Today in History: One of History's Great Botched Lines

Today in history, Neal Armstrong botched his lines in front of an audience of a billion people.  The line was supposed to be "One small step for A man, one giant leap for mankind."  Makes a lot more sense that way, but to most ears he dropped the A in front of "man" and ask any school kid to recite it, and they will usually say it without the A.  I'll cut the guy some slack, he did everything else pretty well and he had a few distractions.


  1. Kyle Bennett:

    He still insists he didn't, but he's fooling himself.

    Anyway, I think the line is much better as delivered than as written. It scans better, but without the "a" it really emphasizes the dual meaning of "man" and puts an oomph in it. Modifying "man" with "a" dilutes that.

  2. DrTorch:

    I met Neil Armstrong at Kitt Peak. Really.

  3. morganovich:

    this has always seemed like a hole in the tinfoil hat gang's assertions that the whole thing was faked from a sound stage.

    if they faked it, they could have done another take, no?

  4. Sam L.:

    I always figured it was a comm glitch.

  5. Eric Hammer:

    I must have assumed the same, because I never heard it without the "a", but now that I listen for it, it really isn't there.
    Weird how the brain fills in the gaps like that...

  6. bob sykes:

    Cronkite, who apparently was bored and not listening, gave the scripted line.

    By the way, I predict that the US will never again put a man in space. Hitching rides on Soyuz doesn't count.

  7. el coronado:

    pilots & astronauts being the free spirits they are, i always thought he should have gone for the lighter tone. something along the lines of "ah, crud. I stepped in a turd!"