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January 18, 2023 47 mins

We love historical “Firsts” so much that we end up ignoring the people who come right after them. But without these runners-up, the trailblazers are just one-offs or oddities––instead of the beginning of big change. Mo celebrates the Black baseball great who joined the major leagues just eleven weeks after Jackie Robinson, the second American woman in space, and the British invasion band that for a time played second fiddle only to The Beatles. With guests sportscaster Otis Livingston, Michael Oldak and Rhino Records co-founder Harold Bronson.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:02):
Pretty much, any obituary with the word first in its
headline is going to get a lot of cliques. Of
course it is the human drama is baked right in.
Someone doing something unprecedented captivates us. We can only imagine
the courage, the fortitude not to mention the talent of

Jackie Robinson, the first black player in Major League baseball.
But what about the black player who joined the major
leagues just eleven weeks after Robinson. He had the weight
of an entire raith on his shoulders along with Jackie Robinson.
Sally Ride's place in history is secure. She was the

first American woman in space, But what about the woman
who went into orbit only a year later? She approached
becoming an astronaut like she did everything, She knew what
she wanted and went for the same woman who lost
her life on one of the darkest days in Nassa's history.
You saw it forty five seconds after liftoff, a huge

fireball in the sky. And what about the British band
here they are again? Whatever life who landed on American
shores only a month after the Beatles and dated day.
We love firsts so much that we end up ignoring

the achievements and people that come after, even right after.
But those people are essential. Without someone coming in second
and third and fourth, the first person is more of
an oddity, a one off, instead of the beginning of
big social change. So today we salute three of histories.

Silver medallists from CBS Sunday Morning and I Heart I'm
Morocca and this is mobituarymes this moment. Second place finishers
Larry Dobie, Judith Resnick, and the Dave Clark Five. I

love a good musical rivalry Andy Williams versus Perry Como,
Metallica versus Mega Death. Does anyone else remember that period
in the early eighties when it was Madonna versus Cindi
lauper Well for a good stretch of nineteen sixty four,
you were either a Beatles person or a Dave Clark
five person. I know you thought I was going to

mention the Stones, But in nineteen sixty four there were
magazine covers pitting the Beatles against the Dave Clark Five.
On one of them, there's a picture of bandleader Dave
Clark captioned I'll duel with Ringo. And only one month
after the Fab Four's legendary first appearance on The Ed
Sullivan Show. Here for all of you youngsters, England's Dave

Park five, Lad all Over The Dave Clark Five made
their first appearance on the program. The Dave Clark Five
had good reason to be feeling glad all over. Their
hit of the same name had knocked the Beatles I
want to hold your hand out of the top spot
on the UK charts. Throughout the sixties, they would land

fifteen consecutive top twenty US hit singles and sell one
hundred million records. You want a pounding rocker of a record,
a rip it up song that will rattle your world
in the bedroom you share with your dad and your brother.
Tom Hanks grew up listening to the group and could

barely contain himself during their induction into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame. You want to hear a song
that will make you feel glad all Over by the
Dave Clark Five. After the d C five's breakthrough with
Glad all Over saw them score top five hits with
Bits and Pieces and Can't You See That She's Mine?

And because the following year they went to number one
with Over and Over, I said over and over and
over again, The Dead Clock five made a joyful sound.
Over and over and over again. The Dead Clark five

made a joyful found. But unlike the Beatles, who were
determined from their earliest days in Liverpool to make it
as artists, the Dave Clark five started playing music to
support their soccer habit. They had a soccer team and
they wanted to play in a tournament in Holland, but

they didn't have the money for the passage. This is
Harold Bronson, co founder of Rhino Records. He wrote a
book about the British invasion. So they formed a band
to make money so that they could actually be able
to go to Holland, which they whish they did. Their
aspiration was to go to Holland and play soccer, and

being a band was the way they were going to
pay for it was basically their survival job, right, So
it was kind of an accident, you know that they
evolved into this really good dance band. Who are you
know making money? Mike Smith played keyboards and sang lead.
His voice was raw, commanding and he helped write many
of the group's songs. Lenny Davidson played guitar. Rick Huxley

