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Digital Research Library

   Kids TV

Jet Pilots Toys & Beyond

An Autograph letter from the legendary test pilot Chuck Yeager addressed to me.

The period between 1945 and 1979 is referred at times to the post-war era or the period of the post-war political consensus. During this period, aviation was dominated by the arrival of the jet age and lots of movies glorifying all the parts of the military making use of this new technology. .

 

For us kids it was an exciting new adventure, and professions to look towards, and the toy and model companies soon cashed in. For the public the jet engine allowed a huge expansion of commercial air travel, while for the military aviation led to the widespread introduction of supersonic aircraft.

By the end of World War II Germany and Britain already had operational jets in military service. In the next few years jet engines were being developed by all the major powers and military jet aircraft entering service with their air forces. 

Test Pilot Chuck Yeager standing next to the X-1 

the right stuff.jpg

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The Right Stuff

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Supersonic flight was achieved in 1947 by the American Bell X-1 rocket plane, however the use of rocket engines would prove short lived. The development of the afterburner soon allowed jet engines to provide similar levels of thrust and longer range, while needing no oxidant and being safer to handle. The first supersonic jet to enter service was the North American F-100 Super Sabre, in 1954.

Then of course the film studio's cashed in on the jet age craze and started cranking out story lines about the hero pilots and the mighty machines they flew on their harrowing adventures into the wide blue yonder. Only I was to young to go to the movie theater and had to wait almost a decade to experience it all in a different way. Like so many others my age when in the 1960's all these movies starred popping up on television.

For us kids the only way to roll play and get excited about these new technology advanced flying machines with out props were the model kits we built. There were no books to read at the library at this time so we clung to every word written in the instruction manuals and stared at the picture on the cover.

F-100 Super Sabre Model Kit

Sabre Jet starring Robert Stack

The Korean War was the back drop for many  exciting jet age adventures including our countries first military jet glorified in the movie called the  Sabre Jet  in 1953 starring Robert Stack. It was also cool that this  B-Movie idle of the silver screen was also hero to us kids as the famed TV FBI Agent known as Elliot Ness on the hit drama The Untouchables.  

The Bridges of Toko-Ri

F-100 Super Sabre Model Kit

The Bridges at Toko-Ri is a 1954 American war film about the Korean War and stars William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March, Mickey Rooney, and Robert Strauss

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The Bridges of Toko-RI

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Although both the airspeed and bank turn indicator operate automatically, constant attention must be given to guide the joystick. Failure to follow the radar scope blip will cause the “off course light” to blink, and an emergency alarm to sound.

 

Now for target practice, you could select one of the six aircraft images from a built-in-projector. Another switch moves those images across the wall into rocket range. FIRE 1-2-3-4! Okay, so I missed with the darts.

 

On the next pass, I’ll use the machine gun. My thumb is hovering over the joystick firing button. The enemy planes are moving along the wall.  Rat-a-tat-a-tat! The nice thing about machine gun sound effects is, you aim, you fire, and who’s to say?

 

In 1959 when Ideal Toys was unleashing their jet age toy line of flying simulators to us kids, we needed to be wearing a cool realistic jet helmet. So visor down. Snap on your kazoo speaker oxygen mask, and get ready to take off with a Steve Canyon helmet made of “sturdy fortaflex.” 

The Story of Steve Canyon his creator Milton Canoff             Coming Soon.

Ideal Toys Steve Canyon Creator Milton Canoff about Steve Canyon Helmet and Rocket Launcher

Ideal Toy’s Steve Canyon Helmet “Live” Segment with host Fred Scott

Ideal Toys children host Sandy Becker promoting Fighter Jet 1959

Steve Canyon TV Show 1958 starring Dean Fredericks   

Strategic Air Command. 

There were  a number of films that hit the screen around the importance of keeping peace in the country with the Strategic Air Command. 

 

This department of Defense Specified Command and a United States Air Force (USAF) Major Command (MAJCOM), responsible for Cold War command and control of two of the three components of the U.S. military's strategic nuclear strike forces, the so-called "nuclear triad," with SAC having control of land-based strategic bomber aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs (the third leg of the triad being submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) of the U.S. Navy). SAC also operated all strategic reconnaissance aircraft, all strategic airborne command post aircraft, and all USAF aerial refueling aircraft, to include those in the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) and Air National Guard (ANG).

The first film in 1955 was called Strategic Air Command starring James Stewart and June Allyson

Bombers B-52 starred tars Natalie Wood and Karl Malden, and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.. The film's story line concerns the introduction of the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber into the US Strategic Air Command.

​A Gathering of Eagles 1963 has Rock Hudson playing a Strategic Air Command B-52 wing commander. He must shape up his wing  to pass a grueling operational readiness inspection

Order

Strategic Air

Command

on DVD at Amazon 

Order

Strategic Air Command

on DVD at Amazon 

Jimmy Jet Commercial

by Deluxe Reading Toy Company

F 102 Dagger

F 102  Delta Dagger Model Kit

 Ryan X-13 in flight at Edwards Air Force Base

 Ryan X-13 Model Kit

Andrews Airforce Base 50th Anniversary of the Air Force  includes the F 102 Dagger Jet Ryan  Verta Jet

The Story of the X-15   Coming Soon

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