James A. Michener's Space (1985)

Run Time - 780 min.  |  
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This mammoth five-part, 13-hour CBS miniseries was based on the best-selling novel by James A. Michener. Covering the U.S.-Soviet "space race" from the end of WWII to the landing on the moon, the program stars James Garner as Norman Grant, a former war hero turned senator who tirelessly promotes the American space program despite almost insurmountable opposition. Other principal players include John Pope (Harry Hamlin), who matriculates from shavetail West Pointer to pioneering astronaut in the company of fellow space-traveler Randy Claggett (Beau Bridges); Leopold Strabismus (David Dukes), a hedonistic wheeler-dealer who hopes to capitalize on the 1947 UFO scare; German rocket scientist Dieter Kolff (Michael York), whose ideals (or lack thereof) are put to the test when he shifts his allegiance from the Nazis to the Americans; and Stanley Mott (Bruce Dern), an aeronautical engineer whose secret assignment is to make certain that men like Kolff aren't snatched up by the Soviets after the fall of Germany. The winner of three Emmy awards, James A. Michener's Space originally aired from April 14 through 18, 1985; in subsequent showings, the miniseries was cut from 13 to nine hours.