Former NASA astronaut FRED HAISE came to the Cradle of Aviation Museum last week for a discussion and book signing about his autobiography ‘Never Panic Early: An Apollo 13 Astronaut’s Journey.’
VIDEO: (17.5 minutes) Fred Haise at Cradle of Aviation MuseumThe sold-out audience greeted Haise with long, loud applause when he entered the updated JetBlue Sky Theater Planetarium with a huge moon laser-projected at the top of the full-dome.
my Photo Gallery – Fred Haise at Cradle of Aviation Museum (Plus, click each photo below to see larger one.)
Thanks to the lively way Haise shared some dangerous times during his career – notably when the Apollo 13 spacecraft was damaged on its way to the Moon on April 13, 1970 – the time seemed to fly by fast enough to escape Earth’s gravity.
I’ve enjoyed seeing Fred Haise several times at the Cradle of Aviation Museum. As THOMAS RIEDY, a trustee of the museum, said shortly before the event, the Cradle is very lucky that Haise is so supportive, visiting so frequently over the years.
FEATURE PHOTO (at top of post) Garden City, N.Y., U.S. Sept. 29, 2022. FRED HAISE, former NASA astronaut, smiles and waves to audience after his discussion of autobiography ‘Never Panic Early: An Apollo 13 Astronaut’s Journey’ in JetBlue Theater Planetarium at Cradle of Aviation Museum.
Launch time was 3 PM for the Star Wars: Force Collector Book Signing at the North Merrick Public Library on Friday, December 20th, soon after author KEVIN SHINICK‘s early afternoon presentation at his alma mater Calhoun High School, and before his evening book signing at Merrick Cinemas, where he worked as a teen.
Since children were just getting out of school around 3:00 that last day before Winter Break, few people were there at the start of the young adult novel event. But a stream of people – mostly parents with their young sons and daughters – soon started pouring into the large meeting room, with many adults standing along the walls so children could sit.
Some came mainly because of the Star Wars novel… some because Shinick’s a fellow Merokean, a friend… and two came because he’s their son.
Video 2 – Q&A:Baby Yoda, Batman comic books; Best Star Wars Lightsaber Fight; Broadway; Fiction VS Nonfiction; Heidi Gardner; Debbie Gibson; TV Hosting; George Lucas; Eileen Meyers; Robot Chicken; Ringwood, NJ; SNL; Spiderman, Star Wars…
During his animated Q&A, Kevin Shinick talked at length about writing the official canon Star Wars YA novel, Star Wars: Force Connector.
Shinick said, “Working with George Lucas – everything he says is a lesson.”
After the project got the green light, he stayed for a month at Skywalker Ranch, the California home and workplace of GEORGE LUCAS, the film writer, director and producer who created Star Wars.
Shinick was glad he stayed at Skywalker Ranch for a month, so he had a chance to ground himself being around Lucas.
“For the first two weeks I didn’t hear anything he said. I heard wonk wonk wonk wonk[as he repeated to himself] You made Star Wars. You made Star Wars.”
“George Lucas[is] “an independent experimental film maker, and he takes chances. [….] He wasn’t doing something to make us love him. He was doing something to show us something we had never seen before.”
“It’s hard as an artist not to get beaten down. You’re doing it because you set an objective and you succeed at that objective.”
“With this book [“Star Wars: Force Collector”]I can find 10 people who love it and 10 people who hate it.”
“Star Wars, too, for some reason, there’s no middle ground. You either have to love it or hate it – there’s no middle ground.”
• KEVIN SHINICK with his childhood friend, pastry chef BRIAN FISHMAN:
Shinick shared a few of his life rules, wrapped in anecdotes often a bit humorous, self-deprecating – as in his Skywalker Ranch “wonk wonk wonk wonk” saga. Three of the rules he shared:
(1) “You’ve got to keep your community. You’ve got to keep people who support you, have your best interests in heart, who challenge you. People succeed in groups.”
(2) “You have to know who you are.” He wanted to be like Han Solo, but it’s his lot in life to know he’s more Luke Skywalker.
(3) 1st half: “Always go to the door that opens.” He didn’t expect to be a host of “Where in Time is Carmen Sandiago?” but he took it when offered.
2nd half: “Don’t be afraid to shut that door.” After “Where in Time…,” he “got a lot of hosting gigs.” Then one day – as he was driving to a meeting about an offer to host the show Extreme Gong – he had, as he looked back on it, a rather cinematic epiphany:
“I can’t do this,” [he thought to himself] “and called my agent – no more hosting.”
“Every time I did it, something was missing, and people weren’t looking at me as other things. I have to stop this.”
He added that he wasn’t negating hosting – it just wasn’t his dream.
After the book reading and signing, the strong affection and memories Shinick shared with many there at his hometown library burst into hyperdrive, with a force evaporating the time and space since they last met.
• TOM SHINICK suggested capturing a photo of his son KEVIN SHINICK with JAKE LEFEBURE, 10, an enthusiastic Star Wars fan(see Video 2 – Q&A):
KARR NUQ SIN, a teen who suffers from mysterious headaches, is the main character of Star Wars: Force Collector, a canon Star Wars young adult novel published by Disney Books.
Karr leaves his planet Merokia on a quest concerning the fabled Jedi and the Force. Karr travels with his friend MAIZE RAYNSHI and his droid RZ-7 (Arzee).
In VIDEO 1, Shinick reads a scene from Chapter 13, when Karr and RZ-7 go to a bar in a cantina on planet Oba Diah.
Shinick named Karr’s home planet MEROKIA in honor of the Meroke tribe who settled his Merrick hometown on Long Island, New York.
That was the main reason I looked forward to covering the event, held on what Nassau County Supervisor Laura Curran officially proclaimed Nassau County Force Collector Day.
Plus, there were similarities in our orbits, including that my younger daughter Laurie was a member of the Calhoun H. S. On Tour Company, under Director SAL SALERNO, about a dozen years after Kevin Shinick was.
In a more tenuous, colorful coincidence, my mom, MARY ANN PARRY, an opera singer, gave brief voice lessons to teen DEBBIE GIBSON, Shinick’s On Tour co-star in Fiddler on the Roof in the late 1980s.
• L-R, KEVIN SHINICK, CHRIS BARRON, and ANN PARRY after Shinick signs copies of his Star Wars novel. (please CONTACT ME if you know photographer’s name):
• BIO – Briefly, Kevin Shinick is a Broadway actor; a voice artist; a writer – for films, plays, TV shows, a Netflix comedy, Marvel and DC Comics, a children’s book (“Star Wars: Chewie and the Porgs“), and stop-motion series “Robot Chicken,” which he won Emmy for; a host for TV shows such as “Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?”; writer and director of Spider-Man Live!; the husband of producer Eileen Meyer; and dad of someone who isn’t (yet) a pilot.
• Baby Yoda says: “Winner You Are! Feel the Force -The Book, You Must Enjoy”:
FEATURE PHOTO at top of post: Merrick, NY, U.S. Dec. 20, 2019. KEVIN SHINICK, shown in photo composite, discusses his novel during book signing for his STAR WARS: FORCE COLLECTOR at North Merrick Library on Nassau County Force Collector Day.