Apollo 13

It was April,1970 and( old guy reference here) I was completing my sophomore year at Rockingham Community College in the small town of Wentworth , NC . I didn’t really follow the news much, what with college and work occupying most of my time. perhaps that is why I remember very little about the ill fated lunar mission of Apollo 13.

A mission that could have been called NASA’s most spectacular failure became one of its finest moments. Thanks to Tom Hanks and a host of others we remember it perhaps as much as if not more than any other manned space flight.

I happened to see the final 30 minutes of the  movie on television today and was a bit strangely affected by it. Knowing full well what and how things would transpire. I was rather overcome by emotion at several points in the movie. The use of actual events, news reports by Walter Cronkite and Jules  Bergman seemed to heighten the impact.

The emotions of the various characters had a big effect today as  I watched. James Lovell’s wife and children as  well as his mom being calmed by Wally Schirra and Neil Armstrong, the nail biting tension in Houston as well as on the spacecraft’ it came across very vividly today. And it seemed to be greater than at times past. I loved the calmness of  Gary Sinise(aka Ken Mattingly and our friend Lieutenant Dan ) and the  never say die attitude of flight director Gene Kranz as played by Ed  Harris. And there is our favorite FBI guy from NCIS, one Tobias Fornel.

The photography, i/e/ the heat shield a sit flamed on re-entry, splashdwon etc. Who can forget, “Houston, we have  a problem.”

For me, perhaps the most memorable scene was the almost interminable wait for re-entry, as the magic 3  minute came and went and then with a burst of static, they’re back. The eruption of emotion in the control room was one of my favorite movie scenes, almost rivaling the end of Homeward Bound 1. You  dog lovers remember. The screen is empty for what seemed like  an eternity and then the old heroic golden retriever, Shadow, limps painfully home. I have seen that countless times and never without emotion.

Ahh, if we could just figure out with some degree of accuracy why movies move us. But then it wouldn’t be quite  as moving would it?


October 18, 2009 - Posted by | History, Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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