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  Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" (book) and Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff" (film) (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Tom Wolfe's "The Right Stuff" (book) and Philip Kaufman's "The Right Stuff" (film)
Dwayne Day
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posted 02-06-2006 12:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I refer to the book and movie in this article: Apocrypha now: no go for seven orbits (The Space Review)

What is the origin of this story? One suspects that it comes from the movie version of The Right Stuff and the oft-repeated bit of dialogue from mission control that Glenn was "go - at least seven orbits." As he starts his third orbit, Glenn is told to begin his retrofire sequence and come down. He asks "Only three orbits?" and is told yes, only three orbits. The movie clearly implies that Glenn's mission was cut short from seven orbits to only three.

It turns out that Tom Wolfe's book The Right Stuff had the story correct. On page 332 Wolfe states "they gave him the go for his third and final orbit..."

Paul78zephyr
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posted 10-05-2006 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul78zephyr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a very old (and very read) paperback copy of Tom Wolfe's 'The Right Stuff'. It is a 'Bantam Books' edition November 1980 which I probably purchased very closer to that time.

It seems that they have changed the cover art over the years as the ones currently on Amazon.com do not have the 'astronaut/pilot' below the X-15. However both have the same 'flag'. It is similar to the American flag but obviously different with the blue starfield being changed to what appears as an American Eagle over the earth's curvature and with 9 stars (a group of 6 and a group of 3). Does anyone know where this flag came from or what it represents? Also who is the astronaut supposed to be? It does not look like any of the familiar/famous ones. There is a name on the astronaut's suit but even with a magnifying glass I cannot read it. I was wondering if it was supposed to be Ivan Kincheloe (ie blond hair) who was supposed to fly the X-15 (also pictured)? Anyone have any input?

goldbera
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posted 10-10-2006 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for goldbera     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have no idea who it's supposed to be, but my copy is dark blue, and has the original 7 on the cover (It's filed away at home, so I'm not sure if it's the "real" original 7, or the seven from the movie).

As a side note, do a Google image search for The Right Stuff and you can see a bunch of the different cover artwork for the book.

Lunatiki
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posted 11-06-2007 01:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lunatiki     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A quick background. I've always been interested in Apollo since I was a kid and the recent years have allowed me, financially, to start collecting and do a bit more research.

But to my point. I was 11 years old when The Right Stuff hit the big screen. I saw it 4 times while it was in theaters and still watch it each time it comes on TV. The movie left me with the impression of Gus Grissom being a scared, reckless and nervous astronaut who choked. I'm 35 years old now and only over the past few years have I learned otherwise. Research and collecting, along with places like this message board, series like From the Earth to The Moon and books all taught me differently. It really makes me wonder how much damage, real damage, that movie did to Grissom's place in recent history. I learned the truth, but how many didn't and know only what they saw in the movie and took as fact?

art540
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posted 11-06-2007 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for art540   Click Here to Email art540     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Right Stuff has errors and false representation of people. It is entertainment only. It should be at the bottom of the list of movies to see.

Jay Chladek
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posted 12-05-2007 06:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you were thinking about stocking stuffers, might want to check out Best Buy this week. The one in my area has The Right Stuff special edition 2 DVD set on sale for $8.99, marked down from $21.99. I believe this sale is for all Best Buys and it should be good until this weekend.

Disk one is the standard movie with no extras (they probably wouldn't fit with as long as the film is). But disk two has some nice stuff on it. They have interviews with Gordo Cooper (might be his last TV interview ever) and I think Schirra and Carpenter are on it as well. But there is also a full length documentary on it, "John Glenn, American Hero" which came out after STS-98. It has some nice footage of Glenn during training and the shuttle mission itself.

In my case, I got the special edition just for the extras mainly. But even with the flaws in the film (some which I really hate such as the Liberty Bell 7 recovery bit), I do enjoy watching it from time to time as well.

music_space
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posted 12-15-2007 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for music_space   Click Here to Email music_space     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While reading an article about the LM guidance computer I mentioned in this post, the author mentions his presence at the A17 launch:
The writer Tom Wolfe was there with photographer Annie Liebowitz to write the four-part story for Rolling Stone magazine that was the precursor of "The Right Stuff".
Anyone has this in their collections?

