The only time I missed an airing of a Beatles clip was in 1966. The show was Hullabaloo. The clip was the Beatles performing “Day Tripper” and “We Can Work it Out”. Here’s the reason why.
Like most little boys growing up in the 60’s I wanted to be an astronaut. I wrote to NASA on an ongoing basis receiving colorful brochures and pamphlets describing the different man and unmanned missions in the mail every other day. That Alan Shepherd, the first Mercury astronaut, was from New Hampshire was a particular source of pride. The “space race” really was a race, with missions following one another only months apart. It seemed we were going into space as often as the Beatles were releasing new albums.
Of course being an astronaut was about endurance. You had to endure G-force on lift-off and confinement for days at a time in a very small ship to get to the moon and back. In 1965 Gemini 4 saw two astronauts spend 4 days in space, one short of the five needed to get to the Moon. Gemini 5 spent 8 days in orbit. In 1966 I undertook a mission to test my own endurance.
Our’s was a small house, a single level with only two bedrooms on the main floor. Two more bedrooms and a playroom were built downstairs along with a separate storage room. My older brother and I were always building spacecraft in this storage room of our basement out of plywood left over from the recent remodeling. I would pilot the ship using an old typewriter and my brother would provide the inevitable meteors that I would encounter. When these collisions occurred my Mother would yell down the stairs, “What are you boy’s doing?” My brother and I would answer in unison, “nothing”.
Our bedrooms, which were next to each other shared a single large closet connecting the two rooms. The idea was that I would spend 3 days - it must - have been a long weekend - on a mission leaving the closet only when I needed to use the bathroom. These EVA”s, extra-vehicular activities, would be “space walks”, something the Gemini 4 team had done for the very first time. I settled in for the long haul, blanket, pillows and a desk lamp so I could read on the trip. The hanging clothes pushed to one end of the long closet.
And, if I close my eyes, I can still hear the Beatles singing “Day Tripper” far below me on Earth.
I don’t believe I made it the whole three days, although I did make it to moon before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. But, that’s another story.