Saturday, December 20, 2008

To the Moon with Snoopy

I purchased this painting from Gene Cernan. Captain Cernan was the Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) aboard the Apollo 10 mission to the Moon. The crew of Apollo 10 named their two spacecraft with code names, so ground control could determine which craft was communicating at any one time. Charles Schultz had given NASA the license to use the characters from the cartoon strip, "Peanuts" at the time. The crew named the Command/Service Module "Charlie Brown" and the Lunar Module "Snoopy" after two of the main characters in the cartoon. The crew had paintings of Charlie Brown and Snoopy done and took them onboard for the mission.

The above picture shows the back of the painting. Gene Cernan wrote "Flown on A-10. Seen on inflt TV" and signed it. John Young would later sign it in Tucson, AZ during a Novaspace signing.

The reason for the paintings was that they were to be used as a test of the color television camera that was being used for the first time on a trip to the Moon. The paintings were done on brightly colored backgrounds, so they would show up during the broadcasts from the spacecraft during it's voyage to the Moon. The picture included here is a still photograph taken from one of the television broadcasts and shows Tom Stafford, Commander of the Apollo 10 mission, holding the Snoopy painting.

Here is another still photograph from the color television broadcast on the Apollo 10 misson. John Young is holding the Snoopy painting.

In 2004, I traveled to Burbank to meet with Gene Cernan to discuss the painting. I was able to photograph Cernan with the painting.

In 2008, I met with General Stafford in Florida prior to helping his curator move some artifacts to the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma. We met for dinner in a restaurant in Cocoa Beach. The photograph above show the General signing back of the Snoopy painting. We were sitting at a bar and I was silently praying that nothing would fall near the piece. While my prayers were answered, sometimes you do what you have to do to complete a task.

The artwork now has the signatures and inscriptions from crew of Apollo 10. The photograph was taken of the painting that is now encapsulated in an archival UV protected frame and shows the signatures of the crew.

This photograph shows the painting in it's plexiglass frame. I wanted to have the ability to show both the front and back of the artwork. The unique frame does just that.

The painting has been sent to Santa Rosa, California, where it is currently on loan to the Charles Schulz Museum for it's new exhibition, "To The Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA."

Credit: Susie Martinez courtesy of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center.

The Snoopy exhibit opened at the Charles Schulz Museum and will run from January 31st to July 20th, 2009. The above photograph shows part of the exhibit currently on display. The Snoopy painting, sporting a new museum frame, is visible in the far left corner of the center kiosk. As an aside, Tom Stafford and Gene Cernan were in attendance for the exhibit opening.

A friend, who attended the opening with Stafford and Cernan snapped this picture of the Snoopy painting on display.

The caption shown in above photograph is from the Snoopy painting display. It states that Charles Schulz wrote about the painting and it's meaning to him in his biography.

The exhibit provides a guided tour about a small, but unique, story in the larger history of the human exploration of Space.