Jump to content

Santa’s Rocket Ship


Drosselmeyer
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Moderator

A Brief History of Santa's Rocket Ship

Tom Joslin   JALOPNIK       12/25/10

18n6av77tdv8tjpg.jpg

Santa's Rocket Ship was used for holiday season promotions at malls in the Southern half of America for several decades before ending up in a former junkyard that is now an amusement park in Alaska.

The book "Weird Cars" by John Gunnell of Old Cars Weekly had a big part in making me a lover of automotive oddities. I got "Weird Cars" when it first came out in 1993 and read it cover to cover more times than I can count. One of the many weird vehicles which I still sometimes wonder about is Santa's Rocket Ship. This year as the Holidays approached, I decided to find out what happened to the Rocket Ship.

18n6av77yy7aijpg.jpg

Santa's Rocket Ship was built and owned by Lloyd Laster of Tyler, TX. It was one of a fleet of five vehicles (3 Santa's Rockets, a "Rocket Sleigh" and a "Space Sleigh") built from commercial bus chassis for promotional use during the holiday season. The vehicles traveled all over the southern and southwest parts of the country taking Holiday Shoppers on joy rides while making appearances at shopping centers and malls. Each of the Santa's Rocket Ships traveled with a crew of five; a driver, two attendants, a hostess, and of course Santa Claus. Laster started in the 1950s with one Santa's Rocket Ship and had gradually built up the fleet of five Christmas vehicles by the time he retired in 1974.

At that point in time Laster sold his business complete with all 5 Christmas vehicles to a man named Bill Griffith who lived in Wisconsin. Griffith operated the vehicles throughout the Midwest for several more years before the cost of maintaining and fueling 5 huge old vehicles caught up with Griffith. The Rocket Ships and Sleighs were parked. Two of the Christmas vehicles were sold to Bill Siros' Auto Thrill Show. A lot of internet research couldn't even come up with a mention of the vehicles and Bill Siros' together, let alone what role the old vehicles played in an auto thrill show. We sure would love to know.

One of the other Christmas vehicles ended up in a Southern Wisconsin junkyard. The Santa's Rocket Ship seen here and another of Santa's super rocket ships were photographed at a different salvage and surplus operation in Wisconsin and submitted to Old Car's Weekly who uncovered the mystery of what the vehicles were in the late 1980s. Weird Cars leaves the fate of the two rocket ships as being sold to an unknown buyer in Alaska, casting some doubt as to whether the two rocket ships would ever make it out of the lower 48. Although, we don't think they both made it, as you can tell by the pictures, one did.

A little internet research revealed that Santa's Rocket Ship now resides at Mukluk Land, a former junkyard that has been turned into a roadside attraction/arcade in Tok, Alaska. It is believed to be the only of the five vehicles that is still intact. Along with seeing The Santa's Rocket Ship for a small admission fee you can jump in an inflatable igloo, play skeeball or take in the other weird sights you might expect a place called Mukluk land to offer. Next time you are traveling the Alaskan Highway be sure to stop at mile marker 1317 and see Santa's Rocket Ship in what may be its final resting place.

Source:    https://jalopnik.com/a-brief-history-of-santa-s-rocket-ship-5717297?fbclid=IwAR0EZOq3Ud5wynSnWJIFFwjs2QYOTonNGhy2XbV89ePBgOzogMdUlTqyz9w

  • Like 4
  • Wow 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

found some more . . . 

Did you know that Santa’s sleighs were once built and based in Tyler, Texas?
In the 1960s & 1970s, the Santa Claus Rocket Corporation, with Lloyd B. Laster as president, operated these custom-built, space-age-style vehicles, making scheduled, seasonal visits to give children free rides with Santa, his space hostess, pilot, and copilot. There were at least three different designs: Santa’s Rocket Sleigh, Santa’s Rocket Ship, and Santa’s Space Sleigh. Each had their own power plant for flashing Christmas lights and music.
Images and information about these vehicles can be found in Robert Reed’s books “Images of America: Tyler” and “Postcard History: Tyler.”
390390_10150409167096586_496740127_n.jpg
 
387813_10150409167176586_779988014_n.jpg
 
379783_10150409167266586_1772875547_n.jp
 
393362_10150409167326586_1288628923_n.jp
 
385139_10150409167426586_1311043872_n.jp
 
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Santa and His Rocket Ship and Santa's Moon Rocket (1976?)

