Apollo 11 hits stage, screen for 50th anniversary


(CNN) - The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing is spurring a lot of reminiscing about that historic mission.

It's also given rise to a film and a touring stage show that are presenting the events of a half-century ago in a new light.

The images are iconic yet new. Todd Douglas Miller and his team crafted the documentary "Apollo 11" from a massive trove of 70-millimeter film footage, re-discovered in the National Archives after half a century.

A massive trove of footage from the National Archives has been put together in a new film for the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 mission.
A massive trove of footage from the National Archives has been put together in a new film for the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 mission. (Source: CNN, Neon/CNN Films)

"I mean it was like having your birthday every single day walking into the office," Miller said. "And I would, you know, get to see things that no one else had seen before. It was extraordinary.

"And to be able to try to weave a story out of that was, you know, just the highlight of my career."

They also uncovered some 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, shedding new light on one of the most famous events in history.

To reach a wider audience, a shorter "Apollo 11: First Steps Edition" is playing at science centers and museum-based giant-screen theaters.

"I call them the cathedrals of cinema," Miller said. "They're just incredible screens, so I knew that this imagery would appeal to that audience."

Charlie Duke was Mission Control's Cap Com on Apollo 11, the first person to talk to men on the moon. Duke walked on the moon himself on Apollo 16.

Now he and Apollo Flight Director Gerry Griffin are advisors on "Apollo 11: The Immersive Live Show."

"It's different, I think, because it's a live performance," Duke said. "It's a play. It's never been done before as a play. You either been watching archival footage or you listen to somebody talk about it."

Griffin said the show will entertain, educate and inspire people.

"The people that were not around in 1969, that weren't born yet, I think they'll get a new kind of a fresh look at this thing," he said.

One aspect of the touring show that appealed to Griffin and Duke: the collaboration required to pull it off.

"I think that teamwork and the striving for a goal, when you're fully committed, is what the legacy of Apollo really is. And I hope that comes through," Griffin said.

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