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  Paul Haney, voice of Mission Control (1928-2009) (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Paul Haney, voice of Mission Control (1928-2009)
Robert Pearlman

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From: Houston, TX
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posted 05-29-2009 01:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul Haney, 80, NASA's first news director and the "Voice of Mission Control" for Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, passed away of cancer on May 28, 2009. He was born on July 20, 1928, 41 years to the day before the first manned lunar landing.

Photo credit: J.L. Pickering

In 1993, Haney was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame, providing this biographical profile:

NASA's 'Voice of Mission Control.'

Paul Prichard Haney was born in Akron, Ohio in 1928. He put himself through Kent State University by working nights for the Associated Press, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 1945. After working for newspapers in Erie, Pennsylvania and Memphis, Tennessee, he joined the staff at the Washington, D.C. Evening Star newspaper in 1954.

Three months after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed in 1958, Haney joined the organization as an information officer, and from 1960 to 1962, served as NASA's first News Director. In that position, he managed the Cape Canaveral and Project Mercury information programs. His work in the Mercury program set the standard for all subsequent NASA information efforts.

From 1962 to 1963, Paul Haney was the Public Affairs Officer for the Office of Manned Space Flight. In September 1963, he moved to Houston, Texas, and as Public Affairs Officer for the Manned Spaceflight Center (now the Johnson Space Center), directed the information flowing out of the Gemini and Apollo manned spaceflight programs. In this position he became well known as the "Voice of NASA's Mission Control," and the "Voice of Apollo." He also established the first NASA open-door museum at the Johnson Space Center (formally known as the Manned Spacecraft Center) in Houston. Paul Haney served with distinction throughout the Gemini program and the early phases of the Apollo program. He retired from NASA on April 25, 1969, after the successful Apollo 9 mission.

In 2003, NASA Johnson Space Center's Oral History Project interviewed Haney, which included his recollections of a certain 'gotcha' during Apollo 7.
"It was during [the] mission that this... thing about the drinking club that had started at Edwards came out. Are you a [turtle]... The original pictures are in the Smithsonian... We [flew] a television camera on 7, and [Wally] Schirra called them the cue cards. One of them they held up said, 'Paul Haney, are you a Turtle?" Another card said, "Deke Slayton, are you a Turtle?'"

"...if [a turtle] out in public [is] asked if [he is] a Turtle, [the] answer [is], 'You bet your sweet ass I am.' [Refusal or lack of the proper answer meant] you had to buy a drink for everybody within earshot who were real turtles. And we were going live that afternoon to about 300 million people, including... turtles in Chile and Japan and all over the world."

"That's the only time [the center director Bob] Gilruth ever called me into his office and said, 'What is... this [all about]? Why did you answer that question?'"

While Apollo 7 orbited, Haney received a call at his station in Mission Control.
"I never could figure out where the hell he got my console phone number. He called me during the mission, though, just out of the blue."
He said, "Hi. This is Bob Hope."

I said, "Yeah, and this is [Genghis Kahn]."

He said, "No, this really is Bob Hope."

"You're not Bob Hope."

He says, "Yeah, I am."

I said, "Where did you grow up?"

He says, "Well, I was born in England, and then I moved to Cleveland."

I said, "What part of Cleveland?"

He says, "Oh. You must know Cleveland."

I said, "Yeah, I know Cleveland. Where did you grow up in Cleveland?"

He [said Eudid Avenue in the 50s].

I said, "Hi, Bob. What can I do for you?"

Bob Hope wanted to film his show from the auditorium at the Manned Spacecraft Center, which is how Haney, the Apollo 7 crew and actress Barbara Eden came to appear together.

