My comment on Twitter got me to reminiscing.
I was around for the USA's first manned space flight & the last. The best thing the NASA programs gave me was José Jiménez.
I was being silly, but, to be truthful, not much.
In 1961, before manned rocket flights, a comedy routine jumped to the top of the airplay on Top 40 radio stations, and elsewhere, becoming a swift national sensation. Comedian Bill Dana released an in-depth Q&A with his comic character, José Jiménez. It seems the endearing innocent somehow positioned himself to become "the first man in space!"
I found "The Astronaut" at YouTube to share here, but this particular copy has an added puppet show performance video inserted by a fan. Underlying, however, is the uncut audio I still adore and enjoy as if it were emanating from a news broadcast.
Before listening, Wikipedia adds an anecdote about José's superstar fame:
Perhaps surprisingly, the character of José Jiménez caught on amongst the seven Mercury astronauts, and Dana became good friends with them. "Okay, José, you're on your way!" Deke Slayton quipped as Alan Shepard's famous first flight launched, in reference to the astronaut parody.
For his role as José the Astronaut, Dana was officially made an honorary Mercury astronaut.