Anybody Catch "Failure Is Not An Option" on the History Channel?

If you missed it, don’t worry, the History Channel spent some big bucks on it, so they’ll be rerunning the shit out of it. I’m a space geek, so I thought that it totally rocked! It was interesting to hear how things during the Space Race went for all the guys on the ground. They were even able to laugh at themselves (the whole pocket protector business was hysterical).

One of the things I found most interesting about it, had to do with the editing of the show. Prior to showing it, they showed Apollo 13 and bleeped out various words (like “God damn”), and they also bleeped out those same words during Failure is Not an Option, but they let Gene Kranz say, “Chris, we’re in a world of shit.” totally uncensored!:smiley:

Gene Kranz’s official webpage for those of you who are interested.

I too noticed the Gene Kranz quote…it seemed kind of odd, but I just shrugged it off. Does anyone else think Kranz looks a lot like R. Lee Ermey?

Those were my boys, and those were my days. I was up at 5:30 AM (back in the '60’s) to watch, in black-and-white, all the early launches. I can’t watch Apollo 13 without cheering, yelling, crying, clenching my fists and so forth.

When the geek guy says "we have to make this (round filter) fit in the place for that (square filter) and we have this stuff (table full of JUNK) to work with–including a roll of duct tape–I just go nutz. Even more when the team comes to the command center with the answer/procedure…and somebody shoves a uniformed, be-ribboned military guy out of the way so that 3 geeks can get by. That ROCKS!!!

IM (never very) HO, Gene Kranz is top-notch. “Even astronauts have heroes” is a GREAT tag line.

Yes, I saw it and once again I continue to be amazed with the space program. I read the book, but had forgotten some parts.

What was accomplished with 1960s technology and extremely hard work is simply stunning. For the thousandth time in my life, I say: Bravo!

Did anyone else catch the live webchat with Kranz on THC website? I only caught about 15 minutes of it, and I was wondering if anything interesting came up.

And if THC can continue with things like this - air the show and follow it up with live webchats with the principals - well…this is what the internet is FOR, isn’t it? :slight_smile:

Shit, I knew I forgot something on Sunday night. Dammit. And I was looking forward to it after reading the book a year or so ago. Scurries off to check schedule…

I watched most of the second hour and enjoyed. I’m glad to hear they’ll be running it a lot and I can watch the whole thing. Interesting that it’s aired the very same week NASA is getting raked over the coals for the Columbia accident. Today a report is supposed to come out highly critical of the bureaucracy. (Nothing new, I know, but the juxtoposition is sad IMO).

Yeah, go to any “dollar store” and you can buy a calculator more powerful than the computers on the Apollo program.


Missed it since I didn’t have java installed on my machine.



FYI, it’ll air tonight at 8pm (PT and ET). Set your TIVO!

It was a great, great show. Bravo, History Channel!

One nitpick- why did they bust their butts to get a man on the moon by the end of 1969? Why didn’t someone point out “there was no year zero, so the 1960s don’t end until December 31, 1970.”

The exact quote from John F. Kennedy:

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”

The end of the decade was generally considered to be 12/31/69

Well, of course, kunilou, that’s what I thought at the time, too. But at the turn of the century, we had all the nitpickers telling us how stupid we were for counting the century over as of 12/31/99, I’m kind of surprised that nobody at NASA thought of that as a way to buy an extra year.

Different system of counting. There is a year 1960. There is no year 0. If there had been a year 0, it would all have made more sense.

-3 -2 -1 1 2 3 4 5

Ya see the bit missing on the number line?

That was a great show. And of course, I stayed up and watched Apollo 13, afterwards, so I didn’t get to bed until almost 3 a.m. Worth it, though. It was interesting to compare Krantz’s viewpoint with the movie, particularly with how Ed Harris played him. It was almost eerie, seeing how well Ed Harris submerged himself in Krantz’s personality.

NoCoolUserName, I wasn’t even born until the Shuttle was on the drawing boards, and I can’t watch that movie without cheering, crying, and all the rest, either. I think that those are all of ours boys.

Just before the movie came out, Gene Krantz was on a talk show, and they showed him some clips of Harris in the movie. “Wow, that guy is almost as enthusiastic as I was! Oh.”

My old man knew some of those guys, including Krantz, from his Air Force days.

I watched the movie, but didn’t watch the special. But I’m sure I’ll have 54,578 more chances this week.

How is Rap like Porn? Both are better with the sound turned off.

Well, Harris and the others got to meet the people they were playing (except for those who’d died before the movie was made), so I’m sure that as talented an actor as Harris is, it was paramount to him to copy as much of Kranz’s personality as possible. I know that Kranz still get’s choked up about his years at NASA. They have a documentary on Apollo 13 as one of the bonus features for the DVD of the movie, and while they’re talking to Kranz about the mission, he stops, and get’s tears in his eyes.

I’m amazed that The History Channel has the gall to show this program, and perpetuate the whole Moon Landing Hoax. I mean, look at the evidence – see any stars in the sky? NOPE! And how come there’s no blast crater under the landing engine? It’s all there in the pictures, if you look close enough you can even identify the Nevada mountains in the backgr–hey! Put down those pitchforks and tomatoes! I’m just sayin–aahh STOP! GET OFF ME! HELP ME!! WHHAAAAAAAA!!!

…umm, not sure where that came from. :slight_smile:

But I found it interesting, how many of the techies in Mission Control (John Aaron, etc.) looked exactly like the actors who portrayed them in Apollo 13. Ron Howard sure did his homework, didn’t he!

Yeah, he sure did. So many of those actors looked stunningly similar to the men they portrayed (John Arran was particularly eerie). It’s almost wierd. And it has been said by many of the NASA guys that Ed Harris is actually more Gene than Gene!

I had the honor of meeting Gene Kranz when he spoke at a conference I helped put on. He is the real deal, a gentleman, a fighter, a taskmaster, a loyal friend and hard-assed supervisor. You’re damn right he still cries when Apollo 1 and Apollo 13 come up in conversation. Those were his men, his boys, and they changed the world forever.

Buy the book, you will love it. And watch the show.

PS- the report that is so critical of the shuttle crash? Kranz himself is very critical of the climate at NASA right now. He is of the opinion that you cannot run NASA (or accomplish anything significant) with all your energy focused on nobody getting hurt and never taking risks.

Or without a specific goal. He’s right, of course.

“We’re not killing enough astronauts.” Burt Rutan.