written by William Broyles Jr. & Al Reinert, from the book by Jim Lovell & Jeffrey Kluger
Television Reporter: And I asked him recently if he ever was scared.
Jim: Oh, well, I've had an engine flame out a few times in an aircraft...and was kind of curious as to whether it was goin' to light up again--things of that nature--but, uh, they seem to work out.
Television Reporter: Is there a specific instance in an airplane emergency when you can recall fear?
Jim: Uh, well, I tell ya, I remember this one time--I'm in a Banshee at night in combat conditions, so there's no running lights on the carrier. It was the Shangri-La, and we were in the Sea of Japan, and my, my radar had jammed, and my homing signal was gone...because somebody in Japan was actually using the same frequency. And so it was -- it was leading me away from where I was supposed to be. And I'm lookin' down at a big, black ocean, so, I flip on my map light, and then suddenly: zap. Everything shorts out right there in my cockpit. All my instruments are gone. My lights are gone. And I can't even tell now what my altitude is. I know I'm running out of fuel, so I'm thinking about ditching in the ocean. And I, I look down there, and then, in, in the darkness, there's this, uh, there's this green trail. It's like a long carpet that's just laid out right beneath me. And it was the algae, right? It was that phosphorescent stuff that gets churned up in the wake of a big ship. And it was, it was, it was just leading me home. You know? If my cockpit lights hadn't shorted out, there's no way I'd have ever been able to see that. So, uh, you, uh, you never know...what...what events are going to transpire to get you home.
[ please return to the main movie monologue page ]