Aircheck: ABC/NBC, 8/30/1983

The last man to date to set foot on the moon, Gene Cernan, passed away on Monday at age 82. I’ve personally read his book, and seen his documentary on Netflix, and was stunned to hear the news on FNC that afternoon. Hearing him eulogize John Glenn a few months ago, I thought “Geno” was still in good health, hence the shock.

The logical piece of tape (as they used to say in the old days) would be to show you footage of his last mission, Apollo 17 in 1972. That was the first night launch in the history of American manned space flight, and the only one up until 1983. Then, along came the night of August 30th of that year, and the flight of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

The footage shifts between ABC and NBC. Lynn Sherr and the aforementioned Gene Cernan call the action on ABC (which uses the polygonal superimposed countdown clock), while Linda Ellerbee and Don Lind did likewise on NBC (using the clock chroma-keyed in).

Lynn wrote a beautiful piece that covered her experiences on the Alphabet Network with Gene covering the various aspects of the shuttle missions. Worth reading if you have a moment. Sadly, I never met Gene, but he always seemed to carry himself well, and represented the fraternity of the 12 man to land on the moon with aplomb. 

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