|On January 26th, 2002
Nolan Sims and Steve Hankow sponsored
another autograph show in Houston, Texas. Astronauts that were scheduled to appear at
autograph show included
Alan Bean, Jerry Carr, Ed Gibson, Richard Gordon, Edgar Mitchell, and
Pogue. There were also some actors and
actresses slated to appear at the show. Included
in them were Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker
of the movie “Star
This venue for this show
was at the Sheraton North Houston Hotel over by Houston Intercontinental
wife Mary and I attended the show. This
is my recollection of the event.
Mary and I got up early on Saturday to drive
down to Houston. We
found the hotel with out to much difficulty and got checked into our
room. After I organized the list of things
wanted to get signed by the astronauts we headed down to the show.
Some of the photos that I wanted to get
signed were lunar panoramas that I had printed out by an internet photo
called Ofoto.com. The clarity of these
photos through Ofoto was truly awesome.
One of the panoramas was assembled from a
sequence of photos that Al Shepard had taken. These
were taken during the Apollo 14 EVA when they
were searching for
Cone crater. The image was about 30
inches across and 4 inches high. I got
Edgar Mitchell to sign it with a gold paint pen and this signature on
photo looked marvelous.
While I was having it signed, Apollo 12
Command Module Pilot Richard Gordon came over to look at the
He marveled at its clarity.
A little later I had Apollo 12 Lunar Module
Pilot Alan Bean sign a panoramic photo from Apollo 12.
This one was about 30 inches across and 8
inches high. Bean was really impressed
by the image. We talked about various
lunar topics. Included was a discussion
about the lighting on the Moon. We told
me how to identify which astronaut was in the Apollo 12 image. I also remember that he pointed out where
Surveyor was in the photo.
Richard Gordon came over to the table where
we were with Bean and said, “We had a TV camera but dumbass broke it!” We had a great laugh at Bean’s expense. Gordon and Bean then explained that losing
the camera really wasn’t Bean’s fault.
I had the Skylab 3 crew autograph a couple of
photos. Ed Gibson also was excited by
the clarity of the photos. He told me
that he gives presentations that include photos from his Skylab
missions. His problem was that he couldn’t
photos of high enough resolution. I told
him about the NASA GRIN web site and the amazing resolution of the
We had a good time talking with the Skylab 3
crew. I did note thought that Bill Pogue
was really quiet. I couldn’t tell if he
just wasn’t feeling good, or if he had something else on his mind.
I was able to meet German rocket technician
Guenter Wendt. He had come out with a
book and I was able to get him to sign it.
After we got the bulk of the signatures
we wanted to get, Mary and I drove to another part of Houston. We
met a friend of Mary’s that lived in Houston. Her
name was Leigh. We had a very nice
dinner with her at one of the local restaurants.
After dinner Mary and I returned to our
hotel. We stopped in at the bar to see
who was there. Seated at the bar were
the actors Stanley and Barry Livingston who played Chip and Ernie off
of the television show “My Three
Sons”. It seemed odd to see actors that
you watched while growing up to now be sitting at a bar.
Over to the corner of the bar in a booth was
Peter Mayhew. He was the actor who
played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies. I
must say that Mayhew was a really unique looking
individual. He had long and wild coal
black hair. His appearance resembled a
rock star on a bad
Mayhew was really tall. He also
had a strange gait to his walk.
Actually this is the same way that Chewbacca walks in the movies. I
gait may have been due to the rapid growth rate that got him to his
Seated at the table were what appeared to be
four of five women groupies. These women
were not the prettiest females on the planet. Next
to Mayhew though, they kind of fit right in. All
of them, including Mayhew seemed to take a
liking to smoking cigarettes.
A little while later Kenny Baker who played
R2D2 on Star Wars and joined Mayhew’s entourage. So after that night,
I could say that we were in a cantina with Chewbacca and R2D2. What was more amazing was that nobody got
their hands cut off with a light saber!
The next day Mary had an idea to ask Richard
Gordon to inscribe a photo with what he said about Alan Bean and the
Saturday. That sounded like fun to
me. Mary took a photo of Alan Bean
carrying ALSEP on the Moon over to Gordon. She
told him how she wanted the photo inscribed and
he blushed. He was a little reluctant to
“dumbass” inscription in writing but he did. I
think it is a classic autograph.
On our way back home from the autograph
we stopped in College
Station, Texas. There
we visited the President George H. W. Bush library.
It was located on the campus of Texas A&M
I was kind of surprised to see that they had
a burial site already prepared for George and Barbara Bush. In fact the burial site was already the
resting place for their young daughter Robin. Robin
had succumbed to leukemia when she was only 7
Our trip to Houston was very relaxing for
Mary and me. It was one of the best trips that we had been on in
a long time.