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  Signing history and experience: Charles Conrad

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Author Topic:   Signing history and experience: Charles Conrad
Flying Dutchman

Posts: 154
From: Nieuw Vennep
Registered: Jan 2007

posted 12-20-2008 09:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Flying Dutchman   Click Here to Email Flying Dutchman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When Pete Conrad died in July 1999 he has been given autographs since his Apollo years for about 26 years. Am I right?

Can you tell me if he was a good signer in person and through the mail? And what I also like to know, did he ever charge for his autographs? And is it known that he used the autopen machine? I know there are some autopen patterns known on the autograph sites.


Posts: 181
From: United Kingdom
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 12-20-2008 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for medaris   Click Here to Email medaris     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are a lot of Pete Conrad autopen signed items, but the patterns are straightforward to recognise. I can't comment on signing in person, as I never had the chance to meet him - I'm sure others can provide information on this.


Posts: 3797
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 12-21-2008 02:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From all accounts, Pete was a great signer and signed many items both TTM and in person. I believe he charged a nominal fee for his signature in the late 90s... about $10 each, if I recall correctly.


Posts: 642
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 12-22-2008 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I met him at a publicity signing in Clear Lake (by JSC) for the opening of a Verizon Wireless store, of all things! They actually had the entire Apollo 12 crew there, which made for a great opportunity - and it was free! This was less than a year before Pete died. I only had them sign a litho, so I don't remember if they were signing anything you brought. What I do remember was that all three were in great spirits, especially Pete, who was joking with the other two and anyone in line. He especially seemed to like the little kids. His appearance and attitude cemented his place in my personal list of favorite astronauts.

Jay Gallentine

Posts: 286
From: Shorewood, MN, USA
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 03-08-2009 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was very lucky to meet Pete Conrad in 1995, really by a complete fluke. A friend called me on a Saturday morning explaining that "there was going to be some astronaut named Conrad at the Metrodome". That's our indoor football stadium in Minnesota. No way! So I quickly removed my Apollo 12 patch from its frame and scooted downtown, unsure of exactly what was going on.

Turns out the Metrodome was hosting "Lego's Great Create", a pay-to-build fundraiser for local charities. About a third of the field was covered in Lego piles with a couple dozen kids playing about and another dozen or so parents standing around watching. A rather small crowd in general. Strangely enough, Lego had arranged for Pete Conrad to be there - I still don't know why, as he had nothing to do with the charity and nobody there seemed to know who he was. So I paid the twenty bucks to park (!) plus the door admission, then ran down a zillion steps and onto the field. Apollo 12's CDR was sitting WAY off to the side on the edge of a table, kicking his legs and whistling into the air. He looked bored out of his gourd. I went up and asked, "Mr. Conrad?" which almost startled the guy, because I don't think anyone had spoken to him much for the entire morning! All the "real" action was at the other end of the 'Dome, where all the Legos were.

Luckily I had a camera along:

It's not real obvious in the photo, but as soon as the camera lens came up, Pete whipped off his glasses and held them in his hands until the shot was over. What an enormously friendly guy.

I then took out my patch, saying, "Hey look, I brought an Apollo 12 patch with me." We discussed the design for a minute, after which he offered, "Would you like my signature on this?" I immediately nodded and the two of us went about finding a Sharpie. He signed across the front, just in time for a Metrodome employee to approach with a box, telling him, "Mr. Conrad, it's time for you to sign the books." So Pete reaches into the box and pulls out a comic book based on Apollo 12. Very cool indeed!

Then someone came on the PA system and monotoned, "The astronaut is now going to sign comic books." A few people drifted over, and Pete signed the entire box of books. No extra fees, nothing like that. I really don't think many of the people there knew who in the world he was beyond "the astronaut". I got in line, and was able to score a signed book - plus another few minutes of conversation.

So that was my signing experience with Pete Conrad!


Posts: 1843
From: Fairfax, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 03-08-2009 08:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A great story well told! Isn't it wonderful how sometimes experiences that will stay with you for the rest of your life come out of nowhere on a seemingly normal day.