was on base and Dennis Peyton the saxophone, a wild
card that helped give the Dave Clark five a unique sound.
But what really set the band apart was its drummer,
Dave Clark, himself a former stunt man. He wasn't just

the band's leader, a rarity for a drummer, he also
managed the band with a crystal clear vision of how
it should sound and look. More than anything, he was
a showman. The Dave Clark Five probably had the best
presentation of any of the British Invasion groups when they

came to America because Dave was thinking more theatrical. They
looked great. I mean, these guys were snappy dressers, matching suits,
white turtlenecks, pocket squares. They're perfectly clean cut hair, perfectly quaff.
I call it Fisher Price hair, like each head of
hair could snap right on and off. Well, it's time

to go on in a few seconds, so Mike and
Rick attend to their head. Nothing fantastic, take no hint
of Mercy's side, but just the way their fans expect
to see him on stage. They were all smiles, bobbing
their heads side to side in unison in sync with
their leader's drumbeat. Dave was also a producer on the
group's records, A very hands on producer the drums, for example,

he made sure they were always mixed loud and Dave
exhibited a business savvy that's rare among new artists. He
had paid for studio recordings himself using money from his
stunt work, so he figured he could ask for more

than the standard royalty rate, and when he went into negotiation,
he figured, okay, I'll ask for three times as much,
and the record company basically said okay. Even more audaciously,
he asked that the rights to the group's songs be
returned to him after ten years, which again they said okay,
because they weren't paying for it. In rock and roll

wasn't thought to have any longevity. That's right. The company
didn't see a future for rock and roll, but Dave Clark,
the stuntman slash soccer enthusiast slash high school dropout, did. Now,
that's smarts. Once the band topped the charts in the UK,
it was inevitable that America's most important taste maker would

come calling. Hell here he is ed Sullivan's Variety Show
had ruled Sunday nights for decades, and once the Beatles appeared,
Sullivan's show became the gateway, kind of the Ellis Island
for British bands who wanted to make it in America.

All the more remarkable then that when Ed Sullivan first
invited the Baby Clark Vive on Dave actually said no.
In today's terms, that's like having a store on Etsy
and turning down Oprah when she calls to tell you
you're one of her favorite things. But Harold Bronson says
Clark had played for Americans on air basis in the UK,

and well, apparently they were just too American for him.
He did not have a good impression of Americans and
didn't want to like put himself in that kind of rowdy,
uncrewth element. But when it's Sullivan up the anti to
ten thousand dollars, well, you know that was a lot
of money and that made all the difference. After Ed

Sullivan introduced the Dave Clark Five to America, they finally
quit their day jobs. They ended up going on his
show twelve times. In November four, the group played Anaheim,
and The l A Times described the event as a
riot without violence. The headline Britain's find it Hard to
Sing to three thousand screaming teenagers. It was Beatlemania level frenzy.

In fact, just one year after the Beatles charmed audiences
with their movie A Hard Day's Night, the Dave Clark
Five start in their own film called Catch Us If
You Can. The movie marked the debut of British director
John Boorman went on to make Deliverance and Hope and Glory.

But even before the film came out, Borman told the
press it was a dud. The Dave Clark Five, mainly
Dave himself, just couldn't match the Beatles charisma. Dave may
have been cruising around in a Jaguar in the movie,
but the band's joy ride was beginning to sputter. By

the latter half of the sixties, the Beatles were experimenting
with new sounds and psychedelic drugs. They went to India
and studied transcendental meditation. They released groundbreaking albums like Sergeant
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Critics began praising their music
as art. Meanwhile, the Dave Clark Five were relying more

and more on covers for the record I happen to
Love their take on put a Little Love in Your Hearts.
In seventy the Dave Clark Five called it quits, the

same year that the Beatles broke up. Today, more than
half a century later, there really is no competition. Culturally.
The Beatles are still playing the main stage that Dave
Clark five for a time, we're all but forgotten. That
was thanks to a very bad business decision by Dave
himself to sit on those rights that reverted to him

