Forty years ago today, some guys landed on the moon and walked around, and there were thousands of money-making newspapers on hand to chronicle it. They used words like "spacemen" and drew nifty mod-looking illustrations. Here's a front-page gallery.
These are taken from the Newseum's exhibit of historic front pages. What's striking is the excited jingo-ism of some reports—it was Americans walking on the moon, dammit, as far as Col. McCormick's Chicago Tribune was concerned—and the clinical just-the-facts recitation of others. The New York Times' lyrical headline: "MEN WALK ON MOON; ASTRONAUTS LAND ON PLAIN; COLLECT ROCKS, PLANT FLAG." That sure captured the thrill of the moment. A subhed got so overheated that the passive voice had to be called in to cool things down: "A powdery surface is closely explored." The nearby Camden, N.J., Courier-Post did a much better job: "WE SHINE ON THE MOON."
Also fascinating are the illustrations some newspapers preferred to the grainy television stills that were available of the landing. They were comic-book style renderings that look like they belong in children's books.
In other news on July 20, 1969—police in Massachusetts were preparing charges against Ted Kennedy for leaving the scene of an accident on Chappaquiddick Island two days prior in which Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. That one only made the front page of the Columbus Evening Dispatch. He was like the Mark Sanford of his generation.
New York Times
Los Angeles Herald-Examiner
New York Daily News
Los Angeles Times
Pottstown (Penn.) Mercury
Camden, N.J., Courier-Post
Memphis, Tenn., Commercial Appeal
Melbourne, Fla., Today
Columbus Evening Dispatch
Saint John, Canada, Telegraph-Journal
Tehran, Iran, Kahyan