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-31-2008 06:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Chicago Public Library release
Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff is the Chicago Public Library's Fall 2008 One Book, One Chicago Selection

Chicago Public Library Board of Directors President Jayne Carr Thompson announced today that The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe will be the 15th selection for Chicago's citywide book club, One Book, One Chicago. The book, first published in 1979, tells the remarkable story of Project Mercury, the United States' first attempt to send a man into space, and the lives of the pilots at the center of the attention. The nonfiction account received the American Book Award that year and was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist.

"As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the NASA and the kickoff of Science Chicago, a year-long celebration of science, this book is a perfect choice to remind us how much can be achieved by those with the vision and the courage to take on a challenge such as literally 'shooting for the moon'," Thompson said in remarks at a press event at the Harold Washington Library Center. "We hope all Chicagoans will enjoy reading this compelling, yet human, account of the men who first ventured into space. We are excited to highlight Tom Wolfe's work of 'new journalism'" and proud to be presenting him with the Carl Sandburg Literary Award at the Chicago Public Library Foundation's dinner in October."

Throughout its 135-year history, the Chicago Public Library (CPL) has always encouraged Chicagoans of all ages to make reading a priority. One Book, One Chicago began in the fall of 2001, to encourage all Chicagoans to read the same book at the same time, and discuss a great piece of literature with friends and neighbors. CPL librarians have created resource guides and will conduct book discussions across the city in libraries, colleges and cultural institutions. One Book, One Chicago can be experienced in virtually every Chicago neighborhood throughout October. This includes film screenings, lectures, and panel discussions at the Adler Planetarium, Museum of Science and Industry, Steppenwolf Theatre and Beverly Arts Center.

August events
To kickoff the celebration this summer, the Motorola Foundation and the Illinois Science Council are joining with the Chicago Public Library and the Mayor's Office of Special Events to offer a free screening of the movie version of The Right Stuff in Grant Park on Thursday, August 14 at 8 p.m. The screening serves as an unofficial start of the Chicago Air & Water Show, which begins the next day. The Library will be present at North Avenue Beach during the Air & Water Show, handing out copies of the book as well as the resource guide and bookmarks.

On display throughout the Harold Washington Library Center through November 1 is an exhibit entitled "The Right Stuff - X-Vehicles and Spacecraft: Then and Now." With rarely-seen images and objects loaned by the Boeing Corporation, the Motorola Foundation and NASA, this exhibit gives readers of the book and other aerospace enthusiasts a chance to see photographs, technical drawings and renderings of X-vehicles and space vehicles from The Right Stuff era and beyond. The viewer gets a sense of the drama, excitement and ingenuity that characterized our country's earliest forays into space.

October events
The Library is partnering with the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science & Industry and Steppenwolf Theatre to present a variety of programs in October exploring not only the race to space and the real lives of the astronauts, but also Tom Wolfe's part in the development of the "new journalism" form of non-fiction writing. The author himself will appear at the Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library Center on October 16, for a conversation about his work with journalist Carol Marin.

DePaul University will once again offer a ten-week, graduate level course to explore the book beginning September 10. For more information, including course tuition, visit the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies Program Web site or call (773) 325-7839.

Additionally, Harold Washington College and Shimer College, located on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, will hold various public programs inspired by The Right Stuff and a series of book discussions. One Book, One Chicago discussions will also take place at select Barnes and Noble locations, Literacy Chicago, Gerber/Hart Library, Wright College and Loyola University. Nearly 2,000 copies of The Right Stuff and dozens of DVDs are available at Chicago Public Library locations. At seven Chicago Public Library branches, patrons can check out a Book Club in a Bag which contains eight copies of the novel and resource guides. One Book, One Chicago programs are open to the public and free of charge. For an up-to-date schedule of events, call (312) 747-8191 or visit chicagopubliclibrary.org.

The Fall 2008 One Book, One Chicago is presented by the Chicago Public Library, the Chicago Public Library Foundation, the Motorola Foundation and Boeing Corporation. Additional support is provided by the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Public Radio, DePaul University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Corbis and Science Chicago.

One Book, One Chicago selections have been To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Night by Elie Wiesel, My Antonia by Willa Cather, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, The Coast of Chicago by Stuart Dybek, In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, The Ox- Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin, The Crucible by Arthur Miller and The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler.

