Steppin' Out With My "Bang Bang"

July 20, 1969.

I remember it well. That's the night man landed on the moon. It's also the day I landed the flying "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" car. Four times, in fact.

I was the projectionist at the Emory Cinema in Atlanta, GA, during the summer before my senior year of high school. I recall sneaking a black-and-white portable television set from home into the machine room. That little caper was a fireable offense, but I was determined to see history made. If only modern technology could have made Dick Van Dyke quit singing in that stupid movie.

I showed "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" daily for an entire month. (Pronounce the title any way you choose. I know I certainly did.)

Thank goodness, school was not in session. That motion picture was so uncool, I do believe the kids would have revoked my coveted Class Clown (pronounced: "Head Dork") title had they been the wiser.

As NASA's program played out, the moon landing was delayed until the wee hours of the morning, so I lugged the TV home and watched the historical event with my grandmother and Walter Cronkite, who quipped "Hot dog!" while Neil Armstrong was bounding around the moon, looking for a Waffle House.

Nana was happy, too, ambling about the kitchen with her hot milk, looking for a cigarette.

I was craving frankfurters, thanks to Walter, while Mr. Van Dyke did a little tune and dance in the rear of my mind. I didn't so much as tap a foot from the couch.

Several years later, I heard speculations the moon landing was faked on a movie soundstage. Preposterous!

I was there. I witnessed it all. There were no bad songs.

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