Supermarket Spaceships

These 1950s life-sized mock-ups helped prepare Americans for the real Space Age.

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Salvaging the Silvercup

“This is not a prank call,” Greg Ward once telephoned state police. “My boss ordered me to go search for a 40-foot-long, 1950s vintage science fiction rocket, buy it, and bring it home.” Immediately the trooper replied, “Oh, the Silvercup Rocket!” Ward, senior conservator at the Air Zoo Aerospace & Science museum in Portage, Michigan, knew about the rocket because staff member Thom Sherman had informed Bob Ellis, chief executive and president of the museum, that he had seen it on a road trip somewhere between Benton Harbor and Kalamazoo, 10 years earlier. Ward rented an airplane to search for it, with no luck. So he called the police. They got him in touch with the owner, Wayne Huddleston, who had been refusing to sell it for years. Huddleston greeted Ward with homemade pie and queued-up episodes of the Silvercup Rocket’s inspiration, Rocky Jones, Space Ranger. After showing the owner the museum’s detailed plans for the rocket’s restoration, he finally agreed to sell.  


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