Now celebrating its 135th year, the Chicago Public Library continues to encourage lifelong learning by welcoming all people and offering equal access to information, entertainment and knowledge through materials, programs and cutting-edge technology.

The Chicago Public Library is comprised of the Harold Washington Library Center, two regional libraries and 76 neighborhood branches. All locations provide free access to a rich collection of books, DVDs, audio books and music; the Internet and WiFi; sophisticated research databases, many of which can be accessed from a home or office computer; newspapers and magazines; and continue to serve as cultural centers, presenting the highest quality author discussions, exhibits and programs for children, teens and adults.

The Harold Washington Library Center, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library and Conrad Sulzer Regional Library are open 7 days a week, the remaining 76 branch libraries are open 6 days a week and patrons can access all of the libraries ' collections online 24 hours a day. For more information, please visit the website or call the Chicago Public Library Press Office at (312) 747-4050.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-31-2008 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While on the subject of Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff, a new paperback edition was released by Picador in March of this year. Henry Sene Yee, the designer responsible for the cover art, has a blog, where in January he shared his sketches and the final cover.

FFrench
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posted 07-31-2008 09:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I love those draft designs - wonderful stuff, imaginative, bold and striking...any of them would have made an outstanding cover.

What a shame, then, that the publishers went with the more conservative option which uses... I don't know... the exact same photo as the last Mercury-astronaut-era paperback I can think of...

KC Stoever
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posted 08-05-2008 07:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I totally missed this engrossing thread--and very much enjoyed the exchange between Day and French. (We had a very good discussion here on cS on just some of these issues perhaps four years ago--mostly on TRS, the book, and how readers misunderstood Wolfe's shifting-POV treatment of Gus's flight.)

(It's a wonderful event being planned by Chicago, and I am always glad to be able to discuss some of the literary and historical issues the book brings up.)

But I snipped this text from one of Dwayne's very astute comments and thought I'd respond below, sort of to buttress his point:

quote:
On a slightly different note, I remember that sometime after The Right Stuff and Chuck Yeager's autobiography came out, a military test pilot published a memoir that was an attempt to refute the image of the macho test pilot portrayed in those books. I don't remember the details, but do remember reading that the guy argued that military test pilots were in many ways very methodical, careful engineers who considered themselves to be part of a team. It was a self-effacing argument that test pilots were not brave heroes, but merely a part of a much bigger group of people working collectively to build better airplanes. [emphasis mine]
Yes. I particularly like this sort of rival narrative in the test pilot literature. I know it well from reading Scott Carpenter's correspondence from his Korean War tour, [note: bragging] after he'd been named the youngest PPC in the squadron.[/bragging]

"Thoroughness and mechanical aptitude," he decided halfway through his tour in Guam, were part of his "peculiar combination of talents." Note the self-effacing pride, typical of this kind of aviator: "I have a lot yet to learn about flying," he wrote to his wife, Rene, "but I know the P2V."

It's very OCD. It's very serious about the flying machine, and it's very much about the team--of mechanics and ordnance and petty chiefs and aviators that, working together methodically and seriously, make their machines safe to fly and to fight. This saves lives. It's an ethic. Show-offs and chest-thumpers and hotheads are shunned (p. 128, For Spacious Skies). That was my sense anyway, from the war correspondence.

About trash-talking about Carpenter. It happens in homogenous and highly competitive groups of macho guys. You all look kinda the same. You all fly the same planes. So what do you do? You work the differences.

Forget that Carpenter was TPS 13 at Patuxent in the top third of his class. Dismiss his work flying single-engine jet aircraft. You work the differences. And the difference is that Carpenter came to Patuxent straight from patrol planes. He's a rival in Project Mercury, so what do you do? You call him a patrol plane pilot. And still the guy unaccountably snags the country's second manned orbital flight. More trash talk ensues.

I'd like to return to Tom Wolfe, with his doctorate from Yale in American studies and his central intellectual fascination with how American men at the tops of their fields (Wall Street or NASA) strive in hyper-competitive and highly visible environments.