Photo credit: NASA
From left: Barbara Eden, Bob Hope, Donn Eisele, Walt Cunningham, Wally Schirra and Paul Haney.
More recently, Haney contributed the foreword to "Into That Silent Sea: Trailblazers of the Space Era, 1961-1965" by Colin Burgess and Francis French (University of Nebraska Press, 2007), wherein he wrote:
"It is difficult to encapsulate or explain what this heroic era meant to me, particularly within the constraints of a few pages."
As a veteran newsman, Haney prepared his own obituary in 2000, before it was discovered he had cancer. Printed in the Alamgordo Daily News on Saturday, May 30, it provided details for his memorial.
A memorial service will be conducted at the Alamogordo Funeral Home at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 20, 2009. Those in attendance are invited to join us immediately afterward at the Desert Palms Mobile Home Estates, 2000 E. First Street, in the community recreation center for good conversation, memories and refreshments.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a contribution in Paul's name may do so to the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, or an Alamogordo cancer association such as Alamogordo Home Care-Hospice or the CAPPED organization. It was his wish that contributions be given to help those in need in the Alamogordo area.

A moment of silence can be signified by an entry with no words and only a period.


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posted 05-29-2009 01:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ejectr   Click Here to Email ejectr     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

413 is in

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posted 05-29-2009 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 413 is in   Click Here to Email 413 is in     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Mike Isbell

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posted 05-29-2009 02:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Isbell     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Henk Boshuijer

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posted 05-29-2009 02:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Henk Boshuijer   Click Here to Email Henk Boshuijer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-29-2009 02:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bruce   Click Here to Email bruce     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-29-2009 02:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GACspaceguy   Click Here to Email GACspaceguy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-29-2009 03:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tom   Click Here to Email Tom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-29-2009 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DChudwin   Click Here to Email DChudwin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In late 1969 I sent Paul Haney an Apollo cover for an autograph. The Apollo program had reached its goal of a lunar landing, and contractors were being laid off, production lines were being shutdown, and budgets were being cut (sounds familiar?). As a fervent teenage space enthusiast I was discouraged about the turn of events, and expressed those negative thoughts about the future of the space program in my letter to Paul.

A couple of weeks later, I received the cover back. Paul signed his name but also wrote in big letters BE CONFIDENT!

Whenever I have been discouraged with respect to the space program I have always thought of Paul's optimistic message.

I took his message to heart, and have been grateful for his good advice. He will be missed. RIP.


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posted 05-29-2009 03:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-29-2009 04:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-29-2009 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for JPSastro   Click Here to Email JPSastro     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Rick Mulheirn

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posted 05-29-2009 05:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-29-2009 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NavySpaceFan   Click Here to Email NavySpaceFan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-29-2009 05:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ColinBurgess   Click Here to Email ColinBurgess     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received the sad news from Robert Pearlman today, and I'm having a quiet few hours this morning while I remember and salute a very remarkable gentleman.

I never got to meet Paul, but some years back I was seeking information for my book "Fallen Astronauts" and Wally Schirra directed me to contact Paul, one of his great 'gotcha' friends. For me, it was the beginning of a long cyberspace friendship, and Paul could always be relied on when I needed some information for a writing project. It usually began "Paul, do you have any good stories about...?" and over the next day or so I would have two or three pages of hilarious anecdotes on the subject in question, written in Paul's inimitable style. Many of these stories, as Robert mentioned, featured in Paul's lengthy foreword for "Into That Silent Sea," and I know that my writing partner Francis French will be equally devastated by today's news.

I don't think Paul would have minded my telling everyone here that he didn't actually sit down and deliberately write the foreword on request. It was actually comprised of anecdotal material he had sent me over the years which was plundered by us for the best stories, approved by Paul and then placed in chronological order. The incomplete draft was then fired over to Paul, who filled in the gaps with a few appropriate words, and there was our foreword. He was incredibly happy with the result, and the book it was in. Of course he sent me a lot of material of a ribald or even scurrilous nature that Francis and I couldn't even consider putting in the book; it was just a bunch of background stories that he wanted to share with us. He is one person who should have written a book about the space program, but he told me that Jim Schefter had already stolen his best stories for Jim's book "The Race".

I know that Paul had been seriously and chronically ill in recent times, but every so often a new message would find its way into my inbox. He would often share jokes with me that he and Wally Schirra had passed between them (he missed Wally terribly after he died), and he remained close friends with Walt Cunningham.

