Article about the technical advisor:
How a Retired Navy Aviator Became a Hotshot Hollywood Consultant for 'The Right Stuff'
14 Oct 2020
Military.com | By James Barber
The new National Geographic Disney+ series "The Right Stuff" is distinguished by enormous attention to period detail. The clothes, sets, cars, props and equipment effectively evoke the Kennedy-era moment and the producers were determined to get the technical details right as well.
That's why they hired veteran Navy aviator Carl Pascarell as their military advisor on the show, which is currently streaming on Disney+ with new episodes released each Friday.
Carl Pascarell started flying as a teenager and went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on a Navy ROTC scholarship. After earning his degree in aeronautical engineering in 1975, Carl entered the Navy and flew the Vought 7AE Corsair.
He was deployed on the Independence and the Eisenhower. Later he was an Advanced Training Flight Instructor for the Mcdonnell Douglas TA4J Skyhawk. Even though he's younger than the pilots-turned-astronauts portrayed in "The Right Stuff," Carl has a command of aviator culture and the history of flying in the United States Armed Forces.
After his military service, Carl worked as a test pilot at a civilian company called Swearingen Aircraft. He became friends with a guy named Buck Davisson and met his young daughter. That kid grew up to be Jennifer Davisson, who's now partners with Leonardo DiCaprio in Appian Way Productions. That's the same Appian Way that made "The Right Stuff."
Jennifer invited her old family friend to the set in Florida. That may or may not have been a secret audition. Carl spent the day on the set and made comments about the filming as they watched."Towards the end of the day," Carl remembers, "we had a nice little reunion and she asked if I'd be interested in consulting on the show. There were some small points that I was making along the way. 'Well they couldn't really use that word back then. The vernacular was different. He was more likely to say this.'"
It's 2020, so being a military advisor on a big time production looks a bit different than it did last year. Carl says, "I became increasingly involved, not so much on the set, but through Zoom, and in previewing certain sequences developed by the visual effects department. I was available to respond to any questions they had. 'Does this look right? Is this something that would happen? Is this reasonable? Are it the language and the aircraft and the markings all era appropriate?' That was my role."
Like a lot of veterans, Pascarell sometimes has trouble watching military-themed movies and shows.
"Sometimes it's a little frustrating, but I don't ever resort to throwing things at the TV or yelling at it," says Pascarell. "But it is a little concerning that they obviously spent x millions of dollars putting this together and that some consultant didn't say 'No, no, that's not right' and have it fixed. I've seen very few aviation-themed movies that I think are accurate."
Carl is old enough to remember the Mercury 7 program even though his service came a couple of decades later.
"I was seven or eight years old during the Mercury program. I can distinctly remember my dad making up a song about John Glenn's orbiting the Earth three times," remembers Carl. "Very soon after that I read a book by Scott Crossfield called 'Always Another Dawn.' He was a rocket to test pilot and that book lit a fire under me. I think it was the next day I walked up to the airport and bought myself a $5 introductory flight lesson and the rest is history."
Let’s hope they correct the bs in the other film with Gus.
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In the original, I think it was heavily inferred that he screwed up. The book did as well but gave much more information for both sides of the argument. The crap he supposedly took 'up there' with him (little toy Mercury capsules and a roll of dimes) didn't help in building sympathy for his cause.
Also, they never actually show whether he did it (blew the hatch intentionally) or not. They did suggest he was impatient and hot. The treatment of Gus shown in the movie was real, especially for him and his family. Whether all of it was exactly as portrayed or not, they still felt it, I'm certain of that.
I do know that throughout the book, Wolfe builds Gus' character into someone you respect and admire, in spite of the tainted suborbital flight.
Fuckin' A, bubba.
|Official Space Nerd|
This was my first thought.
This is what I despise about the movie and book. Tom Wolfe must have lost a girl to Gus Grissom, based on how much Wolfe seemed to hate him.
Gus Grissom did nothing wrong, and everybody in NASA knew it.
To activate the emergency hatch jettison mechanism, it would require the astronaut to smash the button hard with his hand, leaving a red welt behind. The last Mercury astronaut, Deke Slayton, jettisoned his hatch, and showed the red mark on his hand to prove the point (and to prove Grissom's innocence).
Also, had Grissom really screwed up, he would NOT have been kept on in the country's single most important technical program. He was so involved in developing the Gemini capsule, that it was called "Gus Grissom's Go-Buggy." If he was a screw-up, he would not have been kept around. If he was a screw-up, he would not have been given the command spot for the first Gemini mission. If he were a screw-up, he would not have been slated to command the first Apollo mission.
