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AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Chasing the Moon

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of
the moon landing

By Jody Shiroma , PBS Hawaiʻi

 

Apollo 11 Saturn V launch vehicle lifts off from Kennedy Space Center.July 20, 1969 was a momentous day, a day whose events some would refer to later as the “greatest experience of their lifetime.” Parents around the world invited their children to join them around the television, “Come and watch this,” they said.

 

Families gathered around their television sets in awe, listening intently as messages came crackling over the airwaves. From Apollo 11, two American astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, accomplished what no other humans had done – they stepped foot on the moon. Armstrong’s words, “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind,” echoed around the world.

 

(Image at right) Apollo 11 Saturn V launch vehicle lifts off from Kennedy Space Center.

 

As Americans and the world shared their experiences, for those living in Hawai‘i the event continued as astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Michael Collins made their first landfall on O‘ahu after their capsule splashed down in the Pacific Ocean. Their quarantine unit arrived at Pearl Harbor aboard the recovery vessel, the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, on their way back to Houston.

 

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and PBS Hawai‘i are premiering Chasing the Moon, a three-part, six-hour documentary series that brings the awe, excitement and unforgettable experience to life for both those who lived through it and for the generations who have come after.

 

Apollo 11 astronauts (from left): Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. share a laughFrom the space race’s earliest beginnings to the monumental achievement of the first lunar landing in 1969 and beyond, this series recasts this period as a fascinating time of scientific innovation, political calculation, media spectacle, visionary impulses and personal drama. Utilizing previously overlooked and lost archival material – much of which has never before been seen by the public – the film features a diverse cast of characters who played key roles in these historic events.

 

Among those are astronauts Aldrin, Frank Borman and Bill Anders; Sergei Khrushchev, son of the former Soviet premier and a leading Soviet rocket engineer; Poppy Northcutt, a 25-year old “mathematics whiz” who gained worldwide attention as the first woman to serve in the all-male bastion of NASA’s Mission Control; and Ed Dwight, the Air Force pilot selected by the Kennedy administration to train as America’s first black astronaut.

 

(Left) The Apollo 11 crewmen, still under a 21-day quarantine, are greeted by their wives. (Center) Poppy Northcutt became the first woman in an operational support role to work in NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston with the flight of Apollo 8. (Right) Ed Dwight, the first African American to be trained as an astronaut

 

“When we think of that breathtaking moment of the 1969 moon landing, we forget what a turbulent time that was,” said Mark Samels, AMERICAN EXPERIENCE executive producer. “The country was dealing with huge problems – Vietnam, poverty, race riots – and there was a lot of skepticism about the space program. Chasing the Moon explores the unbelievably complex challenges that NASA was able to overcome. It was a century-defining achievement, and our film tells a familiar story in an entirely new way.”

 

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

CHASING THE MOON

Monday – Wednesday at 9:00 pm
July 8 – 10
on PBS Hawaiʻi

Watch Preview

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Chasing the Moon - cover story

 

 

 

POV
Happy Winter

 

Every summer on Palermo’s Mondello beach, over 1,000 cabins are built in preparation of the Ferragosto holiday. Centered around a family who goes into debt, three women holding onto the feeling of youth, and a politician seeking votes, this film portrays a vanity fair of beach goers hiding behind the memory of a social status that the economic crisis of recent years has compromised. To be accompanied by the StoryCorps short film “My Father, the Giant,” caught in a thoughtless act of cruelty, a young man learns a lesson in compassion from his father, a larger-than-life tribal leader of the Caddo Nation. Years later, he passes that lesson down to his own son.

 

 

 

PBS HAWAIʻI PRESENTS
Luther Kahekili Makekau: A One Kine Hawaiian Man

LUTHER KAHEKILI MAKEKAU: A One Kine Hawaiian Man

 

Winner of the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival, this film constructs a rich portrait of a colorful and controversial Hawaiian man. Born on Maui in 1890 during the reign of King Kalākaua, Luther Makekau was part philosopher and part outlaw, a chanter, singer and poet, as well as a fighter and a cattle rustler, known throughout the islands for both his passion and his rebellious nature.

