I became aware of science fiction sometime around 1950, when the “commercial club” in my tiny village–my dad, who managed the lumberyard, Butch Holdredge, who owned a grocery store, two saloon owners whose names I don’t recall, Mr. Hanenberger, who owned the hardware store, the Laudon brothers, who owned the grain elevator, and the village banker, Merle Comingore–arranged for free movies to be shown on a sheet hung on the side of the township building outdoors on summer Saturday nights. Typically, the itinerant projectionist, who drove up from Winona, showed a cartoon (Mighty Mouse was a favorite), a serial, always with a cliff-hanger, and a two-reel feature. One summer the serial was a Buck Rogers saga created 10 years earlier. I was entranced by it.
I remember seeing Destination Moon in a real theater in its first release in 1950 (admission 14 cents). I read the science fiction pulps–Amazing Stories, Astounding Science-Fiction–when I could find them. All that was part of the background that led me to work in aerospace years ago.
Now the last of the founding giants of modern science fiction, Frederick Pohl, has died. RIP.