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. 

Is The Rapture Near?

Another day, another celeb of renown leaves us. This time, it’s Carrie Fisher.

I wasn’t the biggest Star Wars fanatic growing up, though I remember going to see The Empire Strikes Back twice: once in St. Petersburg, the other time visiting relatives in Geneva, New York. The other Star Wars movie I went to see was Return Of The Jedi in 1983 at the old Sunshine Mall in Clearwater.

I was more of a Star Trek kid. But I never thought of the Trekkies and Star Wars buffs being in competition with each other.

Fisher was a battler, and much like George Michael, she had her demons. Many are fondly remembering her now, and that’s not a bad thing.

I do wonder how George Lucas finishes off the series now…

(EDIT, 12/28/2016, 8:50pm: In a rather sad twist of fate, Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, fell ill the day after her daughter died. She was rushed to a nearby hospital and died a few hours later.)

Last Christmas


As I type this, there are slightly less than six days left in the year of 2016. Obituary wise, it has claimed another notable victim: George Michael, pop singer, lead singer of the 1980’s group Wham!

I was almost 14 in 1985 when I went to my local K-Mart in Largo (which is now the site of a Walmart Supercenter) and bought the 45 of “Everything She Wants” in their record department, which was another in a string of big hits for the group. Vinyl records…remember those?

George now joins a small group of those who’ve commercially sung a Christmas song to have perished on Christmas. Dean Martin, James Brown, Eartha Kitt, and probably a few others out there that I’m forgetting.

Can we just end the year now and start 2017 early?