Was Wernher von Braun asked "How does it feel to be aiming rockets at the moon rather than London?"?
August 9, 2010 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I was told a possible apocryphal story by my father, that at a press conference about the Apollo missions a British reporter stood up and asked Wernher von Braun something like "How does it feel to be aiming rockets at the moon rather than London?", at which von Braun stormed out. Googling has failed me. Did this happen? If not, is there a likely source for it?
posted by Coobeastie to Grab Bag (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
"When ze rockets go up,
Who cares where zey come down?
Zat's not my department,"
Says Verner Von Braun.
posted by DWRoelands at 9:04 AM on August 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Danke for the Tom Lehrer but that's not the source (my dad's a Tom Lehrer fan and would cite him if that was the source!).
posted by Coobeastie at 9:14 AM on August 9, 2010


This sounds like a variant of the joke about the Wernher von Braun bio-pic, I Aim At The Stars (1960), which someone suggested should be subtitled 'But Sometimes I Hit London'.
posted by verstegan at 9:30 AM on August 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've not heard that story, but I would be highly surprised if NASA put von Braun in front of a press conference like that. Pretty much for exactly the reason inferenced in your question.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:30 AM on August 9, 2010


It looks like it was a partially remembered quote that was in fact spurious.

From Life magazine:

LIFE Aug 29, 1969

"What is there to keep a Saturn V from landing on London?" Von Braun was reported to have walked out of the room. But the story was doubtless apocryphal; it smacked of reporters' bile."
posted by mfoight at 9:30 AM on August 9, 2010


This sounds like a variant of the joke about the Wernher von Braun bio-pic, I Aim At The Stars (1960), which someone suggested should be subtitled 'But Sometimes I Hit London'.

That was Mort Sahl.
Mr. Schneer also produced a biopic about the Nazi rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, released in the United States in 1960 as “I Aim at the Stars.” (The comedian Mort Sahl made short work of the title, amending it to read: “I Aim at the Stars — but Sometimes Hit London.")

posted by zarq at 9:33 AM on August 9, 2010


Thank you everyone - I think a combination of the story quoted in Life and the Mort Sahl joke is almost certainly what this is.
posted by Coobeastie at 9:58 AM on August 9, 2010


Does seem a bit unlikely. We were just in Huntsville, AL (at the US Space and Rocket Center) where I learned that Dr. Von Braun was made a member of the British Interplanetary Society in 1949.
posted by jquinby at 10:11 AM on August 9, 2010


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