August 28, 1957 – 60 years ago history was made when Major David Simons piloted the first hot-air balloon, reaching over 100,000 feet to the edge of Outer Space. It was the first such experiment using a new research platform for studying human reactions at the 100,000 foot level for 24 hours or longer. It was all in preparation and development for what would be the first manned Space Flights beginning only a few years later. In retrospect, our journey into Space has been a relatively recent thing (60 years isn’t that long a time, when you think about it), and this latest experiment was one of many which had taken place since the end of World War 2 when we began experimenting with rockets and entertaining the idea of Space travel.
This program – a week-nightly show presented by Life Magazine, was in conjunction with the September 2nd issue, devoted to Major Simons and his accomplishment. The magazine did a photo essay, but this program conducted an interview with Simons – and those of you interested in the history of the Space program, will find this interview significant and, needless to say, historic.
Historic, but in a different way, is the second piece on this half-hour show. The Pop Culture aspect of 50s America, it features an interview with 18-year old Jill Feldser of Atlanta Georgia, the owner of 100 bathing suits, who displays them in the photo essay of the September issue. The interview with Feldser stretches like spandex to make it interesting and even features her singing abilities. However, it gives some indication that puff (or Human Interest) pieces in the 1950s were just as plentiful and just as silly as they are now. But this is what life was like in the 1950s, and Life Magazine had its finger on the pulse of America.
Enjoy a slice of Americana.