When I was kid way back in the 1960s, I had a ton of G.I. Joes. My prize possession was the small space capsule, just big enough for Joe, donning his foil suit and helmet with visor, to sit in.
Here it is in the second half of this one-minute commercial.
Like any child with a toy plane or spaceship, I really really REALLY wished it could do what the real thing did, with my doll inside. (Toy Story, anyone!) Running around the kitchen table with it in my hand while I made guttural blast off sounds was fun and all, but it was a little lacking. Oh, if only that capsule could actually leave the atmosphere and orbit the Earth, if only Joe could go for a space walk and experience zero gravity; it would have been the next best thing to experiencing it myself.
Eventually, I put away the G.I. Joes, and so too wishing those scale models were functional. You could say along with childhood, I left a certain kind of imagination behind.
But not everyone abandons that certain kind of imagination. And that’s a very good thing.
Here then is an example of someone who never lost that spark. Mercury Joe is a rocketry project dedicated to sending G.I. Joe (and other figures) on the ride of their plastic lives in a replica Mercury capsule. I don’t know the Mercury Joe people, but it’s safe to say they get a great deal of joy out of doing this. I’ll bet part of that joy derives from achieving a childhood dream.
You can watch the preparations and launches on YouTube. It’s great fun.
Here’s the Mercury Joe website.