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Yesterday in La Crosse

Merry Christmas from the moon, 50 years ago

Brad Williams



On the night before Christmas in 1968, astronauts in the Apollo 8 spacecraft were circling the moon.  That day, they had become the first humans to travel to the dark side of the moon.  Astronauts wouldn’t actually land on the lunar surface until the following July.  In a live TV broadcast to earth that Tuesday night, the three-man crew of Apollo 8 read the account of the Creation from the book of Genesis, read first by Bill Anders, and then by Jim Lovell and Frank Borman. On an episode of “The Wonder Years,” aired in the late 1980’s, the Arnold family watches this lunar broadcast, but there’s no indication that it’s happening at Christmas-time.   

The Christmas Eve TV schedule that night included “Julia,” with Diahann Carroll, the Red Skelton show, and a made-for-TV movie called “The Smugglers.”  But the big show was from outer space, as Borman concluded with “Good night, good luck, a merry Christmas, and God bless all of you, all of you on the good earth.”  Christmas Eve 1968, yesterday in La Crosse. 

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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