Unremembered

In His Own Magical Way, Walt Disney Was The First to Send People to the Moon

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By Ken Zurski

Seven years before President John F. Kennedy announced intentions to put a man on the moon,  Walt Disney, in his own magical way, was doing just that. Not physically of course, but imaginatively.

Disney-style.

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It started in July of 1955, when Disney’s  visionary theme park Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California.  Inside an area dubbed “Tomorrowland” was an 80-foot rocket named the “Moonliner.” It’s purpose was for show, but it’s intent was far-reaching. This was “tomorrow’s” transport and the goal: space travel.

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TWA’s “Moonliner” at Tommorowland

The exhibit was sponsored by Trans World Airline (TWA) with a promise that the air carrier “would send passengers to the moon in 30 years” [That would be 1985 back then].  Rocketing along at flight speeds of 172 mph, TWA claimed the trip would take about eight hours. Next to the rocket was a multi-sphere building and a sign that read: “Rocket to the Moon.”

At the base of the rocket was an explanation:  “Stabilized in flight by gyroscopes, it would be controlled by automatic pilots and magnetic tapes. Landing tail-first, no air-foils or wings would be necessary, its vertical descent controlled by its jets. The 3 retractable landing legs would be equipped with shock absorbers. Launching and landing would be done over a “firing center” to confine and lead off the superheated exhaust gases.”

Inside “Rocket to the Moon,” thanks to a projection screen both on the ceiling and on the floor, park guests could experience this flight themselves – or at least a simulation of it.  “You don’t actually land on the Moon, but you get to fly around the back side of the Moon,” was the ride’s description. “Along the way, you learn interesting facts about the Moon and the planets. Soon you’re heading back to Earth. After your craft turns around, you see your destination on the floor screen. Prepare to land.” The total duration of the ride was about ten minutes.

Disney himself explained it this way: “Kids and grown-ups too can take a trip to the moon from here. Well, at least they can board a passenger rocket and have all the thrills of such a trip – and in accord with the latest scientific theories on interplanetary travel.”

Yes, “scientific theories,” is how Disney put it in 1955.

He added: “Timid souls who don’t care to risk outer space can peer at the U.S. from an inner space, man-made satellite orbiting 500 Disney miles above the earth.”

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In 1961, TWA dropped its sponsorship and Douglas Aircraft took over the”Moonliner.” The rocket was repainted to represent Douglas Aircraft’s color and brand.  It lasted until 1966, when it was shut down and the building demolished. By this time the prospects of a moon flight was in reach. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things,” President Kennedy famously said in September of 1962, “not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

In 1967, the ride was rebuilt, adding more amphitheater rooms and more seating.  A pre-show lobby was redesigned and featured the park’s animatronic figures. Gone was the “Moonliner” rocket, or as one Disney historian described: “It had been scrapped.”

The exhibit was given a new name: “Mission to the Moon.”

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Then in July 1969, millions of Americans watched as a man walked on the moon. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” astronaut Neil Armstrong proudly proclaimed upon making the first footprint. Suddenly, Disney’s futuristic moon ride was no longer “tomorrow’s” fantasy.

“First Think. Second, dream. Third, believe. And finally, dare,” Disney once said, although he wouldn’t live long enough to witness man’s first flight to the lunar surface. He died in 1966 at the age of 65.

The ride stayed open through all six manned Apollo Missions. Finally, in 1975, the name changed again.  This time passengers were still going into space, but now they would travel further than the moon and certainly farther than any man so far.

“Mission to Mars” opened in March of 1975.

The ride closed for good in 1992.

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Reviews are in for UNREMEMBERED: “Grand and glorious tapestry of events and personages”

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BOOK REVIEW

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Unremembered: Tales of the Nearly Famous & the Not Quite Forgotten is a nonfiction collection of historical events and figures written by Ken Zurski. Zurski is a broadcaster, speaker and author whose books recreate the past. This book casts a spotlight on several dozen personalities and shares their contributions to society and progress. Among them are Nellie Bly, who bluffed and blustered her way into a well-deserved career in journalism when women were not welcome, and who circumnavigated the globe in less than 80 days; Nathaniel Currier, whose lithographic processes changed how news was disseminated, and Sam Patch, the Jersey Jumper, whose acrobatic skill and daring finally met its match in the Genesee Falls. Zurski covers the tragic, fiery destruction of the Lexington in the Long Island Sound on a freezing winter night; the fiery conflagration that leveled the New York City’s Wall Street Area and the Great Chicago fire; and the evolution of the flying machine.

Ken Zurski’s Unremembered is a grand and glorious tapestry of events and personages whose impacts were definitely felt, but whose stories have for the most part been forgotten or overlooked. I was fascinated by the way he weaves each person into the stories he tells, and I loved the care with which he develops his stories about Niagara Falls and aviation history, and used lithographs and historical artwork in his presentation. Zurski is a gifted storyteller who makes those forgotten people come to life — he even instills a purpose and rationale for the temperance firebrand Carrie Nation as he discusses the development of women’s rights and suffrage through the 19th and 20th centuries. I was fascinated by his stories and loved learning about the unknown heroes, villains and trailblazers he highlights in this work. I was also pleased with the extensive bibliography he included. Unremembered: Tales of the Nearly Famous & the Not Quite Forgotten is most highly recommended.

Read more reviews here: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/unremembered?fbclid=IwAR1mRGTng0j5Y-P76nGLKxcriP22-UP_xNCxVdMDjFgTvuCkTOuajddoCk8

Available to buy: http://a.co/d/7sn5zH1

 

Unremembered

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Ask Your Local Library to Add UNREMEMBERED!

