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The Rocky Jones Traveling Rocket

Cadet Doug Souter has found the Rocky Jones equivalent to the Ralston Rocket, the Silvercup Bread Rocket. A traveling rocket that has landed in a Michigan Farm/Junk Yard. Doug is in the process of negotiating it's release from it's last landing berth and is looking for help in restoring it to it's former glory.

This may be the rocket that Cadet Dick Dyszel (AKA Gore De Vol) saw touring Chicago in the early 50's as documented in the Solarguard comments page on the traveling rockets dated 8/11/99 . Dick had a video clip that may have helped in de terming if this is the same rocket. However, in this reply to Doug's email about the rocket, Dick does shed some light on the rocket " I never found the footage from that parade. It must have gotten lost in one of several moves. However, the pic you sent look exactly like the rocket that was both in the parade and was being moved around from shopping center to shopping center as the prize in the contest."

The rocket was another giveaway prize that was won by a family in St. Ignace. The family has moved but Cadet Doug may be able to research the winners from a file the current owner has.

Cadet Doug needs your help. The following pages contain pictures of the rocket and how the rocket was discovered. If a restoration project becomes a fact, he may need some "sweat equity" from fellow cadets. Contact the Academy or Cadet Doug directly if you have information about the rocket,about the contest or can help in it's restoration.

Now, On with Doug's story.

How I found the Rocket
by Cadet Doug Souter

It was a dark and stormy Saturday afternoon in the Summer of 1981 if my memory serves, my wife and I were driving down a two lane blacktop road on our way to a flea market near our cottage in western Michigan.

As we were coming over a hill there was a flash of lightning, silhouetted in the distance, seen through wind bent trees, I saw what appeared to be a Rocket Ship sitting at a 45 degree angle. When we arrived at the site of theapparition, we discovered that in fact it was a Rocket sitting in one of those farm junk/auto parts yards you often see in the country.

As it was raining heavily, we just stopped and stared at it for awhile, Iwas of the opinion that it was an old carnival ride of some kind, but itlooked real "Flash Gordonish" We continued on our way to the flea market and on the way back we stopped at the farm but nobody was home.Over the years gone by, I stopped at the farm a few times each summer butthere was never anyone around to give me permission to get past the fence, the Rocky Jones Space Rangers sign was on the far side of the Rocket, whichif I had known, I would have set up a tent to wait for the owner.

At last, 2 weekends ago my son and I were driving by the farm when I saw a YARD SALE sign in front of the "Used Space Rocket Lot" (the farm) luckily my son had his seat belt on, as I made an "Anti Terrorist U-Turn" and pulled up in the driveway. The owners wife was sitting at a table, I had asked her about the Rocket and misunderstood her when she mentioned the Diamond Bread company (Silvercup uses a diamond as a logo apparently).

As I later found out the Rocket was part of Silvercup Bread's advertising tied to the Rocky Jones, Space Ranger show. The rocket traveled the Midwest and was finally given away in a contest to a young boy in St. Ignace Michigan. The farmer ran across it rotting away and the current owners ofthe property gave it to him on the condition that he move it (what a deal)The farmers brother or cousin happened to be a Semi driver and he hooked up and they moved it to it's present site.

The farmer had hoped to restore the rocket but never got around to it. The child who won the rocket and his friends pretty much trashed the interior, the instruments are broken and the years of rain have rusted the rear bottom (near the fins) out. The shell body and doors are still amazingly strong and could be fixed without too much effort. The interior is in fantastic shape compared to the exterior. The owner has collected electrical equipment over the years, which can be seen in some of the shots, also he has new fluorescent lights for repairing the interior lighting.

The Rocket was powered by it's own on board generator located behind the stern door. According to the owner this rocket was completely custom built for Silvercup and must have cost a small fortune back in the 1950's. I hope that some of the Cadets out there can remember seeing this when it was touring.

Though you can't see them under all the stuff, there are benches and bunks along the amidships area, the owner told me that hobo's were using it as a camp when he removed it from St Ignace.

Just for background I have worked with a gentleman named Gerald Dress who played Happy's nephew on Space Patrol (he was on the show twice and his line was, "I don't want to go to school) Jerry has provided me with quite a few episodes of Space Patrol, I have roughly 30 hours of it on tape. Jerry and I would spend a lot of time talking about all the fun he used to have working with all the great actors. He kept up quite a line of communication with the late Nina Bara, as they were trying to determine where all the missing kinescopes that Wade (Williams) was supposed to have hidden away. Nothing ever came of that, as she died and her husband refused to have anything further to do with the situation.

Anyways Cadet Ed, this is the start of my story and as the serials say,"Continued Next Week".

Cadet Douglas C. Souter

1950's Pictures

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