for decades. He simply refused to re release any of
the group's music. He thought wrongly that that would make
the songs more valuable. But none of that changes the
fact that the Dave Clark Five put out a lot
of great records, records that made a deep impact in
this country. I want to go back to those early

months of nine sixty four when the Beatles in February
and the Dave Clark Five in March first came to America.
They were coming to a country at its lowest low,
still traumatized from what had happened just a few months
before the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In his

speech inducting the d C five into the Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame Tom Hanks remembered how it felt
in November of nineteen sixty A terrible storm pounded your classroom,
and your town and your country, and for weeks and
for months, for the longest time, your heart and your
world have been wrapped in black, and the head of

every single person you look up to is still bowed
in mourning. It was the bleakest winter of your discontent.
But then morning became morning, as the sun rose in
the east coming out of England. For many Americans, the

British invasion was more of an intervention, jolting this country
from its sad stupor. Music is a kind of therapy,
scream therapy. The result was more than just audiences filled
with screaming teenagers and schoolyard arguments over who was better
this quintet or that quartet from the northern part of

the Queen's I'll know the true product was joy. The
Dave Clark five may have been second to the Beatles,
and only for a short time at that, but both
groups delivered joy when people really needed it. I'll let
Tom Hanks, channeling his eight year old self, close out
this set. Music reaches the soul. The Dave Clark five

lifted outs with a concussive beat that commanded you to
lean over from the back seat the moment you heard
the rumbling percussion of the Dave Clark five on the
radio and commanded you to yell your dad, turn it out,
turn it out. That this is my favorite song. And
this song, this song is going to take our confusion
and our sadness, our loss and our despair. It's going

to take all the bleak days we've been through and
all the heaviness of our hearts. This three minute record
is taking our joylessness and smashing it to pieces, two
bits and pieces. So turn out the radio, dad. Now.

If you heard our season one episode on Forgotten Forerunners,
you may remember the story of Moses fleetwood Walker, the
black baseball player who in four joined the lineup of
the otherwise white Toledo Bluestockings. He taking the field outraged
enough white players that a color line was soon drawn

through America's pastime. For the next six decades, there was
an apartheid in American baseball. Black players had to form
their own teams and eventually their own leagues, the Negro Leagues.
Then Jackie Robinson moved from the Negro Leagues to a
Brooklyn Dodgers farm team, and then in was called up

to become the first black player in Major League baseball,
a milestone that was much bigger than baseball. There at
the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, we make the bold as
searching that Jackie Robinson's breaking up the color barrier wasn't
just a part of the civil rights movement, it was
the beginning of the civil rights movement. That's Bob Kendrick,

the president of the Negro League's Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.
This is this is well before round versus the Board
of Education, right, this is before Rosa Parks refusal to
move to the back of the bus. Dr Martin Luther
King Jr. Was merely a sophomore at Morehouse College. In essence,

this is what started the ball of social progress rotling
in our country. Baseball and our country literally jumped on
the coattail of baseball. Kendrick was speaking to CBS for
a documentary not about Jackie Robinson, but about the second
black player in the Major leagues. This is the CBS
New York special presentation. Larry Dobee second to none. My

colleague sports anchor Otis Livingston hosted that documentary. Otis felt
it was high time that Larry Dobe got his due
because he has his own place. Jackie, of course is
number one, first guy in but just eleven weeks later
he was brought into this whole situation. DOBIE's journey as

the second black player in the LB was uniquely challenging.
Is it fair to say that he suffered the same
indignities as Jackie Robinson but he didn't get the same accolades. Oh,
that's fair to say, It's really fair. Larry Adobe was
born in in Camden, South Carolina. When he was fourteen,

he moved to Patterson, New Jersey, the place he would
call home. Adobie had played baseball when he was in
South Carolina, but in New Jersey he became a star,
and not just in baseball. He played on East Side
High School's championship winning football team. He broke a conference
record in track and field. In fact, while he was

good at baseball, he'd later tell the Louis B. Nunn
Center for Oral History that the sport was almost like
an afterthought. Well, I never thought that much about baseball.
Even when I was in high school, I played baseball
because there's nothing else to do. Baseball may not have
been his passion back then, but he made the All
state team two years in a oh His high school

gave him a gold watch, naming him the greatest east
Side high school athlete of all time, so he was
used to a relatively supportive atmosphere. Now when Dobie was
coming up, there was no explicit rule barring black players
from the major leagues, but there was a tacit understanding
among team owners. You just didn't sign black players. So

