A Legacy for the Great Grandsons of E. Ray and Jackie Smyth
Bentley - Lucas - E. Ray IV - Christian

Your Great Grand Father, E. Ray Smyth has a story to tell you about making a movie in 1969 while working at the Kennedy Space Center and helping land man on the moon for the 1st time.

As my KSC Memoirs indicate, all during the Apollo Moon Program your GGF ran a 70+ member crew and was responsible for 115 pieces of Ground Support Equipment all of it mounted on Wheels.

And, as a High Pressure Gas General Foreman for Bendix Launch Support your old great grand pappy had a reputation for getting things done and one day while sitting in my office I got a phone call from the Bendix Safety Office and they ask if I thought I could blow something up.

I said, "Are you nuts, that's the last thing a High Pressure Gas Man wants to do".

They went on to explain that Dr. Kurt Debus the NASA Director at KSC wanted to make a safety film and one of the things he wanted in it was to show the hazards of working with rocket propellants and high pressure gas.

The film was being produced by Bill Gibson Productions out of Los Angeles, California and they wanted me to meet with the producer and figure out what we could do to simulate blowing something up.

Well one of the hazards that was of concern to your GGF was the fact we dealt with a lot of flex hoses rated at different pressures and my worry was that the guys would use a low rated hose in a high pressure operation. So, It was my idea to simulate blowing up a high pressure flex hose.

I met with the Producer, Bill Gibson and explained my idea and what we could do. After we got the details worked out, he asked me to write a script explaining the operation so the scene we filmed could be narrated.

After the film's introduction by Kennedy Space Center Director, Dr. Kurt Debus there are three different simulated accident segments in the film.

The 1st segment is about an accident that occurred in the Vertical Assembly Building when a Bell Housing off an electrical crane motor was dropped from the top of the VAB to the floor. It might interest you to know the Bell Housing shown falling in this segment was made from styrofoam in the Bendix Machine Shop and your GGF is the last person speaking in this 1st segment.

The 2nd segment is about a near accident when some pneumatic hoses were improperly connected in one of the hold down arms on the Saturn V Launch Pad.

The 3rd segment is the flex hose scene that your GGF dreamed up, wrote the script for and helped direct.

This segment was filmed in the area where your GGF's office and the Mobile Gas Equipment's parking lot was located. All the trucks and equipment shown in this scene was the responsibility of your great grand father all through the Apollo Moon Program from 1965 to 1976 and If you will read your GGF's KSC Memoirs you will find he could drive and operate all of it.

Two of my mechanics, Al Nieto and Tommy Thompson acted out the parts in the flex hose scene.

When you see the Mechanic, Al Nieto get hit with the hose it is your GGF off camera and down on his knees swinging the hose at Al. We had to film this scene 5 or 6 times to achive what the producer wanted and Al kind of grew tired of me hitting him with the hose.

Your GGF is also one of the guys speaking in this segment and talking about the pressure we worked under.

It was 41 years after the film was made that your GGF decided to see if he could obtain a copy of the film from KSC so he could use it in conjunction with the memoirs and compact disk he put together specifically with you boys in mind and you will find mention of this film in my KSC Memoirs.

The movie was originally on 16 MM Film and after a second effort by the KSC historical office it was located and converted to a digital format as requested by your great grand father in October of 2010.

After 41 years, the film is a little grainy and not as bright as it once was but, let's consider ourselves very fortunate to now have it.

By the time you are grown men I won't be around to harass you but, hopefully the Memoirs and other stories I'm leaving will be influence enough to see that you stand tall and have the same sense of a strong work ethic, morality and principles that your great grandfather had as well as did your great grandmother Jacqueline who spent 27 years in a responsible position at KSC scheduling many of the operations.

In 2003 while watching a TV documentary as America celebrated the 100 anniversary of the first flight of an airplane, I had thoughts of how it must have been to hold on to the wings as Wilbur Wright did when man 1st took flight. My second thought was "My God" I sort of did that when man took off for the moon the first time.

So, when the four of you are old men in your sixties in the year 2069 and America is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first moon landing, you may recall that both of your great grandparents sort of held on to the wings of all the Saturn Vs as they took flight from Kennedy Space Center and headed out for the moon and mans first conquest of space.

One final note, at the end of the film Dr. Debus says all 3 of the accidents actually did happen. That is true of the first 2 incidents but, not the 3rd as the Mobile Gas Crew never did blow a hose up or make an error on which hose to use. One reason, your GGF simply got rid of all the lower pressure hoses and only allowed 6,000 and 10,000 PSI hoses in his area.

The Main Movie runs about 25 minutes and your Great Grandfather's Crew is in the last segment of the movie.

I therefore put together an edited version of just the Mobile Gas Operations that your GGF was involved with and it only runs about 5 minutes.

The Full 25 Minute Movie is:..   HERE
The Mobile Gas 5 Minute Segment is:..   HERE
 
July 24, 2010  -  Titusville, Florida
 
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