Disney & Space: Part I

Disney & Space: Part I

Podcast 32: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

On July 16th, Apollo 11 was launched by a Saturn V rocket from Kennedy Space Center. With pilot Michael Collins orbiting in the command module Columbia, Commander Neil Armstrong and pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle on July 20, 1969, and stepped onto the surface of the moon six hours later on July 21st (UTC).

Jim Korkis joins me as we talk about the wonders of space and its connection to all things Disney. You can find the podcast here on Podbean and here at iTunes. This podcast is Part I and is timed with the liftoff of Apollo 11. Join us next week for Part II which will be timed with the landing of the lunar module on July 20th.

Note: To get the real effect of being in space, Jim sounds like he is an astronaut talking to us from the dark side of the moon! Seriously, our apologies as we seek to improve the recording sound.

Victory Through Air Power

You can’t talk about our achievements in space if you don’t understand its roots in World War II. With the loss of business and his staff going to war, Walt Disney took on doing training films for the army, navy and other divisions of government. It is estimated he turned out some 300,000 feet of film for Uncle Sam. This is where Walt refined his skills in creating both training and propaganda films.

From Disney’s “Victory Through Air Power”

In particular, Walt felt strongly about the use of long range bombers in winning the war. He believed this tactic would dramatically reduce the number of U.S. fatalities.. Therefore he took on developing a film based on Alexander de Seversky’s Victory Through Air Power. You can see the film here. Thankfully we enjoy peace with the very countries we were at war with during that era. As you watch it, understand the context, as it displays those adversaries as enemies.

Man In Space

Dell offered a comic book series based on the television episodes.

With the development of his Disneyland TV show, Walt Disney wanted to showcase the best in science. A big part of that was the Man in Space series, which illustrated the road map for getting into space, landing on the moon, and even moving to Mars and beyond. This series was wildly successful, and caught the attention of Americans who were fascinated by the notion of going into space.

Many of the creators behind the Man in Space series. Photos by Disney.

This launched a new fascination among baby boomers about the possibilities of space. Long before Buzz Lightyear sent you to infinity and beyond, all sorts of toys and merchandise were available to get you excited about space. For many youth, that involved pulling out the model glue and building your own rocket.

Model kits by StromBecKer that allowed you to build out your dreams of flying in space.

It also didn’t hurt that Disney promoted the same models on his TV show. Disney synergy at its best!

Walt Disney introducing the Man in Space series on his Disneyland show. Photo by Disney.

We’ll bring you Part II in a few days when we focus on attractions at the Disney Parks linked to Disney and Space.

Jim Korkis, Disney & More

Jim Korkis offers so much insight on Disney. There is much to learn, from film and animation to Disneyland and Walt Disney World. A frequent speaker at major Disney fan events, and in places like the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, Jim brings great stories few have heard, and all enjoy. You can find a listing of his published books at Theme Park Press. Check it out today!

J. Jeff Kober

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