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Good luck Mr. Gorsky

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One of my favorite stories of all time just made an appearance, with some modifications, on the email “pass-along” list, and I couldn’t resist checking it out with David Emery’s urban legends website. To my dismay, I discovered not only the email version was untrue, but so was the original.

The email passes on a story told by British columnist John Humprys in the Times, which asked “Why were the first words of the second man on the moon, Buzz Aldrin, “Good luck Mr. Liebowitz?”

I knew when I read it I was in possession of another urban legend, for the original story, the TRUE one as I believed, was about the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, and his statement of, “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”

As the story goes, one or other of the astronauts said these words to a former neighbor. “As a kid, he was playing baseball with a friend in the back yard. His friend hit a fly ball which landed in the front of his neighbor’s bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky (or Mr. and Mrs. Liebowitz, depending on the version of the story that’s told.)

 “As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting to Mr. Gorsky, “Sex? You want sex? You’ll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!”

Tell me that’s not a great story. As Professor Brunvand said, “The truth never stands in the way of a good story,” and it certainly didn’t in this case.

According to NASA recordings (you can listen to five minutes of them by following a link on Emery’s website to the official NASA Apollo 11 site which also features video clips) neither Aldrin nor Armstrong said any such thing. And the story, supposedly told by one or the other “at a press conference on July 5, 1995 in Tampa Bay, Florida,” just never happened.

Bummer. I think someone ought to go back in time, have a talk with the astronaut’s neighbors, and coach them on what they should say in front of the kids who would later grow up to walk on the moon.

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Landon Otis

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