Dobe joined the Negro Leagues in two while he was
still in high school, and began playing for the Newark
Eagles as second baseman. He played under the name Larry
Walker since high school students weren't technically allowed to play.
It was his first professional contract. His rising star was
briefly interrupted by World War Two, when Dobie was drafted

into the Navy. He wrote a train to Chicago for
basic training along with some of his former high school teammates,
but unlike his high school, the Navy was segregated. There's
budget is that that had played football, met and baseball
men in high school you're in the same train. When
we got to Chicago, was in we were separated. I

went to so called Camp Robert Smallis was a black camp,
and they went to the white camp. In the Navy,
there was an all white baseball team called the Blue Jackets,
but Doobe and other black players could only play for
the black Blue Jackets. Jobe later said that it was
the first time he was fully conscious of segregation, and

it's stunned. After all, he was drafted into the Navy
to fight for the country. You became a little bit
frustrated because you didn't know what was going on, and
you the same kids as you played with in high school.
All of a sudden, you know you're not you're not together.
But by the time Doobe left the Navy and rejoined
the Newark Eagles, change was in the wind. Jackie Robinson

had just joined the farm team for the National League
Brooklyn Dodgers, the first step in the breaking of the
color barrier, and some other owners were looking to integrate
their teams. One of them was Bill vec the owner
of the American League Cleveland Indians. Bill Veck would later
be lauded for his early role in bringing black players

into the majors. He would also end up hiring the
American league's first black public relations officer, trainer, and scout.
As Jackie Robinson took the field in Brooklyn, Veck told
his scouts to look for the Negro League's player with
the best long term potential, and DOBIE's name kept floating

to the top, and so Beck made a deal with
the Newark Eagles to bring Toby to Cleveland. But he
went about it in a much different way than the
Brooklyn Dodgers went about bringing Jackie Robinson on. Yeah, because
they they brought him through the minor league system and uh,
you know, gave him a little bit of an adjustment period.
This was more abrupt. In other words, Robinson's introduct to

the Major's had been carefully orchestrated. Larrydobes was not. On July,
Adobe played what would be his last game with the
Negro Leagues, and then he was whisked away on a
train bow for Chicago to meet his Cleveland Indian teammates
to play against the Chicago White Sox the next day.

Because I was leaving a bunch of guys that I
played with for a long time, so I felt a
little a little funny about that, But no, those thoughts
came into my head about the major leagues. I just
I thought more about what I'm leaving. Adobe was newly married.
He and his wife, Helen had been looking forward to
buying a house in New Jersey Whendobe suddenly found himself

on that train headed to the Midwest. Larrydobe was also young.
Jackie Robinson was twenty eight when he joined the Dodgers,
so he was seasoned. He could probably handle a little
bit different. Adobe's twenty three years old. And let's talk
about that, because that's an important distinction, and those are
two very different ages. Yes, definitely. I mean you're a

pup twenty three. You know, you're experiencing this stuff for
the first time. Joining the Cleveland Indians would make Adobe
the first black player in the American League. Not that
his teammates rolled out the red carpet. What kind of
a reception did he get in Chicago on July five
when he shows up there? Okay, so I'm will receptive.

