History's most fascinating misquote
Hey history lovers. I'm Mike Rosenwasser retro pod. A show about the past rediscovered. On April thirteenth, nineteen seventy the Apollo thirteen mission to the moon was rocked by an onboard explosion, the command module went dark earth was two hundred thousand miles away and astronaut radio Michigan troll, Houston. We have a problem. He was fairly calm for a man zipping through space with no curb to pullover to if they broke down and that phrase, Houston, we have a problem it became a cultural. Touchdown sportscaster sent politician said in books movies plays music. It's shorthand for saying something has gone awry, sometimes terribly. Except it's wrong. S historical misquotes, go Houston. We have a problem is one of the all time greats. And this is the story of how it came to be. And also how it didn't. Up in space that night after the explosion, astronauts, Jack swagger and James level did radio Michigan trolling use. As I say again blazer. Your problem? A little hard to hear. It's right there in the transcript, Houston, we've had a problem. So where did Houston we have a problem come from recently, the Houston chronicle identified the culprit, or at least claim to their story pointed a finger at the film Apollo thirteen. Starring Tom Hanks and directed by Ron Howard. It tells the dramatic story of how the three Apollo astronauts just barely survived the ordeal. This is Houston say again, please Houston. We have a problem. We have a main Buckby underbowled from cinematic point of view changing the phrase made for better filmmaking drop the word. Okay. It's just filler anyway and change the phrase from past tents to present to make it more urgent. One of the screenwriters. William Breuls junior takes credit for changing the line for the movie. He said, quote, the past perfect tense wasn't as dramatic. It's a satisfying explanation. Millions of people have watched Apollo thirteen and through the power of the film, and Tom Hanks and smart screen writing the new phrase caught on right? Well, not quite it. Turns out the phrase actually goes back even further. Nasa used it way back in nineteen eighty three as the title of its weekly radio program about space history. You can actually see pictures online of these old cassette tapes. The show was named space stories and special report number two to tell the story of Apollo thirteen. It was called Houston. We have a problem. But that's not even it it nineteen seventy four less than five years after the incident itself. Universal television produced a TV movie about the mission. Astronaut Jim Lovell hated it in Washington Post article he called it quote fictitious and in poor taste. What was the title of that movie Houston? We have a problem. Mike Rosen walled. Thanks for listening for more forgotten stories from history. Visit Washington Post dot com slash retro pot.