Posts: 1529
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 03-08-2009 08:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay, great story and picture! But the advertisement behind your head makes you look like a Steve Martin comedy routine!

Jay Gallentine

Posts: 286
From: Shorewood, MN, USA
Registered: Sep 2004

posted 03-09-2009 07:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Gallentine   Click Here to Email Jay Gallentine     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi and yes, I've always been a bit perturbed with that sign "growing" out of my head, so maybe sometime I'll have to put my Photoshop skills to the test and paint it out of there.

Pete looked fit as a fiddle, making jokes out of the Metrodome, the changing Minnesota weather, and what have you.

When I asked him about the original Apollo 12 patch design, he paused and then said, almost with reverence, "Captain Bean designed this patch." Like it was just such a wonderfully magnificent thing that one of the guys who flew the mission had done up the patch. He also seemed absolutely amazed I would know about the four stars in the design and one of them being for C.C. Williams. But to me that was just sort of "Apollo 12-101"!


Posts: 391
From: Holbrook MA, USA
Registered: Jul 2008

posted 03-09-2009 09:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for xlsteve   Click Here to Email xlsteve     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Jay, that's a great story, thanks for posting. I regret not having met CAPT Conrad when he was still with us. I have a copy of that comic it's pretty cool with the "Ask Captain Pete" section.


Posts: 2831
From: Titusville, FL USA
Registered: Feb 2005

posted 03-09-2009 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My story isn't nearly as good as Jay's. But I had the pleasure of meeting Pete Conrad at the Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1993 (I think) - it was the night he and the "Gemini astronauts" were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

He was extremely friendly and we talked briefly about his bet concerning what he would say when he stepped onto the Moon. He had a couple of words about people who don't pay up their bets but all in all a great experience.

That night he along with Dick Gordon, Jim McDivitt, Mike Collins, Wally Schirra, Tom Stafford, Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan and Buzz Aldrin all signed my Gemini scrapbook... for free.

Right time and the right place.


Posts: 244
From: Montreal, Canada
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 03-09-2009 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Moonwalker1954   Click Here to Email Moonwalker1954     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by KSCartist:
Right time and the right place.
Incredible, Tim! Like I told you before, I envy you for living so close of Cape Canaveral...


Posts: 108
From: New York, NY USA
Registered: Jan 2005

posted 03-10-2009 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Murph   Click Here to Email Murph     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a photo from the estate of country singer Faron Young, signed by Pete Conrad. Conrad was a friend of Young's and inscribed a photo of himself in an F-4 Phantom, and signed it "Pete", and then signing it in his usual signature. I've never seen him sign Pete. Has anyone else?


Posts: 3797
From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 03-10-2009 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Originally posted by Murph:
I've never seen him sign Pete. Has anyone else?
Yes, I have a signed litho in my collection with a similar "Pete" added next to his standard siganture, which made out to a NASA worker whom Pete appears to have admired. It appears he only signed "Pete" for those people he considered close friends or colleagues. For everyone else, he usually only signed as "Charles Conrad."


Posts: 147
From: Leesburg, VA USA
Registered: Apr 2003

posted 03-11-2009 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jamato99   Click Here to Email jamato99     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's an awesome story, Jay! I'm happy for you and jealous I never got to meet Conrad. By all accounts, he seems like one of the most personable of the early astronauts.


Posts: 3146
From: San Diego
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 07-24-2010 05:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for FFrench     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Something Pete Conrad once gave me.


Posts: 1114
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 07-29-2010 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pete did a signing at an auction house in CA in the early '90s and I took along the "Helping Hands" print that I recently purchased from Alan Bean. I had him sign the entire quote along the bottom of the painting with his signature and "CDR Apollo 12."

They charged $25 for Pete and Walt Cunningham to sign an item for you. I remember Pete saying, "For $25, I'll write anything you want!"

A few months later I visited Dick Gordon in LA and he completed the crew on the print for me.

One of my great regrets was at the Apollo astronaut induction at the AHOF. After the ceremony, we were inside and I found Pete off to the side having an animated discussion with Gordo Cooper. I had camera in hand, and would have loved to have that picture taken with the Gemini V crew, but I couldn't bring myself to interrupt the fun they were having together.

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