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Imagination Connoisseur, Dean Micetich, remembers the “space race” of the 50s and 60s with a trilogy of films and keeps an optimistic eye toward the future.

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Hi Rob and the PGS,

In the last 24 hours I have watched three films all based on real events, all of which are focused on the Space Race of 50’s and 60’s.

The first film, is one I never seen before and been meaning to for years. That film is Philip Kaufman’s THE RIGHT STUFF (imdb). I knew this film was good before going in, but I did not realize it was this good. I was hooked from the opening narration right up until it closing one. I did not notice the 3 hour 15 mins runtime go by.

I followed THE RIGHT STUFF up with one of my all-time favorite films, APOLLO 13 (imdb). What can I say about this, except it is a well shot, acted and a thrilling film. Though I do find it a little humorous now, knowing that Ed Harris went from playing one of the Mercury 7 (John Glenn) in THE RIGHT STUFF, to playing Gene Kranz in this film.

Kranz was a close friend of Glenn and worked alongside him on the Gemini Program. (For those, not in the know. Glenn and couple of the other Mercury 7, also make a small appearance in APOLLO 13.)

I ended this spree of space films with OCTOBER SKY (imdb). This is a little known film starring a young Jake Gyllenhaal. I saw it when it first came out in 1999, and have not watched it since. But I stumbled across it on Netflix (Europe) and just had to watch it again.

For those that don’t know OCTOBER SKY, it tells the story of Homer Hickam and how Sputnik 1 inspired him to go on and become a NASA Engineer and Astronaut trainer. Though the film only concentrates on his teen years where he and three friends start building Rockets and became locally known as The Rocket Boys.

The film also stars Chris Cooper as Hickam father, Laura Dren as his teacher and Chris “Sherminantor” Owen as one of Hickam friends and one of the Rocket Boys.

If any of the PGS have not seen this I highly recommend it.

There are many more great space films out there, like GRAVITY (imdb) and THE MARTIAN (imdb). We also have FOR ALL MANKIND (imdb) on Apple TV and AWAY (imdb)coming on Netflix. But they are all fictional stories.

With this in mind I get the feeling that we could be seeing another period in human history where we are all looking towards the stars again and with excitement of another space race with humanity returning to the moon and then heading off to Mars. Especially with private industry now trying to get into the action. (Space X, Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin just to name a few.)

So Rob, can you see more films based on true stories from our history of trying to reach the stars if the excitement really start to build up again?

Peace and Long Life,

– Dean M.

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