Thursday, April 1, 2021

Space: 1947, Atomic Spaceships

 

Before flying saucers, space ships were made famous in science fiction books, magazines, comics, and movies. Toys based on space adventures were popular as a result. Sometimes spaceships were used to sell breakfast cereal.

The website for Kix states, “Since we made our first batch of crispy corn puffs in 1937, KIX® has been dedicated to helping kids get a bright start to their day.” Like a lot of products marketed to kids, they often used advertising gimmicks, in this case, toy spaceships.

 

Advertisements for the Kix Jet Atomic model Space Ships appeared in the Sunday color alongside famous newspaper comics, “Jet Atomic model Space Ships.”

 

There were eight models: Astral Ace, Cosmic Cruiser, Interplanetary Interceptor, Jeto Jeep, Lunar Schooner, Phantom Planeteer, Radar Raycraft, and Solar Streak.


 

The toy spaceships were printed on the back of Kix cereal boxes, which required they be cut out and assembled. 


They were intended to resemble the spaceships from Buck Rogers, but the execution was hampered by the limitations of the cardboard medium, so what we got was colorful paper airplanes. The boxes also had ideas for games, and some educational content about atomic power, spacecraft, and technology.



 

The first version of the ad ran in May. "Flash Gordon" comic strip by Mac Raboy, dated May 25, 1947, had the Kix cereal ad placed below it.


 

The next month, an even more exciting version of the ad appeared on Sunday, June 22, 1947. 



While there was no mention of Martians or other aliens, it talked about Air Pirates, landing on the moon, and Space Rays, with “Fantastic facts for future pilots inside every box.”  “Gripping stuff about future planes changing shape after taking off… how jet planes fly… how radar sees the unseen! Man, it’s dynamite!”


 

The Coming of the Saucers 


Two days after the Kix "Strato Pilot" ad, Kenneth Arnold had his famous sighting that launched the flying saucer craze. He spotted nine unidentified objects he estimated were travelling at 1200 miles per hour, but initially he was reluctant to speculate on their origin and make up. The next month in Pendleton, Oregon, the UFO pioneer lectured on his experience and the newspaper headline for the story was, “Kenneth Arnold Suggests ‘Flying Discs’ May Make Use Of Atomic Power.” The East Oregonian, July 17, 1947 reported he said,

 “Any object traveling at that speed (1382.40 mph) would run into wall of air molecules which would make flight impossible. That wall of atmosphere would have to be destroyed to clear path for the plane.”

The Oregonian reported, “A cyclotronic device mounted in the nose of disc could destroy the atoms in its path and perhaps use their energy as fuel, [Arnold] theorized.”


 

We just have to wonder. On that fateful day in June 1947, what did Kenneth Arnold have for breakfast? 


Space: 1947, Atomic Spaceships

  Before flying saucers, space ships were made famous in science fiction books, magazines, comics, and movies. Toys based on space adventure...