Alan Bean 2001 -- Custom Signing

at Novaspace Gallery

November 9 & 10, 2001

Apollo 12 CMP Richard Gordon
Apollo historian & author Andrew Chaikin

Apollo 12 moonwalker/artist Alan Bean came to our gallery in November with special guests Richard Gordon and Andrew Chaikin. This visit kicks off his second book tour. His first book tour, in 1998, also kicked off here. Alan signed Novaspace-purchased copies of his book Apollo: An Eyewitness Account. The text of the book, as well as "A Man on the Moon" was written by Andrew Chaikin.

The theme of the booksigning was "Apollo is America" and the cake and ice sculpture echoed the theme, as did the decorations.

The event lasted two days, the first night being a catered party for 100-odd invited VIP guests, and the next afternoon was open to the public. Alan and Dick did a slide show and talk the first night, and complimentary photos were supplied of the guests with the astronauts, and autographed door prizes were given out. There was a memorabilia signing for sent-in memorabilia which took two days to complete, as there was much storytelling and socializing from Alan & Dick. On the one hand, it was a privilege to hear some of the banter, but we were worried not everything would get signed while they were here.

Alan brought along his wife, Leslie, who was along to attend a workshop in the area. You can see her to the left of Alan in the lunch picture.

Dick Gordon came alone without his wife Linda. They live up in Prescott, in Northern Arizona, so it was only a 4 hour drive for him to get to Tucson. Dick explained they have a very large dog, and can't leave him alone or he'll eat the house.

Though the usual fly-in crowd was thin, due to the 9/11 attack, we had two attendees from the UK, Lilian Hobbs from England and Allen Doig from Scotland.

Both days were very intimate, with people able to chat at length with the astronauts. On Saturday, a surprise visit from Dr. Ewen Whitaker, an astronomer with the Lunar and Planetary Lab here at the University of Arizona, showed up and amazed the astronauts and crowd: seems Dr. Whitaker was the scientist who pinpointed the location of the Surveyor III spacecraft in 1968, by painstakingly using the Surveyor's own (crappy) photos of its surroundings, and a Lunar Orbiter map. The location wasn't known with absolute certainty until Apollo 12 landed beside it in 1969, proving Dr. Whitaker's deductive powers. This was the first meeting between Whitaker and the astronauts. Also in attendance was Dr. Gordon Swann (USGS ret.), who trained the Apollo astronauts in geology in northern Arizona. The Swann Hills at the Apollo 15 site were named after him.

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