Monday, July 18, 2011
This is a great time to revisit the 1963 documentary The John Glenn Story, introduced by President Kennedy. You can watch it here, now, courtesy of the National Archives.
John Glenn wasn't about to miss out on NASA's Space Shuttle program, and to much fanfare became the oldest astronaut to fly into space when he boarded the Discovery in late October of 1988 for his mission. The seventy-seven-year-old then-Senator Glenn got some flack for going back into space, but doesn't that criticism seem absurd now? Imagine if NASA had buckled and not let him go on Discovery...how small-minded would that have been? Glenn was an Astronaut Hero and needed to be there, and he was.
This is a clip from The John Glenn Story by Michael Lawrence Films.
You might like also to take a look at these compiled TV spots from his Presidential bid in 1984.
Here's John Glenn giving a speech at an event celebrating NASA's 50th Anniversary in 2008. He has a charming self-deprecating quip at the beginning, and he's completely awesome throughout!
You'll also want to go to the website of the John & Annie Glenn Historic Site in New Concord, Ohio, and you'll probably want to make a physical pilgrimmage there after seeing the virtual version.
Paul Barosse, on his "Paul's Voyage of Discovery & Etc." blog had a wonderful post last week entitled "Growing Up in the Space Age". You should read it; it is superb and fascinating. He charmingly ties his own childhood in with the excitement of the space program, and it's terrific. Kudos to him! Read it!
We also love that John Glenn, as a character, was one of the most exciting parts of Phillip Kaufman's superb 1983 film adaptation of Tom Wolfe's non-fiction book The Right Stuff, about the Race to Space. As played by Ed Harris, Kaufman's version of Glenn is the ultimate clean Marine, a charming, self-effacing but proud over-achiever who becomes a media darling but remains a dedicated team player and makes all of America proud. Here's the trailer for the film, plus an amusing scene where Glenn's competitive spirit really comes out. If you haven't watched this film lately, you need to. It's exciting, biting, funny, and thrilling. Not a moment isn't amazing. Watch it!
What else can we say? John Glenn embodies all that we hope America is, was...could be. He's also a wonderful example of growing old with brilliance and fortitude.
Happy Birthday, John Glenn! We love you!