Some wouldn't shake his hands, some turned their backs. You know,
there was just a lidney of responses when the team
took to the field to warm up. No one would
even play catch with Adobe except for second baseman and
former American League m v P Joe Gordon. Gordon said, Adobe, Hey, rookie,
you're gonna just stand there? Or do you want to

throw a little? Adobe later said it was a moment
he would never forget. You have to have allies when
you're doing something like this, when you've taken on an
endeavor like this, which was difficult for him on and
off the field, you have to have somebody in your
corner that's gonna accept you and and and make it
okay or make it tolerable. Joe Gordon side. Adobe's first

major league season was rough. He struck out more than
twice as often as he had playing for the New
York Eagles. If you asked me as to why I
wasn't a consistent ballplayer, I couldn't give me an answer. Now,
he kid had to be something subconsciously that I had
no control over that. Nothing but his early performance probably
had something to do with the almost inconceivable pressure he

and Jackie Robinson were under. Here's Bob Kendrick from the
Negro Leagues Museum. Again, Jackie Robinson, Larry Adobe. They were
carrying twenty one million black folks on their back. So
if they failed, an entire race of people fail. Can

you imagine carrying that weight in a sport that is
predicated on failure? Baseball is a game or failure is crooks.
In other words, in a game where striking out is
the norm, black players couldn't really afford to strike out
even under the best of circumstances. You're under extraordinary psychic strain.

So add to that, some people would come to the
games for the express purpose of jeering him, of insulting him.
Oh yeah, it was a microcosm of the world itself
or our country itself. I mean that that's what it
was like at that time. And Otis Livingston says, It's
not like things were any easier off the field. Couldn't

stay in the same hotels with his teammates, couldn't needed
the same restaurants. His family was not there to even
lean on. DOBIE's second season with the Indians got off
to an equally rocky start. He worried that if he
didn't turn things around, he'd be demoted and sent to
play in the minor leagues. But in he hit his

stride and by the end of the season, he brought
his batting average up to three oh one, one of
the best on the team, and later that year, Dobie
set another milestone. He and his teammates Satchel Paige, who
had joined the Indians from the Negro Leagues that July,
became the first black players to make it to the
World Series. Game four of that series between Cleveland and

the Boston Braves would be one of the most important
of his life, and the third inning, with two outs,
Adobe stepped up to the plate. First pitch strike, but
on the second Pitchdobe hit the ball hard. Indiandobe rockets
stays high, fast pitch for the kipt to mars Abi

more than four feet into the right seal cloud. DOBIE's
round trip is the first home run of the series.
Larry Adobe became the first black player to hit a
home run in a World Series, a game winning home run,
But what happened afterward between Doobe and Cleveland pitcher Steve
Gromick made be even more significant. After the game, they

rush into the clubhouse jubilant, happy, and a photographer from
the Associated Press captures the image of Gromic Adobe hugging
each other with big smiles on their face. It's a
completely wonderful photograph. If you haven't seen it, I urge
you to google it. The smiles on their faces, the

sheer joy. They're like two little boys who just couldn't
be happier to be playing with each other. Their cheek
to cheek, but also their arms just there. They're they're intertwine, right,
is almost symbolic of becoming one against all odds, not
just the baseball odge, but against this segregation. The photo

ran in newspapers across the country. Americans everywhere saw a
black man and a white man embrace in celebration. It
became a symbol of this great experiment of getting along,
playing together, accomplishing something, and just loving each other for
his special Otis asked Adobe's son, Larry Adobe Jr. About

the picture. When I see it, I just see two
people who are extremely happy they won, and they don't
care about what color skin each one is. It's just
like they love each other for winning. One guy picks great,
one guy hit great, and they're just overjoyed. Probably my
father's happiest moment in baseball. The love continued as the

team went on to win the World Series and the
nine team forty eight World Series is all over. The
Cleveland Indians take the series four games to two. After
the final out of the final game, the players ran
onto the infield. You could see it in the video.
Adobe's number four team gets lost in the celebrating swarm.

Every amount on the team share his credit for the
clown the weird and about it too was. Years later,
he would admit that he really didn't think of it
as a big deal. Bill Veck kept telling him, you're
gonna make history. You're making history, You're doing this, and
he didn't really grasp it at the time, you know,
as he was going through it. Whendobe and Cleveland won

that World Series, there were just five black players in
the majors, less than one percent of the league by
the time Doobe retired from baseball. In nine of major
league players or black. Three years after the World Series win,
the people of Patterson, New Jersey, helped pay off the

rest of their hometown heroes mortgage Jobie burned the mortgage
paperwork before a game against the New York Yankees. Either way.
Years after he retired as a player, Larry Adobe went
on to become the manager of the Chicago White Sox,
the second black manager in May Your League Baseball. Larry