People in NASA universally stated that had Gus Grissom survived, he would have been the first man to walk in the moon. This would not have been possible had he been a screw-up, as Tom Wolfe has so despicably maintained.
They did the same thing to John Swigert in the movie Apollo 13. Throughout the movie, they treated him like an outsider to the crew (which, to be honest, he was as he replaced Ken Mattingly at the last minute). They called him 'rookie' in a derogatory manner, even though it was ALSO the first flight for Fred Haise. They even had the dialog about Haise catching a VD from using Swigert's urine tube. Finally, they cast doubt on Swigert for stirring the oxygen tanks. Bill Paxton (as Haise) Kevin Bacon (Swigert) had the following argument:
Jack Swigert: OW! *** damn this piece of shit!
Fred Haise: Hey! This piece of shit's gonna get you home. That's cause that's all we got left, Jack!
Jack Swigert: What are you saying, Fred?
Fred Haise: I think you know what I'm saying.
Jack Swigert: Now wait a minute. All I did was stir those tanks.
Fred Haise: What was that gauge reading before you hit the switch?
Jack Swigert: Don't tell me how to fly the damn C.M. --
Fred Haise: You don't even know, do you!?
Jack Swigert: -- they brought me in here to do a job, they asked me to stir the damn tanks and I stirred the tanks!
Jim Lovell: Jack, stop kicking yourself in the ass.
Jack Swigert: This is NOT MY FAULT!
Jim Lovell: No one is saying it is. If I'm in the left-hand seat when the call comes up, I stir the tanks.
Jack Swigert: Yeah, well, tell HIM [Haise] that.
Fred Haise: I just asked you what the gauge was reading. And YOU DON'T KNOW!
Jim Lovell: All right gentlemen, we're not gonna do this. We're not gonna go bouncing off the walls for ten minutes, because we're just gonna end up right back here with the same problems! Try to figure out how to stay alive!
The whole thing about 'what the gauge read' is nonsense. The oxygen tank wiring was defective, and an explosion was absolutely inevitable, but the above drama stirred up the drama and supposedly made for a more 'exciting' story than real life. Jim Lovell stated after the movie that the crew never turned on each other. Of course, Swigert was dead, and was therefore unable to defend himself.
No arsenal is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
Saw this pop up on D+ the other day. Will definitely be checking it out.
The Enemy's gate is down.
I really enjoyed the first 2 episodes last week. Disappointed that the whole season did not drop all at once. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
"You know, Scotland has its own martial arts. Yeah, it's called Fuck You. It's mostly just head butting and then kicking people when they're on the ground." - Charlie MacKenzie (Mike Myers in "So I Married an Axe Murderer")
Seems well done. Only problem so far is the actors look so much alike it is hard to keep track of who they are.
I read the book in high school. My favorite person in the book and movie was Chuck Yeager and I didn't even see him in this new trailer.
Facts don't care about your feelings.
Never read the book but have seen the movie countless times. Have also seen this topic come up here several times. I just don't see the horrible mistreatment treatment and slighting of Gus that others do.
In other breaking news, movies are not real life fact. Shocker.
Sliced bread, the greatest thing since the 1911.
Read the book before seeing the movie. Thought both were great. Shame I'm not much of a fan of Disney; no love in passing good money to those vermin else I'd be more than interested in watching this redo.
|Official Space Nerd|
It's blatant. The movie (and book) flat out accuse Gus of screwing up and losing his capsule, even though this has been conclusively proven to not be the case. I can't see how anybody can see the movie and come away not blaming Gus, unless they actually know the real story.
Well, I would speculate that MOST people cannot tell the difference. If somebody doesn't know history, they would see the crapfest 'pearl harbor' as an accurate representation of the December 7 attack and Doolittle Raid, though the portrayals of both events were absolute garbage to anybody with even a cursory understanding of history.
Same for Apollo 13, Hidden Figures, and any other movie based on real events. Both those movies took significant liberties with the truth. I did not mind with Hidden Figures, though, since the movie was more or less faithful to the spirit of the book, even though they changed a lot of things for the movie (in the movie, Katherine Johnson had to walk a mile or two round trip to use the 'colored' bathroom, and this became a major plot point - in the book, it was revealed she simply ignored the sign and used the 'whites only' bathroom).
I would bet that most Americans only know about the Apollo 13 mission based on the movie, whereas those of us who take space history seriously have actually read real histories of these events (I have read dozens of books on the space program, and it's no exaggeration to say I have forgotten more about real space history than most Americans have ever known).
As for The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe was not an 'historian.' He was essentially a fiction writer, who (at best) wrote the book 'based on a true story.' His book and movie are NOT 'historical' works.
I'm a History major, so that kind of thing matters to me.
No arsenal is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.
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