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I've read that even with all the SF stories written about the first landing on the Moon, not a single one written before the Apollo missions were planned ever had any hint that the first landing would actually be televised so we could watch it (almost) live.

Is this true? Or did any stories written before the missions were planned (and when we'd know it would be televised) predict that there would be a video camera on the Moon to record that first footstep?

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    I'm pretty sure that Clarke wrote a story with live reporting of the first Moon landing, but it might have been radio only. What Clarke got wrong is that he thought there would be a British expedition.
    – user56
    Feb 14, 2012 at 6:53
  • @Gilles: If you can find the story, why not post it as an answer? It looks like nobody has come up with any other story that fits the point.
    – Tango
    Feb 18, 2012 at 2:18
  • @Lighthart: Did they show it being televised?
    – Tango
    Feb 25, 2013 at 1:04
  • I cannot find the reference anymore, so I've deleted my comment.
    – Lighthart
    Feb 25, 2013 at 1:20

2 Answers 2

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Yes, a televised moon landing was predicted in one Golden Age story that I know of: "All Aboard for the Moon" (novel, 55000 words) by Harold M. Sherman in Amazing Stories, April 1947, available at the Internet Archive. Apparently never reprinted.

The following excerpt is part of Gil Benson's ("playboy; devil-with-the-women; and rich") speech just before taking off for the moon in his atomic-powered spaceship, the Goodbye, World!:

"I'm also indebted to the General Electric Company of Schenectady for permitting me to install a hitherto untried sending and receiving radio set which beams radio waves of such high frequency that we are confident they can penetrate both the Heavyside [sic] and Appleton layers which surround the earth, at respective levels of sixty and two hundred miles, so that we can keep in constant touch with this planet during our travels and while on the moon.

"These new instruments, in conjunction with the television apparatus we are carrying, will permit us to scan some of the moon's surface and project back to earth the actual scenes as we are witnessing them. You know, of course, that television waves travel in a straight line and from the vantage point of the moon they can be beamed directly to earth. In fact, could a television station be established on the moon, we could then beam all television shows to the moon and relay them back to earth on a straight line so that they would be receivable everywhere."

P.S. Here's an earlier (1940) but less clear-cut example. Not a science fiction story, it's a non-fiction feature titled "An Elementary Course In Astronautics" in Planet Comics #9, November 1940, available at Comic Book Plus. It doesn't mention moon landings per se, but predicts that spaceships of the future will maintain radio and televisual contact with earth. According to a statement in the previous issue, this issue went on sale September 10, 1940, a good five years before Project Diana, on January 10, 1946, demonstrated the feasibility of transmitting through the ionosphere by bouncing radar off the moon.

Quoting from the 4th and 5th panels on p. 30:

OBSERVERS ON EARTH WOULD CHECK ALL DETAILS WITH THE SHIP'S COMMUNICATION OFFICER.

A FORM OF ULTRA-SHORT WAVE RADIO AND TELEVISION WOULD KEEP THE ROCKET IN CONSTANT CONNECTION WITH THE EARTH.

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    Thank you! It's great someone found a reference like this.
    – Tango
    May 1, 2013 at 3:02
  • Great catch! As an apropos, the television-station on moon idea is propably inspired by the contemporary Moon Relay or similar ideas: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communication_Moon_Relay
    – Abulafia
    Aug 30, 2013 at 7:34
  • And afaik predates satellite TV as well.
    – Paul
    Jul 16, 2016 at 10:40
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Once Alley Oop's adventures (in his eponymous comic strip) started taking him through time and space, he ventured to the Moon. The comic strip below was originally published in 1949, so after the dates in the accepted answer. Still, it shows an excited group of civilians watching their TV set at home.

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