Sic transit gloria (1959)

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WGBH was to launch a new (live, of course) science show, and was looking for an opening that was a bit more dramatic than a 35mm slide of Madame Curie. It was decided that we would place a globe over a pan of water (you can’t make this stuff up, folks) and insert some “dry ice” into the water to create great spumes of “smoke” that would swirl like clouds around the “earth.”

After hours of intense rehearsal trying to get the right amount of ice into the right amount of water to produce the exact amount of “smoke,” we succeeded.

A moment before air time, the stage manager’s hand spun the orb. We all watched in awe as it became engulfed in “atmospheric matter.” What a shot! What an opening! There were cheers and pats on the back all ’round.

The next day the station got a call from the wizards at MIT informing us that the show was great, but that the globe had been turning in the wrong direction.

Sic transit gloria.

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