TRS needs to be read with Wolfe's literary preoccupations in mind. He channels the macho posturing. He doesn't particularly admire it, or recommend it. He documents it. And he does this in a specific school of brilliant gonzo journalism.

mercsim
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posted 08-08-2008 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mercsim   Click Here to Email mercsim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
TRS deserves way better than "the bottom of a list" People may not like the portrayal of certain characters or some of the minor inaccuracies but look at what it does present, a great story, about Hero's with the 'Right Stuff'. Sure we could all argue about the differences between the book and the movie but they both tell a great story.

I'm an Aerospace Engineer that has also test flown a small hand full of Experimental airplanes. Do I have the Right stuff? Maybe, but deep down, probably not. Do modern astronauts have the Right Stuff? Maybe, but they are not flying unproven vehicles, boosters that blow up more often than some of us get paid, and everything that is designed by nerds with pencils and slide rules.

TRS tells a story of a different time. One that many people forgot or never knew about. I make it a point to watch it every few years with someone that doesn't know the story. I always ask for impressions after and the response is alwasy basically the same:

"Those guys had big ones"

Mission accomplished!

I think its time to dig out that DVD...

Gilbert
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posted 08-08-2008 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, I agree with you. The Right Stuff (book & film) are American classics.

FFrench
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posted 08-13-2008 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe will be the 15th selection for Chicago's citywide book club, One Book, One Chicago... The Library is partnering with the Adler Planetarium.
The Adler Planetarium just informed me that, as part of the partnership, they created a "recommended further reading" list for an accompanying brochure distributed through Chicago public libraries, and they included Into That Silent Sea, which is very nice of them!

The resource guide link that Robert provides also includes a recent Q+A with Tom Wolfe. It is interesting to hear (from his point of view) what Alan Shepard thought of the book, and how Wolfe felt about astronaut feedback to it.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-19-2008 01:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Library is partnering with the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science & Industry and Steppenwolf Theatre to present a variety of programs in October exploring not only the race to space and the real lives of the astronauts, but also Tom Wolfe's part in the development of the "new journalism" form of non-fiction writing.
With Francis' kind assistance, the One Book, One Chicago "The Right Stuff" events have been added to our space history calendar for easy reference.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-08-2008 10:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The One Book, One Chicago panel discussion, "The Right Stuff and the Life of an Astronaut" scheduled for October 11 at the Museum of Science and Industry has acknowledged a slight change to their speaker line-up: former shuttle program manager Wayne Hale will replace Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter, who will no longer be attending.

FFrench
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posted 11-27-2008 12:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I thought that this article was an interesting opinion on Wolfe's book and its contemporary relevance.

328KF
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posted 11-27-2008 09:57 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a sad commentary from a columnist with extreme tunnel vision.

Thirty years from now when we have explored asteroids and have a base on the moon, his words will seem as dated and out of touch with reality as he claims Wolfe's to be today.

garymilgrom
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posted 11-27-2008 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The writer has an agenda far removed from reviewing The Right Stuff.

A good reason to ignore The Guardian and its website.

moonman1
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posted 04-29-2009 06:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moonman1   Click Here to Email moonman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I recently found a first edition of the "Right Stuff" by Wolfe at a used book store. It is a copy without the paper protective sleeve, but otherwise, the book appears to be in great shape. When I looked at the front outside cloth cover of this hardbound edition, I noticed that the cover is signed with Tom Wolfe's signature in a silver pen color. Is this signature on all such first edition covers? It does appear to be a signature in that there is an indentation along the path of signature into the cover. Finally, if others see the same thing on their copies, is it an autopen or just part of the publishing process for the book?

moonman1
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posted 04-29-2009 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moonman1   Click Here to Email moonman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I got my answer a little while ago. It is just a printed signature that is on the covers of all earlier editions - not an autopen or a true signature. Thanks.

KenDavis
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posted 08-16-2010 02:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KenDavis   Click Here to Email KenDavis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Most people in the spaceflight community (if I can use that term to cover people with more than a passing interest in spaceflight) seem to be very critical of the film 'The Right Stuff'. Can I possibly put myself in a minority of one and say I think it is an okay film, and I would be interested in why others disagree. Let me say first off, the film does not compare to either 'Apollo 13' or 'From The Earth to the Moon', which are outstanding, but what makes people feel 'The Right Stuff is so poor?

