Johnny Tomorrow - Awe & WonderSaturday, September 18, 2010
Last night I had a hot date in our new Malibu. I picked up Rebecca and I took her to the Planetarium to a
Fringe Show called Johnny Tomorrow. This one hour long production used all the wonderful lights and the planetarium's Harold the Zeiss projector. One of the show operators is the legendary Long John Tanner who used to fit his 6 foot 5 inch frame into his original Mini.
Johnny Tomorrow was written and acted by Michael Unger, a man in his 20s who has a love for astronomy, David Bowie and Carl Sagan (I am not sure if that would be in correct order). His show is a re-introduction to a world before science fiction film special effects became old hat a few weeks after the showing of the film. It was an intimate and autobiographical show about discovering the wonders of the night sky by having gone as a child, sometime after Unger was born in 1975 to the Macmillan Planetarium which has been a Vancouver fixture for 40 years but, of late, has been shrouded by a Romulan cloaking device so that it has become virtually invisible to Vancouverites.
The Macmillan Planetarium made an impression on the young Michael Unger and he returned many times for laser show (not only astronomical ones) produced by Craig McCaw. Around 2002 Unger returned in the capacity of an enthusiastic teacher of things cosmos by answering questions on the planetarium help line and by giving classes to young people.
Unger’s enthusiasm was palpable as he told us of his special hero Carl Sagan who with his soon-to-be-wife was in the organizing of our world’s message to any listeners out there which was imbedded in a gold (actually gold plated copper) LP (has technology changed?) that was place in the innards of inserted in the innards of both Voyager craft launched in 1977. It seems that when the one of the Voyagers was about to leave our solar system, Sagan convinced the folks at NASA to turn its camera around and get a snap of a little pale blue dot that was our planet.
Many, including this blogger have made much of the photograph taken my astronaut William Sanders in 1968 during the Apollo 8 mission. It said, “We who are here (the moon) are from there. This was the first instance of humans being able to look back at themselves. It was not quite the same thing as early photographs taken by other astronauts that showed the curvature of the earth from outer space.
When Unger pointed at a rapidly receding Earth (nicely projected by the Zeiss that is affectionately called Harold) and that Earth became a dot which then disappeared it was a shock to some of us (who have yet to be under wowed by rapidly changing special effects and technology).
Unger told us that if we are to believe in the existence of little green men or whatever, beyond the possibility of bacteria or microbes on some of our planets’ moons it will have to firmly rely on faith since there has been no evidence yet of other star system Gorts and their handlers.
It was that faith and that ability to be mesmerized, surprised and cheerfully amazed by the wonders of the cosmos by our host Johnny Tomorrow that gave me faith that all is not lost if our dissipated Facbooking youth can one day become the pleasant geek that faced us with a space suit and a motorcycle helmet. I think Rebecca might have learned a few things or two.
As we left I heard a voice say, “Is that Alex Waterhouse-Hayward? This is Craig McCaw.” For an explanation on who that person was read the guest blog below by Les Wiseman below.
Jonhny Tomorrow is one for three more nights including tonight at 7.
Laser Man Craig McCaw & Maybellene