Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky!
By David Emery
Netlore Archive: Were astronaut Neil Armstrong's actual first words upon setting foot on the surface of the moon "Good luck, Mr. Gorsky"?
Description: Urban legend
Circulating since: 1995
Status: FALSE (see details below)
Forwarded email contributed by Byzantia, April 15, 1999:
Here is a TRUE anecdote about Neil Armstrong...
When Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" statement but followed it by several remarks, usual communication traffic between him, the other astronauts and Mission Control. Just before he re-entered the lander, however, he made this remark "Good luck Mr. Gorsky."
Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "Good luck Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.
On July 5, 1995 in Tampa Bay FL, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26 year old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had finally died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question.
When he was a kid, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit a fly ball, which landed in the front of his neighbor's bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. & Mrs. Gorsky.
As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs.Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky. "Sex! You want sex?! You'll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"
Analysis: This whopper has been circulating online for years and can be found on any number of blogs and websites accompanied by the claim that it "really happened." But it didn't happen, as can be easily verified by checking the official lunar landing transcript on NASA's Apollo 11 site (audio & video clips included).
Sometimes attributed to stand-up comedian Buddy Hackett, "Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky" clearly came into this world as a joke, becoming an urban legend over time through sheer repetition as a "true story." In spite of the ease with which this revisionist history of the Apollo moon landing and moonwalk is debunked, it's so much fun to read and pass along that it will doubtless be with us for decades to come.
A related urban legend popular among Muslims claims that Armstrong heard a voice say "Allahu akbar" ("God is great") the moment he stepped on the moon and was inspired to convert to Islam. Never happened.
Update: A reader asks: "Are you SURE 'Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky' was a hoax?"
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Last updated: 07/20/13