As far as I can tell it is not factually inaccurate; sure those of us who know the events in real detail may disagree with the way some of them are expressed, but aren't those things we are debating on various threads even to this day? How is the film any less accurate than say 'Zulu' or 'Midway' or 'Gettysbury' where I am sure military historians could point out many inaccuracies?

The film is long, but not overly long, and I think it portrays reasonably well the whole ethos of the time. I also think the central characters are well cast; Ed Harris is excellent as John Glenn, Scott Glenn is a great Alan Shepard, and Sam Shepard is a good Chuck Yeager (just a shame the surnames couldn't all line up!). Not sure about Dennis Quaid as Gordo but the main three characters are good.

I know many of you have said in the past that the astronauts themselves have been critical of the film and I would be interested in any more details anyone can share. Is it just because they, as indeed we, are so close and passionate about this story that we feel so strongly about it, or is there something else?

Setting apart our interest in the events the film portrays, what actually makes 'The Right Stuff' a bad film? Over to you...

Editor's note: Threads merged.

On edit: Thanks for merging this thread, I didn't realise so much had already been discussed.

GoesTo11
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posted 08-16-2010 05:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I enjoyed the film version of The Right Stuff, I own it on DVD, and I still watch it from time to time.

Broadly speaking, I look at the movie in much the same way other people closer to the story it tells tend to think of it: As an entertaining, well-acted, outstanding technical exercise in filmmaking that is, to say the least, problematic in its portrayal of history. And I'd posit that most of their problem with it stems from it's recounting of one specific event: Gus Grissom, Liberty Bell 7, and the blown hatch.

Tom Wolfe, besides being one of the great prose stylists in modern American literature, was also a journalist who took his responsibility to the truth very seriously. My impression has always been that the astronauts and other figures central to the dawn of the first Space Age portrayed in Wolfe's book have for the most part believed that he did right by their story, and in the particular case of Gus Grissom, that Wolfe fairly addressed the blown-hatch controversy and the question of Grissom's role in it.

The movie was another matter. If you watched The Right Stuff without knowing anything about the actual history depicted, you could be forgiven for coming away from it thinking that Grissom was an embittered, incompetent loser instead of the man that NASA chose to command the subsequent first crewed flights of both Gemini and Apollo. That, compounded by the fact that he was no longer alive to defend his professional reputation, were, I believe, central to the bitterness that his colleagues felt about his screen portrayal in The Right Stuff.

The film Apollo 13 was at points "Hollywood-ized" as well in terms of dramatic license. Both Tom Hanks and Bill (Fred Haise) Paxton have admitted as much. But nothing in Apollo 13 was as offensive to the reputation of any of the principals--even Jack Swigert--the way The Right Stuff was to Grissom in eyes of his peers. That, I think, comes at least somewhat close to answering your question.

328KF
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posted 08-16-2010 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that any of us here view the film in the context of when we first saw it, rather than as an historically accurate documentary.

When it was released in the early '80's there were alot of bad things happening in the world and the U.S. was in the middle of the protracted Cold War with the Soviets. A patriotic story like this played very well in that political climate.

I remember as a teenager sitting in the theater watching it for the first time. In the scene when the military official hangs up the phone as the reporter tries to get word out on Yeager's supersonic flight, he explains that they might not want the Russians to know about it.

The reporter's reply of "The Russians? They're our allies!" brought a nervous laughter throughout the audience. Today, that scene passes without even a hint of anything amiss, but I still chuckle at the thought of how times have changed (again).

Sure there were many innacuracies and embellishments, and there would never be enough screen time to give credit to all of the flights and all of the people involved. But I think the film has aged well, and who knows? Given the industry's current lack of originality and the trend of remake ("re-imagined" in Hollywood-ese) movies, how cool would it be to see a modern version of what has become a classic?

Gilbert
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posted 08-17-2010 06:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Gilbert   Click Here to Email Gilbert     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I personally like the film a lot. There is no doubt its portrails of Slick Goodlin and Gus Grissom are inaccurate and offensive. But for me the film captures the mood of that mythical, magical era perfectly.

I wish Carpenter's and Schirra's roles (and orbital flights) could have been expanded, but I understand the time constraints of a commercial film.

There have been very few movies in my lifetime that I have enjoyed as much as TRS. I watch it again every couple of years and I like it a little more with each viewing.

