Broadcast 1366 (Special Edition)

20 May 2010 Megan Prelinger
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Guest: Megan Prelinger. Topics, space advertising, aerospace engineering recruiting, early human spaceflight 1957-1962. Megan Prelinger, author of "Another Science Fiction: Advertising The Space Race 1957-1962," was the guest for this Space Show program. Her book is available on the One Giant Leap Foundation website and if you purchase it from this link, Amazon contributes to One Giant Leap and The Space Show. Please use www.amazon.com/dp/0922233357?tag=onegialeafou-20. Please note that there is phone line noise in the audio of this program. We apologize for this inconvenience but sometimes phone lines do cause problems beyond our control. In our fist segment, Megan explained how she got interested in the subject and how this book evolved to completion. We talked about much of the material being in the public domain and why that was the case. I think you will find this discussion very interesting. As you will hear, most of the ads during this period were aerospace engineering recruitment ads. During this time period, a half a million engineering jobs were added to industry to launch our space program and the book documents how this was done, the advertising message, the great images used, and much more. We highlighted several of the ads and images including p. 173 and the Westinghouse ad that resembled a lunar base on pp. 178-179. We also discussed the focus on the military in space, a far cry from what we talk about today. Megan received several questions wondering if the images from back then would be useful today to drive more interest in space and related fields. You might be surprised by her answer. In our second segment, we talked about the time period and technology. As you will hear, up to about 1962, not so much was known about space so science fiction, fantasy, and space could all combine to work together. After 1962 as we started learning more about space and especially deep space, reality started to separate itself form the science fiction and fantasy and the ads and the messages started changing. This is why Megan targeted her book to cover 1957-1962. Listeners asked about the early space suit ads and the square helmet as well as if social problems were shown in the period being researched to have been resolved by going into space. When asked if Cold War advertising was explicit, the answer was no but you might be surprised by some of the comments on this topic. In our third and final segment, I asked Megan about the cover photo used for the book. As you will hear, it was a 1957 life insurance ad using a man floating in space with a concerned look approaching the planet Saturn. We switched focus to learning about the Prelinger Library located in San Francisco. You can find out more about the library by visiting www.prelingerlibrary.org. Also visit the website for her book, www.anothersciencefiction.com. If you have comments or questions for Megan Prelinger, please use author@anothersciencefiction.com.

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