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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Space-Boy: 1957

Space-Boy: 1957

In 1957 I was chosen to be a model for the Oklahoma Semi-Centennial publicity photos. I was 5 and had to wear a fishbowl for a space helmet. View full size.

Arrows to Atoms

Yes, the fishbowl helmet was uncomfortable and I had to use one hand to hold it on. I had a "real" space helmet but its faceplate was half silvered plastic so you couldn't see my face if I wore it. Don't know who cooked up the costume but it looks a lot like the outfit "3D Danny" (Danny Williams) wore on his afternoon kids show at the time. The boots are regular red galoshes but in B&W you can't really tell. I never met the cute young lady before or since the photo shoot. I think she was a year or two older than I.

The Big Arrows to Atoms tower in the background is still there at the OKC fair ground but now mounted atop a huge tower ride. Amazing how little has changed there in 50 years.

Zoomeray

The gun is a Zoomeray, made by Tigrett sometime around 1952. The company continued to make them for many years.

The barrel was a "Chinese Yo-Yo" -- a paper spool that, with a flick of the wrist, would launch forward two or three feet before snapping back into place. The toy came in red, yellow or gold. Red was the most popular. Today, reproductions are available through novelty stores.

Space Arrow 2007

"Official space helmet ON, Cap'n Video!"

This made me think of Norton's helmet on the Honeymooners episode. You couldn't buy a costume that detailed today.

Just brought me right back...

Crockett cap, check
Steve Canyon helmet! with drop down visor!
I can smell the plastic still...

Space Gizmo

Looking at the poster, captioned "From Arrows to Atoms", it would appear that the gizmo on top of the space helmet it the emblem of the entire expo. The shadow in the background must be a larger version of the space gizmo, which is both an arrow and an atom at the same time. There were probably many of them all over the grounds, and I would guess one big one at the center of the grounds. Sort of like the Trylon and Perisphere of the '39 World's fair.

Sputnik launched in 1957

How wonderful to see a photo from Oklahoma where I currently reside, thank you for sharing. These two cutiepies would be in their mid-50's about now (I'm much older) and LAST YEAR was the Oklahoma Centennial, 100 years of statehood. You may remember that in Tulsa they dug up a car that had been buried in '57 and it was rusted out and totally wasted, what a pity. This "helmet" made from a fishbowl looks VERY unsafe and like an accident waiting to happen from either suffocation or accidentally hitting your head on a post, claustrophobia, heat build-up or any number of possible mishaps. Heaven help the kid if they were unable to get the fishbowl off and had to break it to remove it. Yet he was as happy as a clam and the girl could not be more adorable. This is a real day-brightener, recalling the carefree, halcyon days of oblivious joy and fun that were the nifty fifties.

Semi-Centennial

Were you also wandering around the grounds in that outfit during the event? Somebody was; I remember seeing him.

Dad was from Atoka, and at that time there was a gentleman there who collected and restored nickelodeons. One of his was on the porch of the restored saloon, and everybody was marveling at it -- it was one of the complex ones, with a real violin inside that was played by rotating wax disks.

Dad saw the card, smiled, and dropped in a nickel. The machine played perfectly, of course. For a little while we had smiles and people dancing to the music.

The nickelodeon collector's shop burned down in the late 80s or early 90s, destroying at least fifty machines.

Regards,
Ric

And boy, when it disintegrates...

Looks like you were given a genuine Acme Disintegrating Gun for your space belt, as well. Terrific picture!

Boy in the Bubble

At least you didn't get cooties!

I missed out on the 50s...

...apparently. Going by mid-50s illustrations, cartoons and comic books, every kid had either a space helmet or a Davy Crockett coonskin cap. I didn't have either. I didn't even get to Disneyland until 1960. God, I was deprived.

Elroy Jetson!

Is that the shadow of your antenna on the backdrop behind you, or are you communicating with another Space-Boy?

Astro Boy!

So cute. Looks like you might have had a lil crush there. Great pic, thanks for sharing.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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