To All the ships at sea,
I tend to be redundant; I also tend to have a pretty good memory. I also realize the journey I’ve been on for the last 5 decades could not have happened if it wasn’t for some amazing people, great friends, and generous photographers. My dear friend Ron Thompson introduced me to Ralph Morse at an Apollo march. Ralph was one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He not only had a great eye and a great passion, he was a true innovator. The old cliché; you think you’ve done something original, but it was done 100 years ago. Guess what, Ralph was a true innovator; he came up with photographs no one ever did. He literally took me under his wing, and with no hesitation, taught me everything I needed to know on how to photograph an Apollo Saturn 5b Rocket. At the time, I had no idea that he went to the same High School that my dad went too, Dewitt Clinton, and they were probably there in the same class. I also had no idea that Ralph generated one of the most famous photographs on the day of Babe Ruth’s farewell at Yankee Stadium, the same day that one of my other heroes Nat Fein won a Pulitzer Prize. I could go on and on and on. I will share one of Ralph’s funniest stories. He was photographing a Gemini launch got back to his hotel to find the director of photography wanted him to go to Moscow Immediately. Ralph packed up all of his gear and his clothes and flew to New York. A messenger, who accepted all of Ralph’s film, gave him new film, and a small suitcase of clothes met him there. He immediately flew to Moscow to find that he had all the film he needed, all the cameras he needed, but he had summer and spring clothes… it was the dead of winter. Ralph was there for over several weeks, he made an executive decision to purchase a fur coat. When he returned to the New York office and submitted his expense account, the bean counters went crazy, rejecting the (I don’t know the exact number, but we’ll call it $1800) coat. They demanded Ralph redo the expense account. The total with the fur coat was $6200. When he redid the expense account, the total came to $6800. He attached a small note to a paper clip for the accounting department that said, “Find the fur coat.” On my return from my recent trip to Cuba, I was actually in Florida when Ralph passed. Unfortunately I didn’t know. Ralph, you will be missed everyday. Thank you so much for being the person that you were. On my next trip to Israel, I will put a prayer in the Western Wall for you.
RIP Ralph Morse