PBS Goes to the Moon

(Photo: ‘ Chasing the Moon.’ Source: PBS)

The first moon landing, 50 years ago this month, was certainly a crowning American experience.

So, who better than PBS’ American Experience to chronicle America’s decade-long race to the moon from start to finish?

American Experience’s six-hour Chasing the Moon will run in three parts, tonight through Wednesday at 9 pm, on PBS stations and streaming at pbs.org (but check your local listings).

Robert Stone, an Oscar nominee for 1988’s Radio Bikini, spent five years combing through dozens of archives and thousands of hours of film footage and audio tracks to put together the documentary. It includes new interviews with astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Frank Borman and Bill Anders; Poppy Northcutt, the first woman to serve in NASA’s Mission Control; Ed Dwight, who trained as America’s first black astronaut; Sergei Khrushchev, the son of former Soviet premier Nikita; as well as journalists, NASA PR men and more.

Here’s the start of Stone’s epic film:

Chasing the Moon will be preceded on most PBS stations tonight by a new “Out of this World” episode of Antiques Roadshow; tomorrow by an encore American Experience episode, “Space Men”; and Wednesday by a new “Back to the Moon” episode of Nova.

The Antiques Roadshow offers appraisals of NASA memorabilia; “Space Men” looks at Project Manhigh, which laid the groundwork for the US space program; and Nova ponders a possible lunar encore as prelude to manned missions to Mars and beyond.

Other upcoming premieres in what PBS calls its “Summer of Space” include 8 Days: The Journey of Apollo 11, a BBC co-production, on Wednesday, July 17 at 9 pm.

PBS Kids has already debuted Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step, a one-hour special about space exploration and the Apollo 11 mission.

Chasing the Moon will encore over the air on Tuesdays, July 16, 23 and 30, at 9 pm, and in a six-hour marathon, Saturday, July 20, at 2 pm. You’ll also be able to stream it and the other PBS shows on PBS.org and the  PBS video app, and via PBS Passport for station members.

You can find Ready Jet Go!: One Small Step on PBS Kids Video app and pbskids.org.

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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