Adobe was seventy nine when he died on June two
thousand three, but he lived to see his number retired
by Cleveland in four and in in Cooperstown, New York,
he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
It's a very tough thing to look back and think

about things that we're probably negative, because you put those
things on the back burning you're proud and happy that
you've been in part of integrating baseball to show people
that we can live together, we can work together, we
can play together, and we can be successful together. And

I'm very happy and proud that I've been a part
of this baseball and I'm still a part of it. Occasionally,
during their earliest days in major leagues, Jackie Robinson and
Larry Dobie would talk over the phone at night after games,
sharing their experiences. It makes sense these were two men who,

for a time were the only ones who really understood
what the other one was going through in a league
all by themselves, both of them history makers. Jackie Robinson's
breaking of Major League baseball's calib area carried the same
level of euphoria that we saw as a nation when

Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. So for black folks,
Jackie Robinson was our Neil Armstrong. He was the proverbial
first man to walk on the moon. Well, Larry Dobee
is our buzz all. Speaking of astronauts, coming up the
story of the second American woman in space, May I ask,

is Dr Judy Resnick nearby? Mr? President Judy? How is
it your first flight? How's it going? Is it all
that you hoped it would be? I couldn't have picked
a better crew to be flying with. That's President Ronald
Reagan calling the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery on
September one, and chatting with Judith Resnick, who a few

days earlier had become the second American woman to go
into space. Not that Judy, that's what everyone called her.
Cared much about the distinction of being first or second.
It's a profession for me, and the excitement is there
every day. As she once told her father, she just
wanted to be known as an astronaut period. In fact,

she was a lot more than that. Funny, good looking,
and very sociable. She had just incredible talents in academics.
She'd sit in class, she would just get it, get
it all and understand it. This is a woman who
is brilliant in music. She just loved piano and she
was an incredible pianist. And in the kitchen, the three

lessons she taught me about cooking where you know number
one double the garlic, two half the salt. Uh, and
then stir with your right hand while you drink with
your left. That's Mike old Dack. He met Judy in
college at Carnegie Tech today known as Carnegie Mellon. The
two would later marry. My roommate introduced us and and

that was it. And was there an incident chemistry? Uh yeah,
pretty much get progress pretty quickly. We just sort of
settled in together. Judy had grown up in Acron, Ohio,
the daughter of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. She was close with
her father, but had a complicated relationship with her mother.

Life at home wasn't always easy. Her parents would divorce
when she was a teen, but that didn't seem to
hold her back. She showed so much promise as a
musician she considered becoming a concert pianist. She was a
star student, getting a perfect score on her s A
T S and graduating as valedictorian of her class. She
had the quote brain of a scientist and the soul

of a poet, her father, Marvin Resnick, would later say.
At Carnegie, Judy started off as a math major, but
after attending some of Mike's classes, she switched to electrical engineering,
becoming one of only three women in that field at
the university. Do you think she was intimidated by being
one of just three women in the program. I don't

think she was intimidated. She just took it in stride.
Her abilities just paved the way. After graduation in Judy
and Mike tied the knot and both took jobs in
the Missile and Surface Radar division of our CI. A sidebar.
I can't be the only one who hears our CIA

and insidantally thinks of a little dog listening to an
old timey phonograph. Great logo, right well. Our CIER was
also a major defense contractor building advanced weapons systems. I
will admit Judy was paid more than me. It was
back in seventy We both came on as design engineers,
and she got more money than I did, and she

graduated a lot higher than I did. Mike ended up
switching careers to law, while Judy stayed in engineering while
also going to school, eventually getting her PhD. She developed
a few things that our cier patented. This was in
large scale integration for computers. She was so competent that
it didn't seem like an effort for her. It was

a busy and exciting time. But in Judy and Mike
made the difficult decision to end their marriage. Why didn't
the marriage work. I've heard it described as a failed marriage,
and I reject that. I think it's more of Judy
and I decided that we really wanted different things out

