On the night that MTV launched, the opening sequence for the network featured footage of the Apollo 11 launch, simply because it was public domain and free to use. It was that opening sequence that connected MTVs image with astronauts, including the Video Music Award “moon man” trophy.

Ever Wondered Why The VMA Statue Is A Moonman?

The creator of the iconic trophy speaks to MTV News about the history of the Moonman

The Academy Awards has a slim gold “Oscar” figure. The Emmys has a winged woman hoisting an atom. The Golden Globes has a… well… golden globe. And the MTV Video Music Awards has its Moonman.

Since the inaugural VMA bash in 1984, the Moonman has been one of the most coveted trophies an artist can receive: a symbol of their impact, popularity, and achievements. But where did the whole “man on the moon” concept originate, and what does it mean? To find out, we first need to rewind all the way back to 1981.

On August 1 of that year, MTV launched with footage of a literal launch. The video in question showed the Apollo 11 space shuttle firing off… Continue Reading (5 minute read)

5 thoughts on “On the night that MTV launched, the opening sequence for the network featured footage of the Apollo 11 launch, simply because it was public domain and free to use. It was that opening sequence that connected MTVs image with astronauts, including the Video Music Award “moon man” trophy.”

  1. Army_Pete

    I listened to a podcast interview with Simon Rex, the actor in one of the Scary Movie movies. He worked for MTV in the time when they were transitioning from showing videos to more reality TV. He asked an MTV executive (or someone high up can’t remember who) why they stopped showing music videos and he was told their ratings for reality TV shows were much higher. It wasn’t even close.

  2. shivermetimbers68

    *Video killed the radio star*

  3. TakingCareOfBiscuits

    A few years ago I had UMG file a takedown request on a YouTube video of mine that was a clip aboard one of the Apollo missions.

    The reason was because the same footage had been used in a Pink Floyd video, so they decided it belonged to them. Fuck YouTube.

  4. PrivateIsotope

    Can’t talk about the beginning of MTV without talking about [this legendary David Bowie interview!](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZGiVzIr8Qg&t=13s) When MTV first premiered, they didn’t play videos by black artists, or played them in the middle of the night (which led to the formation of BET). In the interview, David Bowie engages in the most polite, dignified obliteration of someone’s point I’ve ever seen. It’s a must watch.

  5. LordBrandon

    It’s hard to fathom how far mtv has fallen in cultural relevance. I bet those short term reality show profits were worth it though.

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