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Forum:Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
Topic:Apollo 12 network moonwalk simulations
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RonpurI have an Apollo 12 memory regarding a mock up of the LM. And it is of Captain Kangaroo!! I can remember him climbing on a mock up on a lunar surface showing what the astronauts would be doing. I was only 6, so it is a very fuzzy memory. Anyone else recall this?
alanh_7The Buffalo CBS affiliate was the clearest station we received. This was the days before cable and 1000 station options. And I was a Walter Cronkite fan, so we watched CBS the most. (Jules Bergman with ABC was also one of the best science editors in my opinion).

I recall being really happy the Apollo 15 took place in the summer when I was off school and able to watch them. I recall Apollo 12 being early in the morning on a school day and being so disappointed when the camera burned out.

Those sims were an important part of part of my memory of the Apollo moonwalks.

Robert PearlmanThese simulations were from the networks, not NASA, and therefore are still subject to copyright. Fair use allows about 30 seconds worth of footage to be used, but any longer would require licensing.
rodpyleThis is a fun thread... it's a topic I've discussed in talks but good to see it here (sorry I am late to the party, as usual)...
  • CBS: As noted, used the concrete moonscape at Grumman's Long Island plant. a good simulation and the guys knew what they were doing. Scale LM mockup too.

  • ABC: Apparently scrambled down the street to Western Costume Co, in Hollywood, because the "spacesuits" were off-the-rack from such previous rentals as "Twilight Zone." They may have been originally from "Destination Moon" or "Conquest of Space," I don't recall. All smooth blue fabric (from the film references) with puffy neck rings, a glass plate in the helmet and, as I recall, no gloves. Goofy as hell, and all in front of a not-great lunar backdrop. Not sure, but I suspect the "astronauts" were grips or stagehands... looked pretty confused most of the time.

  • But NBC took the Darwin Prize on this one. Had a contract that they hoped not to use with Bob Barker Marionettes. So here come Pete and Al, wandering over a dusty talc-and-plaster moonscape, arms and legs dangling in front of them. Looked like a rehearsal for "Thunderbirds Are GO!" Then one of them would say, "Let me grab that hammer" (Conrad's "Universal Tool"), and we would cut away, then return to the puppet with a little hammer taped to his hand. I was 12 and even then (before life's sense of irony set it) laughed till I cried.
BlackarrowIt's hardly surprising that simulations were available when live TV was not. It was the same for the Apollo launches: once the Saturn V flew out of sight, simulations took over to show the flight into orbit.
NukeGuyOddly enough, the Apollo 12 EVA simulations is the event that sparked my interest in engineering. I remember watching Apollo 11 as an 10 year old the previous July. The poor video quality was not inspiring. The Apollo 12 simulations allowed me to see everything clearly. I was watching the first EVA that morning and caught the space bug. That day at school I went to the library and took out as many books on space and rockets that I was allowed. That night I designed my own rocket to be made out of an aluminum can, gunpowder from a roll of caps and a funnel for the nose cone. I remember it was Nov. 19, a Wednesday (Hawaii 5-0 was on as I was designing my rocket). Fortunately, I never built my design and soon learned about model rockets. I miss Centuri model rockets!

I had a book that contained the biographies of all the astronauts an realized that most had engineering degrees. And that is how Alan Bean inspired me to be an engineer!

schnappsicleI watched every second of every mission I could starting with Gemini 4. When I came inside during the Apollo 12 EVA and saw the simulation on TV instead of the real thing, I immediately went outside and started playing again. It looked so phony, I couldn't watch it.

Now that I think about it, it really didn't make a difference. We wouldn't have been able to see much more of the EVA anyway since all they had left to do was unload the ALSEP and deploy it.

We would not have seen anything during the second EVA either. I suppose they could have pointed the camera into Surveyor Crater, but with the resolution we had back then, everything would have been a blur, much like we saw on Apollo 14.

Speaking of which, I stayed up all night to watch both Apollo 14 EVA's even though I couldn't see anything. I guess I was just fascinated staring at the landing site for 4 hours.

rodpyleAfter the camera on the Apollo 12 lunar EVA failed, the three networks had to scramble to set-up surface simulations. My recollection (and I think it's been discussed here) is that CBS cut to guys in training suits at Grumman's training facility, ABC went to to a couple of guys in (somewhat funky) space suit costumes in front of a painted backdrop, and poor NBC cut to EVA suit-clad marionettes (provided by Bob Barker Marionettes, if memory serves) on a tiny lunar surface model of plaster and papier mache.

My questions are:

  1. Is this your recollection, and
  2. Has anyone seen this sim footage since 1969?
Editor's note: Threads merged.
rodpyleThanks for merging these — it refreshed my memory of the previous conversation. Much appreciated!
schnappsicleFor some reason I always thought those simulations broadcasted by the networks were video of Conrad and Bean in training.
Space Cadet CarlI remember the instant that the camera was pointed into the Sun and it burned up. It was around 6am or so Eastern time and I was getting ready for school. The instant it happened, I honestly started yelling at the television set: "No!!! Don't point it into the Sun!!" That's the honest truth. I really was yelling right as it was happening.

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