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Fred Haise

Fred Haise


Photo Credits: Mine

Signed Photograph of Apollo 13 SM
Signed soundtrack CD from the Apollo 13 Movie

By 2001, I had met 22 of the 24 men that had flown to the Moon during Project Apollo.  One of the 2 men missing from my set was Jack Swigert.  Swigert passed away in 1982, so I never would be able to meet him.  The sole remaining person that I needed to meet was Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise.

I was thrilled when I learned that Haise would speak at a benefit dinner in Dallas, Texas for the YMCA.  That dinner was scheduled for April 24th, 2001.  Mary made the arrangements so that she and I could attend the benefit.

We got to the banquet room of the hotel and found that we would be sitting at a table only two tables away from the head table.  Fred Haise was seated at the head table, so I considered our positioning very fortunate.

Haise started his presentation off with a clip from the movie Apollo 13.  After the clip, he spoke about his thoughts on the movie.  From an artistic point of view he thought the movie was very well done.  However, he was disappointed in some of the artistic license that was taken.

Haise said that the language would have been the one thing that he would have changed in the movie.  Off color language was never used during the mission.  Haise had gone over all of the space to ground transcripts and not one sear word was ever uttered.  It was Haise’s opinion that you just cannot sell movies in Hollywood anymore without a PG rating.

Another thing which Haise thought was an inaccurate depiction was the party during the Apollo 11 mission.  He said that there never were any NASA celebrations during a mission until the crew was recovered safely.  The Apollo 11 party did not happen.

The third thing that bothered Haise was that Jack Swigert was portrayed inaccurately.  Haise asserted that Swigert was trained as well as the primary crew.  In fact he was probably better because the backup crew usually got more time in the simulators.  The primary crew had more distractions in their schedules with things such as press conferences.

Haise said that he was not involved in the filming. He did, however, give actor Bill Paxton a tour of KSC.  After the tour he and Paxton met back up with Ron Howard and Tom Hanks.  They had lunch at the KSC cafeteria near by the Vehicle Assembly Building.  After they finished eating, a few of the cafeteria workers trickled out to get a few autographs.  The only autograph these people wanted was little Opie’s. 

Haise then showed another film clip.  This time it was actual footage taken during Apollo 13.  He narrated the film and spoke about activities during the mission.

After the dinner, Haise graciously stayed to meet people and sign autographs.  Mary and I did very well with autographs.  We obtained some on books and other items. Two of those autographs turned out exceptionally nice.  One was an Apollo 13 soundtrack CD and the other was a photo of the damaged Service Module from Apollo 13.  He signed both of them with a silver paint pen.

There was a benefit auction at this dinner.  Mary and I placed bids on several items.  None of our bids were winners. After the dinner, Mary and I stopped at the hotel bar and had a very nice glass of wine to celebrate our success at meeting Apollo 13 Astronaut Fred Haise.

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UPDATED : February 15, 2007
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