a screening of the December 1955 Disneyland television program “Man and the Moon.” Walt Disney introduced his animator Ward Kimball, who introduced Wernher von Braun. Kimball had created the Cheshire Cat in Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland, and Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio. Von Braun in two years would see his work launch Explorer I, and in less than fifteen, Apollo XI.
At the time von Braun’s best estimate was that we’d build a space station first, and go to the Moon from it. In this program he showed models, drawings, and charts of the station and ships and how it would be done. Disney gave him more. There was a live-action story of the fictional first rocket to leave the station, ellipse round the Moon, and fall back, manned by a crew of four, powered by blast and gravity. The costumes, sets, timing, and acting, the balance of science and fiction, were remarkable, and this was television. We gave no Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, of 1955.
I hope you celebrated too.