Naples man recalls running CBS broadcast for Apollo 11 moon landing

A Naples man says he will never forget where he was the day Apollo 11 landed on the moon, because he was behind the CBS cameras that were broadcasting the landing to the United States.

Joel Banow says he watched live from the CBS control room when Neil Armstrong descended from Apollo 11 down to the surface of the moon.

“It was really a lot of excitement, but also there was a strange thing in the control room that it was pretty quiet because everyone was listening to me on the intercom,” said Banow.

Banow was directing the CBS television broadcast of the Lunar landing on July 20, 1969, but says as exciting as that was, it was no easy task.

“We went on the air and spent 32 hours continuously on the air…I got probably a 3 hour nap,” Banow said.

During the extended broadcast, Banow said he and his colleagues had to get creative to simulate portions of the event that couldn’t be shown on TV.

“We got a crane and we put a model of the spacecraft on the crane, so that created the whole concept of simulating what’s happening in space,” said Banow.

Banow is organizing a festival in Naples to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Moon landing. The event is scheduled to run Tuesday, April 23 to Sunday, April 28.

The festival will include lectures from Banow; James Hansen, author of “First Man,” the biography of Neil Armstrong; and Bill Hardwood, the current CBS News space reporter.

The Gulf Coast Symphony, Andrew Kurtz Conductor, will perform a concert of classical & pop music inspired by space and the moon.

For the full list of lecturers and event details, visit The Naples Space Festival website.

Banow says it was a lot of effort, but it was all worth it in the end.

“If you have a goal, stay with that,” Banow said. “Believe you can do it.”

Reporter:Melinda Lee
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