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The global library catalog World Cat categorizes UNREMEMBERED under these three Genre/Forms:
“True adventure stories. biography and anecdotes.”

Ask your local library to get it …give the book title and the author. Available on Ingram, Baker & Taylor and Amazon http://a.co/d/iteJoll

“UNREMEMBERED: Tales of the Nearly Famous and the Not Quite Forgotten

Ken Zurski, author of The Wreck of the Columbia and Peoria Stories, provides a fascinating collection of once famous people and events that are now all but forgotten by time. Using a backdrop of schemes and discoveries, adventures and tragedies, Zurski weaves these figures and the events that shaped them into a narrative that reveals history’s many coincidences, connections, and correlations.

We tumble over Niagara Falls in a barrel, soar on the first transcontinental machine-powered flight, and founder aboard a burning steamboat. From an adventurous young woman circumnavigating the globe to a self-absorbed eccentric running for President of the United States, Unremembered brings back these lost stories and souls for a new generation to discover.

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FEATURING
John Alcock
Nellie Bly
Isambard K. Brunel
Samuel Cunard
Nathaniel Currier
Annie Edson Taylor
Ruth Elder
William Harnden
Father Louis Hennepin
Dorothy Kilgallen
Samuel Langley
Bobby Leach
John Ledyard
Thomas Moran
Catherine O’Leary
William B. Ogden
Fanny Palmer
Sam Patch
Rembrandt Peale
Cal Rodgers
Amos Root
Janet Scudder
George Francis Train
Cornelius Vanderbilt
Arthur Whitten Brown
John Wise
Victoria Woodhull

Recognize this Actress? You Might be Surprised.

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By Ken Zurski

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A veteran of stage and screen, Billie Burke began her Broadway and film acting career in 1906 at the age of 22.

She appeared in numerous stage and screen roles (silent films) and in 1914 married another show business impresario , Florenz “Flo” Ziegfeld Jr, of Zeigfeld Follies fame.

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In 1921, Burke retired from performing thanks to a boon in the stock market and good investments.

However, in 1929 after the Black October crash, the money was gone.

Burke went back to work appearing with many top Hollywood heavyweights like Lionel Barrymore whom she co-starred in the most acclaimed and defining role of her career: Millicent Jordan, the “hapless, feather-brained lady with the unmistakably high voice,” in 1933’s “Dinner at Eight.”

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Although it wasn’t her last appearance in the movies, in 1939, at the age of 54, Burke played a character for which she is most remembered today…

Glinda the Good Witch of the North in “The Wizard of Oz.”

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UNREMEMBERED: Tales of the Nearly Famous and the Not Quite Forgotten

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“This is a history book about people and events that were famous once now mostly forgotten. It’s also about how lives connect and intertwine. Using a flowing narrative of multiple themes, I chronicle these fascinating figures in ways that made them instantly popular and reveal good or bad why today they are the stories of the Unremembered” – Ken Zurski, author

Unremembered

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    Coming August 2018 from Amika Press

UNREMEMBERED INNOVATOR: Eadweard Muybridge, the Zoopraxiscope, and the Suspended Horse

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By Ken Zurski

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Eadweard Muybridge

In 1860, while traveling by stagecoach across the Texas plains, capitalist Eadweard Muybridge fell and suffered a serious head injury. Some say he never fully recovered. His doctor however suggested more fresh air. So Muybridge took up photography and began shooting landscapes.

Then in 1872, railroad magnate Leland Stanford hired Muybridge to shoot a horse. Not literally, of course, but with a camera. Stanford wanted to know if a horse lifts all four feet off the ground simultaneously during a gait. Muybridge managed to show a horse seemingly suspended in midair. But the shot, published as a line drawing at first, drew jeers from a skeptical public.

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Muybridge’s Moving Horse 

Muybridge found a way to convince them. He invented a machine called the Zoopraxiscope, where a silhouette image of a picture is painted on a revolving glass plate. When the light is shown through the cylinder the drawings seem to move.

“A magic lantern gone mad,” raved the Illustrated London News.

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Zoopraxiscope

Vindicated, Muybridge sought to improve his design. He went to see a man he thought might be able to put actual photographs on the cylinder.

After all, he had done the same thing with sound.

That man was Thomas Edison.

Lord Stanley’s Gift: The Hand-Picked Ornament

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By Ken Zurski

In 1891, Charles Colville, secretary for the Lord Frederick Stanley, the British appointed General Governor of Canada, was ordered to sail back to England and return with a hand-picked ornament.

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Charles Colville

Stanley had something particular in mind and Colville knew just where to look.

On Regent Street near Piccadilly Circus, he stepped into the shop of George Richmond and Collis Co. and spotted a “silver bowl lined with a gold gilt interior.”

Colville bought the bowl for 10 guineas, the equivalent of about 10-thousand U.S. dollars today.

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Stanley was ambivalent at first. “It looks like any other trophy,” he remarked.

Generally, though, he was pleased.

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Lord Frederick Stanley

In 1893, the first Stanley Cup, as it was called, was awarded to Montreal, the champions of the Ontario Hockey Association. Stanley, a big hockey supporter, offered the trophy as a gift.

The first Cup presentation however came with a dubious start.

Lord Stanley’s team was Ottawa. So animosity between the two teams was apparent. When Montreal was awarded the inaugural cup bearing Stanley’s name, only a few players were on hand.

Even more telling, no Montreal team officials bothered to show up.

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