On edit: I view it as fairly accurate historical entertainment, not as a documentary.

albatron
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posted 08-17-2010 09:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for albatron   Click Here to Email albatron     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In my opinion, I think we could live with the artistic license, if the bad portrayals weren't so hurtful.

As an aside when I was in LA in January for the Excellence in Aviation award, I found a 1st edition 1st printing hard cover of TRS in a used book store.

Bob Cardenas kindly signed it at the event, and I added Joe Kittinger recently. I wanted to add Bob Hoover but someone there (who reads these postings) ruined it by handing him a large stack of items to sign.

Will I add Yeager? Only if I can add him for free.

I would like to add the Dynamic Pioneer (Carpenter) and John Glenn of course. They most certainly have The Right Stuff.

NAAmodel#240
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posted 08-17-2010 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NAAmodel#240   Click Here to Email NAAmodel#240     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It was a good film. We are still talking about it and use "The Right Stuff" as shorthand the way we do "The Perfect Storm".

Any well done story has tension - highs and lows. In my opinion, the Liberty Bell story told us unexplained things happen, because we make mistakes, are scared, or because "it just blew". The scene highlighted how a fickle public could snatch "all the goodies" when it perceived the pilot was at fault. NASA clearly felt otherwise and this explains why Grissom was given Command for the first Gemini and Apollo.

I don't have a problem with Yeager getting hired one day and breaking the sound barrier the next. It gave you the feeling of cowboys riding rockets.

AstroAutos
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posted 08-18-2010 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I picked up a copy of 'The Right Stuff' book at the KSC gift shop last month.

I just finished reading it today and I have to say I thought it was a fantastic read - page-turning throughout and I just couldn't wait to get reading the next part when I put it down for a while.

It gave me a better idea of what it was like back in those days of the early sixties and the highs and lows the Original 7 went through. I was also interested to read about the attitudes of some test pilots towards the astronauts and how they felt they were essentially 'Spam in a Can' as it wouldn't take any piloting skill to fly the Mercury spacecraft and how Gordo Cooper's flight essentially dismissed this theory that the spacecraft could fly just as well with a chimpanzee.

The trials and tribulations of the astronaut wives was also interesting and they're relationships with the press - I also thought it was funny how Rene Carpenter did all she could to avoid the press during Scott's flight, playing a game of hide-and-seek with them throughout!

The book also touches numerous times on the career of Chuck Yeager and the other Edwards pilots and those bits were excellent.

The Right Stuff is in my opinion a fascinating read and also a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in the early days of the US space program. 10/10

Now to see the film or not to see the film?

GoesTo11
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posted 08-18-2010 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by AstroAutos:
Now to see the film, or not to see the film?

See it, but take several grains of salt with you.

Having read the book will have you well-equipped to judge the fairness and accuracy of the personalities and events depicted, and to what extent the filmmakers did Wolfe justice.

Paul23
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posted 08-18-2010 02:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul23   Click Here to Email Paul23     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's certainly worth seeing but as said above take a few sackfuls of salt along!

The UK DVD has some decent special features including a documentary with interviews with Scott Carpenter, Wally Schirra and Gordon Cooper as well as a seperate documentary about John Glenn.

Personally when I watch it I tend to skip the scenes relating to Gus Grissom's flight. It leaves less of a sour taste that way.

AstroAutos
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posted 08-18-2010 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cheers guys will buy the DVD as soon as I can.

Verdict to follow..

Pat Gleeson
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posted 08-18-2010 03:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pat Gleeson   Click Here to Email Pat Gleeson     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Paul23:
Personally when I watch it I tend to skip the scenes relating to Gus Grissom's flight. It leaves less of a sour taste that way.
I do exactly the same thing.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-18-2010 04:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
With Hollywood's propensity towards remaking old movies (even classics such as "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" and "Psycho"), one wonders if someday Warner Bros. might not turn its attention to "The Right Stuff," especially if we get past the current uncertainty and momentum picks up on sending astronauts beyond Earth orbit.

