Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

DVD Series "From The Earth To The Moon"

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I don't have cable (don't really long for it,either) but every once in a while a series comes along that shows you what cable TV can do when it's at its best.  “From The Earth To The Moon” was a 1998 HBO series that dramatized the numerous triumphs and tragedies during NASA's efforts to put a man on the moon.  Budgeted at 68 million dollars (one of the most expensive HBO series to date), the ambitious series does a superlative job of exploring the many aspects of the USA's race to the moon.

DvdsThe series was created in the wake of the runaway success of Ron Howard's film “Apollo 13”.  Self-confessed "space nut" Tom Hanks, the oscar-winning star of Apollo 13, hosts the series and also wrote and produced some of the material (a terrific recreation of the production of Georges Méliès' own silent film moon voyage).

To give you an example of the series' innovative storytelling, when it came time to tell Apollo 13's story, I expected a remake of the feature film.  Instead, the series focuses on the story of the people on the ground, using the events of Apollo 13 as a way to discuss the paradigm shift from legitimate journalism, to the kind of sensationalist gonzo reportage that passes for journalism today.

Space_face The special effects and filmmaking are remarkable, the acting is great (the series is dotted with many familiar faces, especially if you're a student of character actors), and the series' ability to capture the 60's zeitgeist is uncanny.   A series of this length (12 hours versus a typical 2 hour feature) is an effective and evocative way to see that going into space was really, really hard. 

It's also a rarity to have a series like this that the whole family can enjoy.  While it is dramatizing actual events, it's not a dry retelling of the history books.  There are many untold stories here, and you'll meet the many exciting personalities and join the thrilling and real adventures found along the way Onesmallstepfrom the earth to the moon.

[Note that there is a newer "widescreen" version of the series available on DVD.  The series was shot in 4:3, and the "widescreen" version is simply a cropped down version of the original material   There is a new 5.1 soundtrack, but all of that extra sound won't make up for missing a third of the picture.]


Pick up the series box set, and help out Retro Thing along the way.

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