This stylized photo depicts, as if sitting on some distant planet, the latest in the Sci-Fi Moonliner series. The original rocket appeared in 1962 at Disneyland, as part of the park’s Tomorrowland exhibit. The joint brainchild of Howard Hughes and Walt Disney, it represented the future of space travel then. It was also an early example of product placement, touting Hughes’ TWA Airlines. Several iterations of it followed, leading to the pictured fourth one in this series, which now sits atop of the former TWA headquarters building in KC.
The rocket’s paint scheme was styled after TWA’s Lockheed Constellations, which were the flagship aircraft for the carrier at the time. It was supposed to be nuclear powered and was envisioned as offering passenger service to the moon. It must have inspired entrepreneur Elon Musk in his pursuits with SpaceX and even Tesla, where his real-life rockets both takeoff and land vertically. The real Moonliner was projected to begin regular lunar service by 1985. Well, that never happened, but heck we got TikTok instead. In ’62 who would have thought of that? The following TikTok video was texted to us by our son Dan. I wonder now if we should be changing all the locks on the house or is it already too late?