A moment in time: 1969 Charlotte Observer chronicles moon walk - | WBTV Charlotte

A moment in time: 1969 Charlotte Observer chronicles moon walk

Front page of the Charlotte Observer 45 years ago, the day after the first moon walk in 1969. Front page of the Charlotte Observer 45 years ago, the day after the first moon walk in 1969.
A WBTV ad that ran in the Charlotte Observer in 1969 A WBTV ad that ran in the Charlotte Observer in 1969
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

It was an event with universal significance, and back in Charlotte and across the Carolinas, viewers were transfixed to their television screens watching Neil Armstrong take that bouncy backwards step and place his feet on the surface of the moon.

"That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind," Armstrong said, uttering words that would become a part of history.

The next day, July 21, 1969, attention turned to newspapers for comprehensive worldwide reaction to the "giant leap."

The Charlotte Observer that day featured five stories on the front page devoted to the moon landing and moon walk.

One story recounted how President Nixon "sat rapt before his television set" and called it "the greatest moment of our time."

A check of the TV listings show that WBTV, as well as WSOC and WCCB, were devoting all of their programming from 6:15 am until 6:00 pm to continuing coverage of Apollo 11.  Later on the night of the 21st WBTV would be airing Mayberry RFD, Family Affair, and Jimmie Rodgers, before WBTV News at 11.

Woody Player at Queen City TV & Appliance was advertising a new Zenith 19 inch portable TV for $129.95, a Zenith solid state portable radio for just .99, and a portable stereo with turntable for just $59.95.

Ray Bolger was appearing at the Charlotte Summer Theatre at "air conditioned Ovens Auditorium" in "The Happy Time."

Ivey's was offering an Italian Classic Sofa for only $299.99 and a king size mattress for $259.99.

Young Ford, corner of Stonewall and Independence, was advertising a "like new" 1969 Chevy Impala hardtop for $2888, and a "like new" Ford Galaxie 500 four door for the same price.

The paper also included a lot of local reaction to the moon landing.  There was a special section featuring local pastors discussing the event under the headline "Is God Smiling, Or Laughing?"

"I believe that man's continual thrust into the unknown is constantly inspired by God," said Reverend Robert G. Tuttle of Myers Park Methodist Church.  "I have no idea what it will lead to, but I believe we must go on.  It leads somewhere important."

The paper didn't have a lot of local news on July 21, with most pages devoted to the Apollo 11 mission.

There was one brief item about a mass escape from a prison in McDowell County.  Nineteen men escaped after they overpowered the guards and sawed through dormitory bars.  The 12th escape to be captured was found in Charlotte early on the morning of July 20.

The weather for this day in 1969?  Hot, with thunderstorms possible and a high of 95 in Charlotte.  

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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