Archive for July, 2009

The Real “Moonwalkers”

July 20, 2009

Maybe it’s appropriate with this month’s death of Michael Jackson that we can now honor the real moonwalkers.

40 years ago today, July 29, 1969, the world watched as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.  What an awesome achievement.  I never really put it together until reading some comments from Neil’s moonwalking counterpart, Buzz Aldrin, that man stepped foot on the moon just 66 years short years after the Wright brothers first left the ground at Kitty Hawk.

It’s amazing how quickly technology advanced in the 20th century.  Of course there were some who thought the moon landing was a soundstage-produced hoax designed to give us an edge in the US vs. USSR Cold War showdown.  Watching the relative ease with which we send and receive the Space Shuttle today should answer those conspiracy buffs.

The exciting prospects of future space travel are mind-boggling, as NASA develops new technology and eyes a manned mission to Mars sometime in the next two decades.

Two pieces of video for you.   The historic voyage of Apollo 11, and then a little conspiracy humor.

Enjoy!

Apollo 11 Launch: 40 Years Later

July 16, 2009

Only eight months before I was born this amazing event took place.  We have sadly forgotten the simple technology and incredible ingenuity that American scientists employed to make the first manned moon landing a reality.  We launch our Space Shuttles today and no one even notices.   I wonder if we’ll notice when NASA launches its next planned manned-moon mission around 2020…then possibly to Mars.

On 16 July 1969, half a million people gathered near Cape Canaveral (then Cape Kennedy), Florida. Their attention was focused on three astronauts—Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins—who lay in the couches of an Apollo spacecraft bolted atop a Saturn V launch vehicle, awaiting ignition of five clustered rocket engines to boost them toward the first lunar landing. This event took place eight years after President John F. Kennedy, in the wake of Soviet Sputnik and Vostok successes, issued a challenge to land men on the moon before 1970 and thus give the United States preeminence in space exploration. After twenty manned missions—two to the vicinity of the moon itself—the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was ready to achieve that goal.

At 9:32 A.M., the Apollo 11 crew fired the 200,000-pound-thrust Saturn S-IVB stage to escape earth’s gravitational field.  (answers.com)

For now, enjoy this memory.  We will remember the actual landing in just 4 short days.

Signing off.

JJ

TV Icons

July 14, 2009

Gadzooks, the celebs are droppin’ like flies! Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Venture’s guitarist Bob Bogle, and Sky Saxon of ’60’s rock group The Seeds…and that’s just in the last 3 weeks! With the loss of Ed McMahon, I got to reminiscing about the days of edTV gone by. Of course Ed was the co-host/announcer for the great Johnny Carson throughout his career. Many-a-night I stayed up late to watch Johnny at 11:30 on NBC. Their comic timing and interplay was beautiful to watch and is sorely missed in today’s modern era of cruddy TV. I must say I actually ike Conan O’Brien, but the real magic is gone. Goodnight, Ed. Hi-yoooooo!!!!

This got me to thinking about other iconic TV personalities from my youth. One stands out above the others for me: Tom Hatten. Even though he’s still breathin’, I’d like to talk about him.

If you didn’t grow up in Southern California, you’ve probably never heard of him, but for me he was a staple of my early TV watching days and a major reason I still love those old “gray shows” today.

Tom Hatten hosted several local shows starting back in the early 1950’s. He was a great cartoonist, and he had this kind face and easy way about him. His show was the format where the host shared trivia and funny banter Tom Hattenbetween cartoons, short films, or during breaks in a feature film. Later, Elvira made use of this same format. Even later, “Dinner and a Movie” on TBS used the same format for their show. His first show in the 1950’s was on Los Angeles station KTLA channel 5 and later called “The Popeye Show”. Sometimes if reception was bad, you had to work that console TV dial “between the channels”, if your old enough to remember that. Anyway, Tom would have one of the kiddies from the audience come up and draw a squiggly line on a big sketch pad. He would turn the squiggle into a cartoon character…usually from Popeye, since he featured Popeye cartoons on his show. I saw these re-runs as a kid. Later, I watched Tom’s “Family Film Festival” on KTLA every Sunday afternoon in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. He played Jerry Lewis movies, Bob Hope movies, the Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road Movies”, the Marx Brothers, Little Rascals, all the classics. He was AMC before AMC.

Tom was an actor in some films and TV shows as well. A WWII US Navy vet, he still lives in the Los Angeles area. You can go here for a good overview of his career: http://latvlegends.com/TomHatten/TOMHAT.htm

Got a similar memory (perhaps from a local TV station from your childhood)? Tell me about it.

Signing off.

JJ

Lost Transmission Podcast #1

July 13, 2009

Hot off the…umm…press? hard drive? Whatever.

The first Lost Transmission Podcast is complete and ready to tickle your ears with long-lost sounds of rock and roll, western, rockabilly, beat poetry, and some groovy 60’s twist party music.

Tune in, turn on, and get lost, man. Lost Transmission, that is…

Signing off,

JJ

final-poster-version-2

Come in Earth…Come in Earth…

July 12, 2009

Welcome to the “Lost Transmission” blog – future home of the “Lost Transmission” podcast. 

This title was inspired by the movie Contact from way back in 1997. Remember the beginning of that movie? From Suit101.com’s “Greatest Film Sequences – Part 10”, here is a good description of it to refresh your memory… “The sequence opens with a shot of Earth, and a loud mixture of different radio and television signals emanating from the planet. The camera begins to pull away from Earth, past Mars, through the asteroid field, and onto the massive planet Jupiter. As we reach Jupiter, we begin to notice the radio transmissions from Earth are much older, back from the 70’s. We zoom through Saturn’s rings, and finally out of our solar system, where the transmissions are getting harder and harder to hear and are getting much older, the first early TV broadcasts and early radio transmissions. The radio signals and how old they get as you go out demonstrates in a visual way how long it takes for signals to get from Earth to other bodies in the solar system and beyond. Star systems outside of our solar system would just now be receiving early 1920’s radio transmissions from Earth. The scene does not end there however — all we can see that’s familiar is the small bright dot which is our sun. But the camera pulls even further back until we see the Milky Way Galaxy that we’re in — there are absolutely no sounds now, no more transmissions from Earth.

I’ve always been a fan of radio. I mean, little waves travel through the air and come out in this little device in audible tones. How cool is that?! If the scene from Contact is correct, radio and television signals from earth are traveling far into space on an endless journey. Forgotten forever by most earthlings, they live on in the vast expanse of the cosmos. Whoa! I want to channel some of those old sound waves and images through this blog and through my podcast.

I grew up with an affinity for all things from the 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s (yep, there I am with guitar in hand in the picture to the left), as my childhood in the 1970’s was significantly impacted by mid-century pop culture. It’s sort of like one of my kids said once, “Dad likes all those gray shows”. It’s true. I like old movies, old records, and old radio shows.  Much of the music I grew up listening to is somewhat obscure by most people’s standards.

So, stick around and tune in. I’ll be bringing a mixture of the old and some new inspired by the old. You might find some things that bring back memories; and who knows, you just might see and hear some things you’ve never seen or heard before…

Signing off.

JJ