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How You and Your TV Can Celebrate the Moon Landing Anniversary
July 19, 2019  | By Mike Hughes

At times, the calendar can be our friend.

That's the case with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. It falls on a Saturday (July 20), meaning more people will be available and perhaps they can snuggle together as families did a half-century ago. Also, a mid-summer Saturday is a slow time for viewers, so there are fewer distractions.
With that in mind, here's a round-up of Saturday choices. Keep in mind that these are subject to late change, and there will also be extensive coverage on news channels.


– Precisely 50 years after the original, we can see Walter Cronkite's CBS coverage (left) on their streaming service at 4:17 p.m. ET for the moon landing and 10:56 p.m. ET for the first steps on the moon.

– Cronkite's coverage also provides the core for Moon Landing, from 9-11 p.m. ET on BBC America. It's supplemented by other footage, extensive music, and even an emotional NBC moment with David Brinkley.


– From the Earth to the Moon, 8:45 a.m. ET, HBO2. Here's the eighth episode of the richly crafted series, dramatizing space events. This hour views the crisis for Apollo 13; as it happens, the series is produced and hosted by Tom Hanks, who starred in the Apollo 13 movie.

– America's Secret Space Heroes, 2-5 p.m. ET, Smithsonian. Separate hours view the Hubble Telescope, the space station, and the lunar module.

– From The Earth to the Moon, 4:14 p.m. ET, HBO2. This dramatizes the astronauts' wives, during and after the space program. Starring Sally Field, JoBeth Williams, Rita Wilson, Elizabeth Perkins and more.

– Apollo Moon Shot, 5-9 p.m. ET, Smithsonian. Four of the five documentary hours rerun, concluding with the moon landing. The fifth part – viewing the near-disasters with Apollo 12 and Apollo 13 – airs at 10 p.m. ET


– Apollo: The Forgotten Films, 8-10 p.m. ET, Discovery

– Apollo 11, 9-11 p.m. ET, CNN. This is the lush version, using 70mm film, that has been running in movie theaters and, in a shortened version, on IMAX screens.

– The Day We Walked on the Moon (left), 9 p.m. ET, Smithsonian. Astronauts, their families, and Mission Control members describe the moon mission.

– Confessions From Space: Apollo, 10 p.m. ET, Discovery. This is an Explorers Club session with six key people, including lunar astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins.

– Moon Landing: The Lost Tapes, 10:05 p.m. ET, History.

– Apollo's Hidden Figure, 10:48 p.m. ET, CNN. A 12-minute profile of JoAnn Morgan, NASA's first female engineer and the only woman in the firing room during the launch of Apollo 11.


– The Right Stuff (1983), 11:30 a.m. ET, BBC America. This is a brilliant look at the space program – and a rather cheeky one, compared to our renewed reverence for astronauts. Nominated for eight Oscars, including best picture, it won for music, sound, editing, and special effects.

– Gravity (2013), 4 p.m. ET, BBC America. George Clooney and Sandra Bullock face the terror of isolation in space. Nominated for 10 Oscars, including best picture, it won seven, including for director Alfonso Cuaron.

– Hidden Figures (2016, left), 5 p.m. ET, FXX. Nominated for three Oscars, including best picture, this is the true story of three black women, overlooked at first, who became key NASA mathematicians.

– Space Cowboys (2000), 6 p.m. ET, BBC America. Hey, all the space films can't be winners. Clint Eastwood directed and starred in a so-so film about former astronauts, rescuing a satellite that has equipment which, like them, seems obsolete.

– First Man (2018), 8 p.m. ET, HBO. Following his triumphs with Whiplashand La La Land, Damien Chazelle directed this richly crafted (and fairly involving) film, with Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy as Neil and Janet Armstrong. It was nominated for four technical Oscars, winning for visual effects.

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