 

 

 








NOVA
The Great Math Mystery

 

NOVA leads viewers on a mathematical mystery tour – a provocative exploration of math’s astonishing power across the centuries. We discover math’s signature in the swirl of a nautilus shell, the whirlpool of a galaxy and the spiral in the center of a sunflower. Math was essential to everything from the first wireless radio transmissions to the prediction and discovery of the Higgs boson and the successful landing of rovers on Mars. But where does math get its power? Astrophysicist and writer Mario Livio, along with a colorful cast of mathematicians, physicists and engineers, follows math from Pythagoras to Einstein and beyond, all leading to the riddle: Is math an invention or a discovery?

 

 

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I
Are Millennials Ready to Put an End to Sexual Harassment for Good?

 

If there’s really been a sea change – a new awareness and intolerance for sexual harassment of all kinds – millennials will be the generation that makes it stick. We’ll hear from local millennials about their views on the potential for a new era of enlightenment, respect and equality. Are millennials ready to put an end to sexual harassment for good?

 

 

Join us during our live discussion by phoning in, or leaving us a comment on Facebook or Twitter. INSIGHTS is also live streamed on pbshawaii.org and Facebook Live.

 

Phone Lines:
462-5000 on Oahu or 800-238-4847 on the Neighbor Islands.

 

Email:
insights@pbshawaii.org

 

Facebook:
Visit the PBS Hawai‘i Facebook page.

 

Twitter:
Join our live discussion using #pbsinsights

 

 



INDEPENDENT LENS
Seed: The Untold Story

 

Few things on Earth are as miraculous and vital as seeds, which have been worshipped and treasured since the dawn of humankind. This film follows passionate seed-keepers protecting our 12,000 year-old food legacy. In the last century, 94% of our seed varieties have disappeared. As biotech chemical companies control the majority of our seeds, farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fight a battle to defend the future of our food. In a story both harrowing and heartening, these reluctant heroes rekindle a lost connection to our most treasured resource and revive a culture connected to seeds. Featuring Dr. Jane Goodall, Andrew Kimbrell, Winona Laduke, Raj Patel and Vandana Shiva.

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA, The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)

 

In 1851, word spreads across the country of a beautiful area of California’s Yosemite Valley, attracting visitors who wish to exploit the land’s scenery for commercial gain and those who wish to keep it pristine. Among the latter is a Scottish-born wanderer named John Muir, for whom protecting the land becomes a spiritual calling. In 1864, Congress passes an act that protects Yosemite from commercial development and preserves it for “public use, resort and recreation” – the first time in world history that any government has put forth this idea – and hands control of the land to California. Meanwhile, a “wonderland” in the northwest corner of the Wyoming territory attracts visitors to its bizarre landscape of geysers, mud pots and sulfur pits. In 1872, Congress passes an act to protect this land as well. Since it is located in a territory, rather than a state, it becomes America’s first national park: Yellowstone.

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA, The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

 

This six-part documentary series directed by Ken Burns is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.

 

By the end of the 19th century, widespread industrialization has left many Americans worried about whether the country – once a vast wilderness – will have any pristine land left. At the same time, poachers in the parks are rampant, and visitors think nothing of littering or carving their names near iconic sites like Old Faithful. Congress has yet to establish clear judicial authority or appropriations for the protection of the parks. This sparks a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, led by John Muir; the Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, led by Theodore Roosevelt. The movement fails, however, to stop San Francisco from building the Hetch Hetchy dam at Yosemite, flooding Muir’s “mountain temple” and leaving him broken-hearted before he dies.

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA
The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919)

THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA, The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919)

 

This six-part documentary series directed by Ken Burns is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.

 

In the early 20th century, America has a dozen national parks, but they are a haphazard patchwork of special places under the supervision of different federal agencies. The conservation movement, after failing to stop the Hetch Hetchy dam, pushes the government to establish one unified agency to oversee all the parks, leading to the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916. Its first director, Stephen Mather, a wealthy businessman and passionate park advocate who fought vigorously to establish the NPS, launches an energetic campaign to expand the national park system and bring more visitors to the parks. Among his efforts is protection of the Grand Canyon from encroaching commercial interests and its establishment as a national park, rather than a national monument.

 

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