In this exclusive OZY confession, 81-year-old former Hollywood cameraman Max Canard comes clean about his role in what could be the greatest hoax ever carried out: the Apollo moon landing
I first walked on the moon in the summer of 1965 — four full years ahead of Neil Armstrong. Of course, neither I nor the Apollo boys really set foot on the moon, but I suppose many of you suspected as much already.
I’m not proud of it. Of the deception, that is. As they say, one small lie for man, one giant fraud perpetrated on mankind.
Impossible? Well, you saw Argo, right? You saw the lengths to which the CIA was willing to go in order to rescue a handful of U.S. diplomats. Shooting a fake movie was all we were really doing, too. Except that we weren’t doing it just to save six American lives in Tehran. We wanted to save all 200 million.
Call it a massive fraud; call it a government-run conspiracy — whatever. The Apollo moon landings, in this humble 81-year-old’s opinion, were a public relations coup that accomplished nothing less than winning the Cold War. Period. Not bad for some celluloid and a soundstage — purchased, I might add, at about one-millionth of NASA’s overall Apollo budget.
And speaking of soundstages, no moon landing was ever filmed in a Hollywood studio. That much is true. They were filmed in North London.
How do I know? I was the one holding the camera.
Meeting Stanley Kubrick
As a boy, I enjoyed looking up at the night sky from our Pennsylvania farm as much as the next guy. But the stars I really had my eye on were the ones out in Hollywood. And so as soon as I had my high school degree in hand, I headed out West to pursue my film-star dreams.
Apollo 11 crew during training exercise gpn 2002 000032
Writer Max Canard notes that young and inexperienced cameramen may have been chosen in order to cede control of their instruments to the legendary Stanley Kubrick.
SOURCE PUBLIC DOMAIN
After a few years of waiting tables and playing an extra in crowd scenes, it had become abundantly clear that I had a face that belonged behind the camera. And so that’s where I went next, in 1961. About the time that President Kennedy was saying that America would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, I moved back East, to New York; got married and started working as a cameraman, filming commercials for cereals, mouthwashes and toilet bowl cleaners for Madison Avenue ad agencies. It was every bit as crazy a world as you see in Mad Men, but creatively it was as inspiring as, well, a toilet bowl.
But seeing Dr. Strangelove at the Victoria Theater in the winter of 1964 changed my life. And so when I heard that its director, the already legendary Stanley Kubrick, was looking for a crew for his next big movie, I presumptuously sent in my application. When I was invited to come to Kubrick’s own apartment on the Lower East Side, I couldn’t believe my luck.