This ad ran in 1967, at the height of the Space Race, and was a huge marketing hit for the folks at the model giant Revell from what I can tell. This mockup was actually built by the folks at McDonnell Aircraft Company, the same firm that built that actual Gemini capsules and simulators. In fact it was built as part of the Gemini Program itself and was deemed surplus as the Apollo program came on-line, so its accuracy and authenticity were top notch. The deal was that the kid who won the capsule, along with other prizes including every single model kit Revell had on the market and five years worth of ice cream, had to donate it to a museum so that many other kids could also enjoy it. Strangely enough, a 13 year old from my home town of Portland, Oregon won the prize. Although the advertisement says the capsule would be delivered by a “Flying Guppy” air transport, it was apparently delivered by train to the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry. In fact, I remember playing in this capsule as a kid, although until today I had no clue about the fascinating story of how it ended up at OMSI and that is was actually authentic.
It would be great to see companies attempt to inspire young peoples’ interests in science and technology through similar contests today. Not every kid dreams of taking a tour of Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory or meeting a famous musician, some would rather have an opportunity to learn more about the incredible world of aerospace technology and spaceflight. Bravo to Revell for realizing this and accommodating many young curious minds of the 1960’s!
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