Rocket Ships and Romance

I grew up watching the old 1950s science fiction films and what I miss most from those old films are the sleek and cool looking rocketships.  I was born in the 50s, in the middle fifties, but by the 1960s there all these reruns of the though old films on TV.   There were maybe a dozen or films involving rocket ships and flight, with rockets flying to the moon, Venus, Mars, Neptune, and even beyond our star system.

There was something sexy and cool about these rocket ships.  Some went to place satellites in  orbit.  Others brought monsters back space, such as “”Twenty Million Miles to Earth”, where a rocket to Venus returns and crashes in Mediterranean Sea of the coast of Italy.  The only survivors are an astronaut and a creature in a bottle which when opened grows to monstrous proportions.

Other rockets carried interesting into space or brought others back.  Abbot and Costello to rocket to Mars and ended up on Venus, where they met all these Amazonian Women.  Another rocket went to Venus and met “The Queen of Outer Space”, Zsa Zsa Gabor.  She and her sister Eva were to the fifties and sixties what  the Kardashians are to the world today.

What I’m trying to get at was that rockets had a romance to them, sort of like the sailing ship 18th and 19th centuries.  Author Ray Bradbury like rocket ships so much that some of them traveled faster than light through the galaxy.  Many, many other rockets went to Mars in Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” and in his short story collections “R is for Rocket” and “S is for Space”.

I understand his love of rockets.  When I was a little kid, my parents gave me a Cape Canaveral rocket set for Christmas.  It was one of my favorite toy sets and I especially the little Nike missile which look so much like a rocket ship.  I play for hours and days and week and months with it, pretending my knee or my bed or my desk  or the carpet in our living or the lawn outside was the surface of an alien world.  I imagined little astronauts getting out of the wandering around the alien world.  I even flew (with my hands) my rocket into the webs of orb-weaving spiders to kill the giant alien monsters.

I don’t know what happen to my toy rockets.  My miniature Nike missile was my favorite toy–until the twenty-inch styrofoam Jupiter Two came out, that is.  And Major Matt Mason, the precursor to the giant G. I. Joe dolls.  (Imagine that: a foot-tall G.I. Joe!)

I’ll probably never see another little toy Nike like that one again.  And, if I do, it will probably cost thousands of dollars–far too much for a little toy rocket.

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