The science of cryogenics, or research into super-cold temperatures (below minus 150 degrees Centigrade or minus 235 degrees Fahrenheit), had been studied as far back as 1877. Pronounced "cry-oh-gin-iks", the name came from the Greek words kyros (meaning icy cold) and gen (to produce). An ice cube was said made up of frozen liquid water and chilled dioxide gas formed dry ice (or liquid air).
As pointed out, "When liquid air is left in a warmish room, it boils and changes back into gases. Some of its gases boil quicker than others. This is how the science of cryogenics made it possible to separate different gases from the air. It also chilled liquid oxygen to make fuel for spaceships. When nitrogen is chilled a little colder than minus 320 degrees, it becomes a liquid. And liquid nitrogen can quick freeze living cells without harming them. When warmed, they start living again. This is called cryobiology."
Could the human body be frozen into a state of suspended animation and be brought back to life at some future date? Howard Hughes was said to have been fascinated with the science of cryogenics or the quest for a way to preserve living matter indefinitely. In February 1972, Robert Eaton told 'Ladies Home Journal' Howard Hughes often pondered "'the yet unanswered question: can a human being be successfully revivified from the frozen state after a long period of time so that required treatment can be given?' I believe that even if the question is presently unanswerable, there is enough of a possibility not to ignore it."
Robert also reported, "Howard's studies of cryogenics have told him that the lapse of time between death and freeze-down must be as short as possible so that his body can be as free from infection as possible. This means that the equipment and the capsule in which his body will be kept must be near at hand, and that trusted and capable technicians must be readily available."
In 1992, the Warner Bros. movie, 'Forever Young' explored the topic of cryogenics. Written by Jeffrey Abrams and directed by Steve Miner, Mel Gibson played a test pilot who underwent a government top-secret cryogenics experiment. The experiment took place in 1939 when he was 32 years old. By the time he woke up in 1992, he was 85 years old.
On the screen, Mel Gibson aged in 6 stages that required 7-hour application. Make-up artist Greg Cannom told the press, "With Mel, we tried not to overdo it. We wanted him to look very handsome even though he was getting older – a kind of a Cary Grant look." Mel acknowledged at the time, "I think it's the best aging make-up I've ever seen. But I don't think I'm going to look like that. I'd be lucky if I do at the age of 85!"
Jamie Lee Curtis told 'TV Guide' in December 1992, "The day after I got the word that the (TV) series ('Anything But Love') was over, I opened up a script I'd just been sent and it was 'Forever Young', with Mel Gibson. I was thrilled. He is astonishingly handsome. Does he have gorgeous blue eyes? Yes. If I was single and he was single, would I try to date him? Yes."
Mel mentioned, "When I first read the script for 'Forever Young' I found it emotionally affecting. I like the simplicity of it and the romantic nature. It's a very nostalgic story that really works in the dramatic sense, pulling the heartstrings but having some humor and lightness about it as well." 'Forever Young' was the 4th most popular film at the box office when it made its debut in December 1992. The Top 3 at the time were 'A Few Good Men', 'Aladdin' and 'Home Alone 2'. The debut weekend ticket sales totalled $5.6 million.
Back in August 1974, Shirley Gallina of 'Copley News Service' reported, "Cryogenics also is used to improve the quality of fresh and frozen foods, and has been instrumental in upgrading diary herds." Peter McKinney of 'Union Carbide Corp.' told Shirley at the time, "In order to improve milk and butterfat output, you have to have proved sires to inseminate the cows. When you improve the diary herd, you thereby improve the output.
"With cryogenics, bull semen is frozen and kept for years. This is true life suspension. 60% of the diary cows in the United States are the result of artificial insemination. This is not possible without cryogenics. The same technique is used for turkey insemination. Cryogenic freezing of food takes minutes whereas mechanical freezing takes hours. The result is higher quality of the food with a better taste and without undesirable ice crystals which affect cell structure. Mechanical freezing also requires blasts of air from a fan which causes some dehydration of food."