Tim Burton, when remaking "Wonka," said his desire was to stay truer to Roald Dahl's book. I could at least see the possibility of some future director using the same argument as it relates to Wolfe's text -- bolstered by the criticism of Kaufman's approach to Grissom -- to justify another attempt at "The Right Stuff."

jasonelam
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posted 08-18-2010 05:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"The Right Stuff" was one of the very first movies that I watched about spaceflight. I can remember when I was in fourth grade a teacher, who knew my love for spaceflight, actually took time to record it for me and let me take it home. It was from a broadcast on ABC, so it was edited for content (Nothing like a, "Dear Lord, please don't let me fuddle up.").

A few years later, I watched it again, and now do so on occasion. I have to admit that I am in agreement with most people that there are parts that you have to take with a salt block worth of salt. The parts involving Grissom's flight I agree are hard to watch, especially knowing the portrayal was so off, that creative licensing rearing it's ugly head again. Same thing with the portrayal of Slick Goodlin, they made both to be persons they were not.

I, like several posts in this message group, feel that there should have been some more emphasis on Carpenter, Schirra and Slayton. Their flights (and Slayton's grounding) are not even mentioned, and Wally's great sense of humor is barely noted. I would have loved to have seen the "Mongoose" joke played out on the big screen!

Creative license, as seen in TRS and "Apollo 13", embelishes a lot of events that took place, either by stretching the truth or modifying interactions between persons, whether it be due for the audience or otherwise. It makes the movie more entertaining but sacrifices accuracy.

I must admit, one of the best parts in the movie is the scene during towards the end in the Astrodome during the "feather dancer" scene. There is just something about that scene that was so well done, it's hard to explain.

Personally, as a History teacher-to-be, if I wanted to show students a movie about the space program, I would probably go with parts of "From the Earth to the Moon". TRS may be a little dry, and most have seen "Apollo 13". Just my opinion, I could be wrong...

As for a director of a TRS remake, I dunno, that would be an interesting question. There are several I could think of that could really do a good remake.

Paul23
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posted 08-18-2010 05:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul23   Click Here to Email Paul23     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
Wally's great sense of humor is barely noted.
The funny thing is I watch TRS before I really got interested in space history so I had no idea about the personalities of the real people portrayed in the film.

From my first viewing though I had the impression that Wally Schirra was some intense oddball neurotic with no ability to relate to other people. Imagine what a shock it was when I started reading more about the real man and found he was the exact opposite!

canyon42
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posted 08-18-2010 07:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for canyon42   Click Here to Email canyon42     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
Personally, as a History teacher-to-be, if I wanted to show students a movie about the space program, I would probably go with parts of "From the Earth to the Moon".
I showed the Apollo 15 episode ("Galileo Was Right") to my science club of 4th and 5th graders. We had to spend a few minutes ahead of time putting everything into context (ha, inside joke if you're familiar with the episode) in terms of the astronauts and their roles, along with Lee Silver and Farouk El-Baz. I tried to focus the students on the idea that the astronauts were highly trained for one thing, but to do the best job possible they needed a teacher who could inspire them about the science.

A few parts were slightly over their heads, but with strategic pauses in the video and explanations, they did seem to get the point I was hoping to convey. Then came the best part, when we took a visit a couple of days later on a Saturday morning to the National Museum of the United States Air Force to see several missiles and space capsules, including Apollo 15's Endeavor. They seemed suitably impressed at seeing the command module from "their" video, and imagining how far it had traveled and how fast it had been moving.

I'd like to be able to show them the Apollo 12 episode, but I'm afraid I might get in trouble with some parents -- and my principal -- for that one.

p51
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posted 12-02-2011 05:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have always wondered what kind of launch is shown in "The Right Stuff" with a specific rocket I can't quite ID. It's at 1:31 at this clip:

It sort of looks like a Saturn series rocket, but I can't ID from my books. Does anyone know what this is and what the story behind this specific explosion was?

mikej
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From: Germantown, WI USA
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posted 12-02-2011 05:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mikej   Click Here to Email mikej     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Can't ID the specific flight, but it looks like a Titan I to me.

Greggy_D
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posted 08-12-2013 01:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Finally available for pre-order: The Right Stuff (30th Anniversary Edition) [Blu-ray]

dogcrew5369
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posted 08-25-2013 08:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dogcrew5369   Click Here to Email dogcrew5369     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If you don't like the movie, you're a puddknocker.


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