Phantom Showtime

Robert Taylor





Phantom Showtime Robert Taylor

Back on deck, first to shake the hands of Lt. Randy Cunningham and his Radar Intercept Officer, Lt. (jg) Willie 'Irish' Driscoll, was ordnanceman Willie White: "Mr Cunningham, we got our MiG today, didn't we!"

It was 19 January, 1972, aboard the USS Constellation in the Gulf of Tonkin. As Cunningham shut down the engines of his 'Fighting Falcons' F-4J Phantom, Task Force 77 Commander Admiral Cooper, ship's CO Captain Ward, squadron commanders, and the rest of VF- 96's crews were there to congratulate Cunningham and Driscoll on achieving their first kill. It was the first of five air victories, Cunningham and Driscoll becoming the US Navy's only Aces of the Vietnam war. After the usual vision-blurring catapult off the deck, Cunningham's F-4J headed for the North Vietnamese airfield at Quang Lang, suspected of basing MiG-21s. His three-ship section was tasked to intercept any MiGs that threatened the reconnaissance RA-5C Vigilante mission as the force approached the enemy airfield.

As the RA-5C came under severe fire from AAA and SAMS, Cunningham dodged two missiles, plunging downward from 15,000 feet in the process. Spotting two Bai Thiong-based MiG-21s below, he tracked them just above the jungle tops, closing to within range of his heat-seeking Sidewinders. The MiG pilot broke hard, throwing off the missile, and Cunningham immediately gave his attention to the second enemy fighter. Firing a second Sidewinder, the missile scored a direct hit, blasting off the entire tail section of the MiG, sending is crashing straight into the ground in a ball of fire. Cunningham was now fired up and ready for more, but the dependable Driscoll called attention to the low fuel state from the back seat, and they turned back toward Laos for the long flight back to the Constellation.

Robert Taylor's spectacular painting shows Cunningham's F-4J Phantom, feet above the murky waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, passing the USS Constellation at 500 knots. The mighty carrier was running out of water in the small Gulf as Cunningham called up the Air Boss requesting the traditional victory roll. "Negative, land immediately." was the terse reply. The mood aboard however was one of celebration for the crew of VF-96's Phantom, call sign 'Showtime 112'.



Each print of Phantom Showtime is authenticated by legendary US Navy Aces -


Matching numbered certificate of authenticity included.

Overall Print Size 34 1/4"x 23 1/2" (inches) Printed in lightfast inks on acid free archival paper.


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Signed and Numbered Edition
UK £200.00
Edition Size - 25

Artist Proof
UK £320.00
Edition Size - 25

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An edition of identical prints, numbered sequentially and individually signed by the artist, having a stated limit to the quantity in the edition. Following publication the printing plates are destroyed. Almost all the aviation art and aircraft prints featured on this website are authenticated with the original signatures of distinguished military personnel.

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An old tradition of reserving a quantity of prints for the artist's use, usually equal to about 10 % of the edition. In the early days of printing, these prints were the only remuneration the poor artist received. Proofs are signed by the artist and numbered showing the quantity of Artist's Proofs issued in the edition. Because of their highly restricted number, Artist's Proofs are sold at a higher value than the regular prints in the edition.

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A quantity of prints, not always announced or issued at the time of publication, usually equal to no more than 10% of the edition. These are reserved for the publisher's use, mostly for donation to Museums, Service establishments, Service Associations, and the like. Quantities of Publishers Proofs, sometimes issued with a supplementary print, may be made available to collectors either at the time of publication, or at a later date, depending upon availability.

Remarqued print:

A print issued with an original pencil drawing by the artist in the margin, each numbered out of the quantity of individually remarqued prints in the edition. The quantity of remarqued prints in any one edition generally is between 25 and 50. Each remarque drawing made by the artist is slightly different, thus making each print totally unique. Remarqued prints may be available at the time of publication, or announced at a later date, depending upon the artist's work load at the time .Please be aware that Remarque prints can take up to six weeks for delivery. An artist remarqued print is the ultimate collector item in terms of reproduced work.

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Certificate of Authenticity:

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