That's my impression as well, from going through back issues of National
Geographic. Until the 1960s, the moon was only observed through terrestrial
telescopes that showed little more than craters (I lusted after a Questar in
those days, but after we started seeing pictures from the moon and, later,
from Mars, a Questar lost much of its attraction). With not much of a
chance at that time to actually go to the moon, the actual composition of
the moon's surface was of little interest to the general public. Scientists
could only conjecture as to the composition of the surface of the moon, as
your excerpts clearly indicate.
Is Tom Gold the same Tom Gold who backed the drilling in Sweden for methane
deposits at great depths? One of his theories was something along the lines
that there are vast deposits of methane underneath the oceans and below
impact craters on land. I remember meeting a Tom Gold back in the '80s at a
workshop in Mont Ste. Marie, Quebec.