Updated: December 24, 2008|
I first fell in love with LIS back during it's original run on
CBS. I immediately took great interest in the Jupiter-2! I
can still remember watching the first run of "Blast Off into
Space" and afterward grabbing my mom's steel popcorn bowl and
pretending it was the Jupiter-2 trying to get off that doomed
Later, in 1971 LIS was aired as a syndicated series on a local
TV station here. This marked the first time I saw "The
Reluctant Stowaway" and my love for the show was instantly
re-kindled! That was also the first time I began making the
first of what would eventually be many home-made Jupiter-2
models. The early ones were crude paper plate versions. The
later advanced to include full interiors and finally, in Jr.
High School, I built a large 18" model with full lighted
interior and retractable landing gear. However, even that
particular version was crude.
After marriage in 1981, I once again found my interest in LIS
rekindled with the aid of fanzines, blueprints, and contacts
with other fans. One, in particular was Gary Stork, who at
the time knew more about the Jupiter-2 than anyone I had ever
met! Together, with Flint Mitchell and Bill Anchors, we
produced the Alpha Control Reference Manual back in 1986 as
the first serious tech manual on the LIS universe.
It was during this time I also began collecting the few fan
produced LIS models on the market. Lunar Model's first kit,
their 8" vacuformed Jupiter-2 was one of my biggest
disappointments. In 1987, Lunar produced their 16" Jupiter-2
and I was immediately hooked. Between 1987 and the mid 1990's
I could not collect enough Lunar kits. Through all this I
became good friends with Lunar's owner, Mike Evans.
Eventually Mike would contract with me to produce patterns
such as the Proteus Interior. I also worked closely with Joel
Tavera whom I met in 1986. Together, Joel and I would egg
Mike on to produce more Irwin Allen kits while offering our
assistance in research for accuracy.
My involvement with Lunar Models culminated with my purchase
of the company in June 1997. Owning Lunar Models was a real
joy ride from beginning to end, however it was also like
having a second marriage considering the hours it consumed
each week. By Summer 2001 I began yearning for regular
employment again and began putting out "feelers" for potential
buyers. The sale of Lunar Models was completed Sept 1, 2001
just a few days short of that tragic event that struck our
nation on Sept 11.
A few weeks before the sale of the business I was hired by a
local School District here where I am still working as a
School Bus driver. My free time usually finds me in an
elaborate workshop I have set up in my garage building - you
guessed it, models!
In the summer of 1986 work on the Alpha Control Reference
Manual was nearing completion. My good friend, Gary Stork
came out to California to spend a few weeks with My wife and
I. We made contact with Mike Clark and asked if he would be
interested in seeing our book to which we agreed. We met Mike
at Columbia Studios where he was working and had lunch in the
studio commissary. Afterward, Mike had a little surprise for
us up his sleeve! He drove us (we were riding a studio golf
cart) to Irwin Allen's office building and escorted us right into Mr. Allen's office for a personal visit. What a thrill
it was to shake hands with the creator of all those great
shows and to personally express our gratitude for all the work
he had done.
The experience was one we will not soon forget and we owed it
all to Mike Clark who has contributed greatly in keeping
interest in the Irwin Allen universe alive!
I am also attaching images of Ron, myself, and Erin Gray with
the initial sculpt, along with an image of Mike Evans, Company
Founder, myself and Ron.