12/18/20

1976SantaClausRocket08.jpg

So this is a Christmas post based on some great pieces of ephemera I found about: "The Santa Claus Rocket." As part of holiday promotions shopping malls would have special Santa events to attract shoppers.  One of these available for rent was The Santa Claus Rocket. I found a number of pamphlets from the company about this rental and wanted to share. Is this what you want for Christmas? Well it may be stuck in the heads of those kids that did get to do this. And there is more, for an extra treat I have Santa's Moon Rocket too.

1976SantaClausRocket02.jpg

 

1976SantaClausRocket05.jpg

 

1976SantaClausRocket11.jpg

Source:   http://dreamsofspace.blogspot.com/2020/12/santa-and-his-rocket-ship-and-santas.html

  • Like 2
  • Wow 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator

Absolutely fantastic and very interesting! I had no idea but what a sign of the times for those of us that remember the 50's and 60's! Thanks so much for the research and sharing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This looks like fun. :santa_cheesy:

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want one!

  • Like 4
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

🎄 COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

  • Days
  • Hours
  • Minutes
  • Seconds

Post your pictures and comments here daily!

  • Donations

    All donations go directly towards the cost of hosting and running ClausNet!

    Your support, through donations or simply by clicking on sponsor links, is greatly appreciated!

    Donate Sidebar by DevFuse
  • Our picks

    • How do You Portray Santa?
      Portraying Santa is acting; it is a characterization of a mythical character.

      Most of us never think of ourselves as actors, but we are. Certain characteristics of Santa Claus have been handed down from one generation to another. The way we dress and conduct ourselves all follow an established pattern.

      Santa Claus is one of the most recognizable characters throughout the world. This came about from the advertising campaign of the Coke Cola Company and the creative painting genius, of Haddon Sundblom. Coke Cola was looking to increase winter sales of its soft drink and hired Sundblom to produce illustrations for prominent magazines. These illustrations appeared during the holiday season from the late 1930s into the early 1970s and set the standard for how Santa should look.

      This characterization of Santa with rosy cheeks, a white beard, handlebar mustache plus a red costume trimmed in white fur is the image most everyone has in their minds. Unconsciously people are going to judge you against that image. If your beard isn’t white or you have a soiled suit it will register with the onlooker.

      By the way, the majority of Sundblom's paintings depict Santa with a Brown Belt and Brown Boots. Not until his later illustrations did he change the color to Black for these items. Within the past few years many costume companies have offered the Coke Cola Suit and it has become very popular. You can tell it by the large buttons and absence of fur down the front of the jacket.

      No matter how you portray Santa, be it home visits, schools, churches, parades, corporate events, malls, hospitals we all make an entrance and an impression! The initial impression we make determines if our client will ask us to return.

      The 5 Second Rule

      I have a theory: When you enter the presence of your audience you have about 5 seconds to make people believe you are the real Santa.
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 5 replies
    • If You Have the Post Christmas Blues You’re Doing Christmas Wrong
      The post-Christmas blues are a very real thing. Once the date of December 25th has passed the specter of December 26th is an ominous marker to many. It sits there on the calendar like the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come. Silent and foreboding, the very image of the hooded Angel of Death it seems to be. And why not?

      Just about anywhere you look Americans are tossing trees to the curb, ripping down lights from rooftops and radio stations are flipping back to everyday music. What took months to build gets deconstructed in a matter of a couple of days.
        • Love
        • Like
      • 26 replies
    • Not Everyone Can Be Santa!
      Yes, I said it and it is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. I do view many Facebook sites along with websites and posted photos. Frankly, many of these postings should have never been put on public display.
        • Thanks
        • Love
        • Like
      • 8 replies
    • Auld Lang Syne
      Every New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight, millions around the world traditionally gather together to sing the same song, “Auld Lang Syne”. As revilers mumble though the song’s versus, it often brings many of them to tears – regardless of the fact that most don’t know or even understand the lyrics. Confusion over the song’s lyrics is almost as much of a tradition as the song itself. Of course that rarely stops anyone from joining in.
        • Wow
        • Love
        • Like
      • 3 replies
    • Merry Christmas, My Friend
      Every year around this time, some variation of this poem is circulated online. The poem is generally credited to “a soldier stationed in Okinawa” or more recently since September 11, 2001, “a Marine stationed in Afghanistan”.

      However, the poem’s true author is Lance Corporal James M. Schmidt.

      Originally entitled, “Merry Christmas, My Friend”, Corporal Schmidt wrote the poem in 1986 while serving as Battalion Counter Sniper at the Marine Barracks 8th & I, in Washington, D.C.

      That day the poem was placed in the Marine Corps Gazette and distributed worldwide. Schmidt’s poem was later published in Leatherneck (Magazine of the Marines) in December 1991.
        • Sad
        • Love
        • Like
      • 1 reply
×
×
  • Create New...