of our future. I wanted a family, and at that
point she had changed her mind and decides she did
not want a family. You know, I always believe that
not all people in love should be married. And we
sort of let each other go and do our own things.
We stayed very close. Judy headed west to California and
a new adventure. In nine seventy six, NASA announced that

it was quote committed to an affirmative action program with
a goal of having qualified minorities and women among the
newly selected astronaut candidates for its brand new space Shuttle program.
The celebrity who became a spokesperson for this campaign, I'm
thinking to the whole family of human kind, of minorities

and women alive. If you qualify and would like to
be an astronaut, now is the time. The late great
Nachelle Nichols, this is your NASA, a space agency embarked
on a mission to improve the quality of life on
planet Earth right now, who had famously played Lieutenant Ukura

on Star Trek Transmission to start complete, Nichols used her
star power, so to speak, traveling around the country to
recruit a next generation of astronauts. Among those who answered
NASA's recruitment call, Judith Resnick, when you're when you're a
old girl growing up an acron ohio astronauts someday. No.

I really didn't think about it until when NASA announced
that they were looking for astronauts who would be uh
engineers and scientists on Spacehell. And then I just took
a chance and applies. Making it her goal to be
the best candidate she could be. Judy got her pilot's
license and underwent intense training to get into physical shape.
It worked by she was in. This is Judy Resnick,

age twenty nine. She has a doctorate and electrical engineering
and is one of America's first woman astronauts. She in
thirty four other new astronauts began their training today at
the Johnson Space Center. In her astronaut class, Judy was
one of six women, including Sally Ride. Judy threw herself
into the rigorous, years long Shuttle training, but also knew

when to have a little fun. She went by the
nickname j R. Not clear if it had anything to
do with the TV show Dallas, a huge hit at
the time. A fellow astronaut would remember Judy as a
live wire and a star attraction during trips and happy hour.
If Judy had any desire to become the first American
woman in space, she didn't say so out loud. What

kind of mission do you want to fly? Do you know?
I'd like to fly any mission? Actually, um, the intent
of a mission specialist is to train us to be generalist,
since to learn a little bit about every field, and
that I would be glad to flying anything that they
let me fly. And when the time came for crew
assignments in ninety three, it turned out, Judy would have

to wait some u s space history is to be
made up there on launch pad thirty nine A well,
the first time an American woman will be launched into space.
Her name is Sally Ride. Quick history lesson here. While
Sally Ride was the first American woman in space, she
was not the first woman in space. That honor went

to Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who had soared into the
record books back in nineteen sixty three, twenty years before Ride,
and as the first ever space girl, Valentina teres Cova
is one of place in history. What a triumph for
Russian science. Now, Sally Ride's ride was still a very
big deal, and just one year later it was Judy's turn.

She was a mission specialist on the base Shuttle Discovery
that existent and we have lipped off, lipped off and
missing ploty. One day the first flight of the Abit
of Discovery and the Shuttle has cleared the power. As
the Shuttle went into orbit, Judy radioed back to mission
control that Earth looks great. She had serious work to do,

but in photos and videos from the mission she looks
like she's having the time of her life. She holds
up a sign that reads hi Dad. In the background
you can see an I heart Tom Selleck sticker slapped
onto her locker. This was in his magnum p I Heyday.
At one point she dawns Aviator sunglasses. Now, Judy had

become the second American woman to go into space, but
she was also the first Jewish astronaut to go into space.
It's another distinction she wasn't vocal about. But her former
husband Mike Oldack says, there's more to the story. I
think that's misconstrue that she had given up her Judyism,
and I think anything but Judy did not want to

be known as the first Jewish astronaut. As she said
directly to me, I'm an astronaut who happens to be
a woman who happens to be Jewish, who happens to
have brown hair. She was very firm in saying that's
who I am. She didn't want the other labels Jewish woman,
brown hair. Well. The only issue I have with that,

if I may, is that she had amazing hair. Yes,
she really did. Yes, Yeah, that was the first real
hair in space. I think most of those other astronauts
were former air Force pilots and had buzz cuts. Discoveries

mission went off without a hitch. Of course, the first
landing to Discovery Actor, a maiden flight that's been termed
a major success. If flying into outer space made Judy nervous,
she didn't sound like it. As she told one writer,
it does not enter any of our minds that it
is dangerous. The world might think it is, we don't.

