News Flash update: Lydia Cornell will be signing autographs in person on January 4 & 5, 2014 at The Hollywood Show at the Loews Hollywood -- with her "Too Close for Comfort" costars Jim Bullock and Deborah Van Valkenburgh (Sara, Monroe and Jackie together!)
Christmas 1968This holiday season Lydia asked me to do a little Christmas\Holiday message since she's currently wrapped up on set filming a movie. I know I personally used to love Christmas as a kid and when Christmas time approaches each year I often find myself wandering in my mind back to earlier times and the happy memories of Christmas morning awaking to nothing but presents and food and tasty treats and fun all day long. Man what could be better? So for me I think the best Christmas message I can think of is one I remember that I heard on Christmas eve, 45 long years ago. A message that I, and almost everyone alive on the planet at that time also saw and heard.
1968 was a pretty hard year all around. Vietnam was starting to take people we knew, Robert Kennedy was murdered as was Doctor Martin Luther King. There were the massive riots that followed and things were just feeling pretty low that Christmas in the country in general. I know in my own family I could see the toll it had taken on my mother, as we lived in an area that was near the riots. And although our parents generally considered themselves republican they loved Jack and Bobby Kennedy, and when Bobby was shot it was a depressing blow. For me it meant having to stare at 3 days of nothing but a flag draped coffin being driven down the street or mourned over in state. I'd remembered from a boy seeing the same sight for his brother and this didn't do a lot for my enjoyment that year either.
But then that evening while watching TV they once again interrupted the program we were watching to bring us live audio and video from Apollo VIII, now in orbit around the moon. Suddenly Bill Anders started reading from Genesis, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth", while simultaneously showing us live video feed of the surface of the moon. When Anders began to read my mother who was in the kitchen doing the dishes came into the room with her dish towel in hand and stood there watching with me and the rest of the family. When he said "let there be light" they panned the camera off to the earth, and there we were. Staring back at ourselves.
Understand, until that time we'd not seen the earth from space. There were no photos in existence of the earth from deep space showing the full circle of the earth hung there in the blackness of space. We had "artist depictions" which normally showed a pale, pastel blue green planet rather than this bright, vivid glowing "big blue marble" staring back at us, or at least for those of us who had color TV that is which fortunately we did. It was an incredible sight, and gave you goosepimples to see. As Borman finished his message, I remember seeing a small tear in the corner of my mothers eye, and there was a warm glow in the room that I can't really describe, just a sense that I've never felt since. A sense that all was right with the world. God was "in his heaven" as it were. And I was too. Seeing our earth changed us. Time posted one of the best shots taken of the earth coming up from behind the moon and called it "Earthrise". This photo along with the events of that evening helped spark and drive the green revolution of the 70s that has continued to this very day.
Things seemed to change after that. Not rapidly. Slowly at first. But slowly attitudes began to shift. America was moving away from war and towards peace and prosperity. And although the Apollo program died when the war died just 4 years later, it left us with a momentum and a sense of "self" that we'd never had before.
Today we're in a similar state at times it seems with the incessant bad news we're spoon fed 24 hours a day 7 days a week, so I thought for Christmas wouldn't it be nice to go back for a few minutes and relive this milestone event in human history that many of us experienced and fondly remember? And for those who never saw this event first hand I invite you to take a peek into a wonderful Christmas eve I had 45 years ago this Christmas eve.