(Today is National Ice Cream Soda Day. As a kid, my folks would take me to Parkside Candy, a Buffalo institution, to get several flavors of industrial-sized lollipops. Then, one day, my dad introduced me to ice cream soda at Parkside. I was spoiled instantly. No ice cream soda I've had since has tasted as good as that one at Parkside's. And now, Cardboard Appreciation. This is the 283rd in a series):
In case you haven't heard, today is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing and man walking on the surface of the moon.
I had just turned 4 when this epic, audacious moment took place on U.S. televisions everywhere. I assume my folks were watching but I have no idea. I have no memories of the moon landing.
However, the after-effects of that day followed me through my childhood. Astronauts loomed as the country's biggest heroes, larger than life, bigger than even Joe Namath or Hank Aaron. Kids brought space-themed lunch boxes to school, and we often took breaks in class to view the latest NASA venture into space.
My friend's mother bought Pillsbury's space food sticks -- modeled after the high-energy snacks the astronauts ate -- and to this day I remember them as a childhood, culinary masterpiece, on par with Bottle Caps and Milkshake candy bars. In reality, space food sticks were probably no better than a primitive energy bar but I yearned for another taste through the rest of my childhood.
As the '70s progressed, space food sticks faded from the market and so did the public's fascination with space travel.
The space program doesn't feature the star power it did when I was a kid. And there's plenty of stupid stuff out there like moon-landing conspiracy theories.
But fortunately, Topps has done an adequate job of remembering the moon landing in its cards. In 2008, the Eagle Lunar model's historic feat was commemorated in Allen & Ginter's World's Greatest Victories insert set, still one of my favorite A&G inserts (although not the greatest look).
Topps also paid tribute to the moon landing in two different sets last year, Allen & Ginter and Heritage.
The triumphant moment is recognized on the back of the first card in the Magnificent Moons insert set in last year's A&G.
Unfortunately, the tribute falls flat:
Considering that Apollo didn't launch from Florida until July 16, 1969, I think Armstrong walking on the moon five days prior was probably impossible.
Is this another case of A&G's quality continuing to slide?
In 2008, A&G got it right:
Fortunately, Heritage last year also produced a moon-landing card as part of its annual News Flashbacks set. I don't have that card, but here's an image of it:
And here's the back:
Although I don't remember anything about the initial moon landing, the thrill and the pride over the U.S. space program is something that I totally associate with childhood, just like the Bicentennial and Grand Funk Railroad. Astronauts were brazen cowboys and we loved it.
Tonight at some point, I'm going to rewatch the "Mad Men" episode that takes place during the moon landing. It really gets across how awe-inspiring that moment was.
The things humans can do sometimes.