I think something is dangerous only if you're not prepared
for it, or you don't have control over it. Less
than two years after Judy's voyage on Discovery came her
next mission, aboard the Challenger and lift off. Lift off
the twenty five Space Shuttle mission. And it is clears
the tower. Where did you watch the launch from? I

actually was at my office and uh, we didn't really
have too many TVs there. And I got a call
from my mother, uh in tears, telling me that the
shovel blown up. On the morning of January, the Space

Shuttle Challenger exploded seventy three seconds after liftoff, killing all
seven crew members a board, including civilian astronaut and teacher
Kristi McAuliffe and Judith Resnick By controllers here looking very
carefully in the situation obviously a major malfunction. It happened

to be my seventeenth birthday. I was a junior in
high school, and I can still see the student who
ran into the cafeteria at lunch and told us I
just remember. I couldn't believe it. The crew of the
Space Shuttle Challenger honored us with the manner in which
they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor

the last time we saw them this morning, as they
prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the
surly bonds of Earth to touch the face of God.
An investigation would later determine that unexpectedly cold temperatures had
impacted the O ring seals in one of the rocket boosters,

causing an explosion. I think a lot of us have
forgotten that space travel could be dangerous. The Shuttle was
just so sleek on TV. It looked almost like a
high tech toy. It didn't seem risky at all, but
of course it was. In the years after the explosion,
the US government and Morton Thaia call, the manufacturer of

the rocket boosters, would attempt to settle with the families
of the Challenger crew. The initial offers were calculated with
the formula factoring in whether a crew member was survived
by a spouse and her children. Judy's former husband, Mike Oldak,
by then a practicing attorney, didn't think this was fair
and took legal action on behalf of the Resident family.

Each spouse would get X, each child would get Why, Oh,
Judy is not married and didn't have many kids. Too bad,
We'll give her, you know, just a small amount. And
I said no. Finally, after about a year and a half,
settled with Martin Ya Cale for exactly what Judie's father

and brother wanted. What was motivating you when I decided
that engineering made a better hobby than a profession. Uh,
And I became a full time law student, and so
she was a big breadwinner in her family. Judy put
me in law school. I felt I owed her family
and I wanted to do it. How will you remember Judy?

If there's one image that pops into your mind when
you think of her, what is it? Probably just smiling?
I mean, she was a very happy person and smiled
a lot. And uh, I knew what she wanted. Judith
Resident wasn't the first woman in space She's probably not
the first name that comes to mind when you think

about the crew of the Challenger. She probably would be
fine with that number one, number two. They were just
numbers to her. She wanted to do something significant, not
necessarily be someone significant. Judy was an astronaut. She was
also an exceptional human being who deserved all the recognition

she never quite received. I certainly hope you enjoyed this mobituary.
May I ask you to please rate and review our podcast.
You can also follow Mobituaries on Facebook and Instagram, and

you can follow me on Twitter at Morocca. Here. All
new episodes of Mobituaries every Wednesday wherever you get your podcasts,
and check out Mobituaries. Great Lives Worth Reliving, the New
York Times best selling book, now available in paperback and audiobook.
It includes plenty of stories not in the podcast. This

episode of Mobituaries was produced by Jay Harper, Zoe Marcus Morocca,
Aaron Shrank, and will Go Martinez Cacero. It was edited
by Moral Walls and engineered by Josh Hahn, with BacT
checking by Naomi Barr. Our production company is Neonum Media.
Our archival producer is Jamie Benson. Our theme music is

written by Daniel Hart. Indispensable support from Craig Swaggler, Dustin Gervei,
Alan Pang, Reggie Basil, and everyone at CBS News Radio.
Special thanks to Alberto Robina. The inestimable. Aaron Shrank is
our senior producer. Executive producers for Mobituaries include Steve Raises

and me Morocca. The series is created by Yours truly
and as always, undying gratitude to Rand Morrison and John
carp for helping breathe life into Mobituaries
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