So, when the decision to purchase an album is based on the 50+ year old advertisement stuck to the cover of an unheard album, you know there is a problem. Jose Jimenez, and the 1960? promo sticker that surrounds Jose Jimenez at Hungry and I starring Bill Dana, is the culprit here, and I am the helpless victim.
The first message from man on the moon… The moon in legend and the science… The beginning of rocketry… Tsiolkovsky… Goddard… Oberth… Goddard’s first launch… The American Rocket Society… Dorn Berger’s experiments in Germany… World War II and the V-2s.
Side 2 (which, for apparent broadcast reasons, is NOT on the same LP…):
World War II ends… U.S. seizes remaining V-2s and the German Rocket team surrenders to the Americans… H-bombs for the U.S. and the U.S.S.R…. The war in Korea… U.S. space program lags… Sputniks stun the world… The humiliation of Vanguard I and the success of Explorer I.
If that doesn’t tickle your curiosity’s fancy, then I don’t know what will!
Also: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD! MAY THE MOONS AND THE STARS FOREVER SHINE UPON YOUR LIGHTED MEMORY!
“The dramatic story of man’s boldest venture told in the voice of those whose achieved it.” No, this is not a six record set, documenting the Snuggie, instead, it’s a rather profound, in-depth excursion into the global happenings of this magnificent achievement, man’s first stroll on the moon.
Only one record in, and the wave of entertaining, yet historical, back-story is proving to be well worth the $10 purchase price. As a sucker for the history, as much as the content, To the Moon will ultimately prove to be a bygone treasure of interstellar proportions… and comes HIGHLY recommended.
I’m a sucker for vintage space and/or rocket-themed cover art, and you can imagine (it’s okay, I give you permission) my excitement when the spaced-out, black hole of vintage music behind the interstellar cover art is actually magnetic and borderline whimsically enchanting.
I’m on the hunt for another copy of Destination Moon, as the bottom left corner has a bit of Moon juice spilled on it (as you can plainly see). This album was released in 1958, so I’m going with the (by no means made up) story that the Ames Brothers ACTUALLY traveled to the moon to record AND press this album, but in their hurried attempts to jettison back to Earth to disperse their space-rock discovery amongst the lemming-like Earth creatures, they accidentally spilled a large amount of Moon juice on a few boxes containing Destination Moon, packed and ready for worldwide distribution. Yeah, that’s it…
Late 50s Jazz Pop with a theme that’s… I’m sorry; I have to… out of this world. I don’t own anything else by the Ames Brothers, but my intergalactic curiosity for more, good-time, secretly wholesome, space-themed 50s music will undoubtedly point me to the direction of the orbiting cluster of space debris called, the Ames Brothers.
It’s not often that ignorance yields new chapters in listening entertainment. Take for example, if you will, Jose Jimenez The Astronaut: The First Man in Space. Don’t actually take it, I’m still listening to it. Acquired for its early-60s-kitchy-spaceage cover (and for only $3), I was comfortable that whatever ear-food was pressed on either side of this record would be worth my time, worth exploring (as in, out in space), and certainly worth $3. What I found was a sliver of comic history that I never knew existed.
José Jiménez was a fictional character played by the comedian Bill Dana, who is neither Hispanic, nor an astronaut. First appearing on The Steve Allen Show back in 1959, José Jiménez, or rather Bill Dana portraying this character he’d invented, gained considerable popularity throughout the 60s, appearing on television (The Steve Allen Show and The Ed Sullivan Show) as well as releasing seven LPs and two singles.
Bill Dana would tread José Jiménez through various professions before landing (a little space humor) on his most popular role, the astronaut. This character’s popularity was so strong, that he was properly (and all official-like) made an honorary Mercury astronaut.
José Jiménez, the character, has been referenced in everything from Seinfeld to Mystery Science Theater 3000, to The Right Stuff, to The Wonder Years, to Get Smart, and even The Larry Sanders Show.
It’s amusing to discover hidden pockets of pop culture that date back over five decades. This record was released in 1960, and it traveled 53 years to reach my ears. Well done, Mr. Jiménez … well done indeed.
Have you heard the news? Apparently, we landed on the moon. When the hell did this happen? Is this common knowledge? Wait… it IS?! Huh… well, it’s rather difficult to admit, but I must have been living in a groovy, fog-filled bubble for, oh, I don’t know… MY ENTIRE LIFE?!
So, how did it go down? Was it done in secret? I mean, after 34 year of walking this rock, you figure I would have heard about Man’s Incredible Venture to the Moon SOMEWHERE. Did all the nations of the World get together and send representatives, or was it a corporate backed kind of thing? Are there people living up there now? Are there like, Moon condos with Moon superintendents requiring Moon inhabitants to sign lunar year leases? Is today’s Moon fashion similar to, I guess, Earth fashion? I bet Nasonex makes a killing up there. It looks pretty dusty. I know I’d be sneezing up a storm up there. Anybody know the going rate for unleaded gas on the Moon?
So… we landed on the moon. Well, good for us.
There exists a finite number of films that match the vast, mind-numbing greatness that surrounds 2001: A Space Odyssey… and that finite number is zero. No other film captures the imagination, the theology, the spectacular visual effects, and the brilliant forward thinking quiet like 2001, and the soundtrack that accompanies this visual adventure, albeit a collection of classics, is nothing short of essential listening material for any, and every fan of the medium.
Released in 1968, the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to 2001: A Spacy Odyssey captures that eerie sense of uncertainty and foreboding doom that is seemingly inevitable for the lineage of mankind. Long, drawn-out landscapes (track three’s Lux Aeterna), dispense agitated spasms of echoed ambiguity, almost as if a spaceship, or a lifeless body, were floating within the vast unknown that is outer space. The first half of the album, before The Blue Danube kicks in, is very grim and despairing, which is exactly the subtextual emotion needed for the beginnings of the inevitable end. The journey into the soul is not a day at the beach.
Much like the opening track, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Johann Strauss’ The Blue Danube is, and forever will be unified with 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both songs have been used in a barrage of other films and commercials, but I couldn’t name a single one of them. If the visual wonders of this film are the planet, then its music is the planet’s gravitational pull. Forever will they be linked, and forever will they rely on each other to exist.
Like the stars of a constellation traveling light-years to reach our retinas, 2001: A Space Odyssey will forever live as the greatest romantic achievement in cinematic history, and it is supported, in large part, by its shining light… its penetrating and hermetic music.
Not unlike the open and infinite vacuum of the vast intergalactic void, this music is much, much bigger than we are, and it needs to be ingested into our pores and delivered from our radiating conscious so that we can experience, and through that, understand the meaning behind man’s true potential.