September 1, 1902. The first science fiction film, ‘Le Voyage dans la lune’ (A Trip to the Moon), is released. The silent film by Georges Méliès is a humorous movie based on the novels ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ by Jules Verne and ‘The First Men in the Moon’ by H.G. Wells. The story begins in an observatory, where a group of astronomers plan to fly to the moon. After much argument, six astronomers volunteer to take part. They build a spacecraft in the shape of a giant bullet as well as a cannon to launch the vessel into space. The space capsule and its passengers are taken aboard a ship, where the crew prepares the giant gun. As the missile is propelled into the sky, the Man on the Moon stares at the incoming object. The rocket lands in the eye of the Moon and the explorers land on the surface. The crew are captured by a race of aliens living on the Moon before eventually escaping to Earth. ‘A Trip to the Moon’ is one of the first films to make use of innovative special effects, and as such, is considered an iconic masterpiece. The scene of the rocket embedding itself into the Moon’s eye is one of the most recognisable and historically significant moments in cinema history.
Also on September 1: Future spouse of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn becomes Marquess of Pembroke (1532); France’s King Louis XIV, Europe’s longest-serving monarch, dies after 72 years on the throne (1715); the most powerful solar storm in history is observed by Richard Christopher Carrington (1859); Muammar al-Gaddafi comes to power in Libya (1969); Terry Fox completes his Marathon of Hope (1980); Beslan school hostage crisis(2006).
Born on September 1: Johann Pachelbel (1653), Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875), Rocky Marciano (1923), Seiji Ozawa (1935), Ruud Gullit (1962), Ram Kapoor (1973).
Back in the Day: the dawn of science fiction