A couple of things about Paul that might not be commonly known: he was the unseen Voice of Apollo commentating throughout the film "Capricorn One." Also, I know how much it would have meant to him to have been around for the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11. Sadly he did not quite make it. He was a proud man, and never prouder than when he revealed to me he was born on the 20th of July.

I will miss Paul Haney more than mere words can say.


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posted 05-29-2009 06:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Mike Z

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posted 05-29-2009 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Mike Z   Click Here to Email Mike Z     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have fond memories listening to Paul Haney during the launches. I am so sorry to learn of his passing. His family and friends are in our prayers.


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From: Plattsburgh, NY, United States
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posted 05-29-2009 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AJ   Click Here to Email AJ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thank you, Mr. Burgess, for that beautiful note about a wonderful man. What a kind and thoughtful remembrance. My thoughts are with Paul Haney's family tonight.


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From: San Diego
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posted 05-29-2009 08:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by ColinBurgess:
Many of these stories, as Robert mentioned, featured in Paul's lengthy foreword for "Into That Silent Sea," and I know that my writing partner Francis French will be equally devastated by today's news.
Indeed, I am — I have been in the air all day, flying to Baltimore, so I am only just hearing of this.

As Colin says, Paul was a wonderful supplier of unique first-hand anecdotes, printable and unprintable. I'm still of the opinion that his foreword is the best part of "Into That Silent Sea."

I was working with Paul in recent months to fashion some of the stories we did not use in the foreword into an article. We were far enough along that I plan on finishing it.

It also makes me think again of how fortunate we were to talk with Wally Schirra, Gordo Cooper, Andrian Nikolayev and, now, Paul for the book in such depth while there was still time...

Thank you, Paul, for everything you did, for NASA and also for me.

Richard Easton

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posted 05-29-2009 09:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-30-2009 06:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Rick Boos

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posted 05-30-2009 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Boos   Click Here to Email Rick Boos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Godspeed my Friend!


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posted 05-30-2009 10:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

KC Stoever

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posted 05-30-2009 10:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KC Stoever   Click Here to Email KC Stoever     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Joe Frasketi

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posted 05-30-2009 12:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Joe Frasketi   Click Here to Email Joe Frasketi     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Jay Gallentine

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posted 05-30-2009 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-30-2009 01:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nasamad   Click Here to Email nasamad     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-30-2009 02:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for sikotic19   Click Here to Email sikotic19     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Apollo Redux

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posted 05-30-2009 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Apollo Redux   Click Here to Email Apollo Redux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
God speed.


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posted 05-30-2009 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwight   Click Here to Email Dwight     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In reseraching my Apollo TV Camera book, I discovered that Paul Haney had a hand in decisions pertaining to the TV cameras which found their way onto the earlier flights.

I unfortunately was unable to contact him for his stories.

As many people have said before me, a truly remarkable individual who will be sorely missed.

Jay Chladek

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posted 05-31-2009 01:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I can't recall with 100% certainty (even though I was in San Diego and watched it at Spacefest), but I believe Paul was featured in the Spacecraft Films' documentary "Live from the Moon." As such, it will be a fitting tribute to the man.

I never had the pleasure of meeting Paul, but if it is one thing I have learned is to cherish the stories from the people who worked in the space program because we ultimately never know how long they will be around the share them. It is thanks to people like Andy, Mark, Colin and Francis that we can still enjoy Paul's story though.


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posted 05-31-2009 04:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-31-2009 08:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cddfspace   Click Here to Email cddfspace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 05-31-2009 09:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

New Member

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posted 05-31-2009 01:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mickapp   Click Here to Email mickapp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul was a good friend so I provided Wally Schirra on Apollo 7 with a few cue cards such as "Paul Haney Are You A Turtle" and "Deke Slayton Are You A Turtle." The card that made the front page of the NY Times was Wally holding it up; it said "Keep Those Cards and Letters Coming In Folks." I also provide the music on the cassettes that the Gemini and Apollo Astronauts took with them including the music Neil took to the moon.


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posted 06-01-2009 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for astro-nut   Click Here to Email astro-nut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote


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posted 06-01-2009 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jake   Click Here to Email Jake     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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