Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Day Ricky Won a Rocket

Januaray 12, 1954 - It was a chilly winter day when Ricky Walker beheld the sight of his life, a full-scale rocket ship roll-up into the driveway of his family's modest home in Washington, D.C.
Today was declared "Ricky Walker Day!" Today at 3:15 pm at the town square he was to be officially presented as the grand prize winner of the Terra V "Ralston Rocket." And here the rocket would complete the final leg of a promotional tour for the television program Space Patrol, Weather-Bird Shoes and Ralston Cereals.

It all began back in September 1953 with the announcement of the "Name The Planet Contest," a 10,000 pound "contest to end all contests" as kids all across America clambered to become the lucky winner of the rocketship clubhouse.

Rocket ship prize winner, Ricky, wearing his space helmet

Kids greeting ship in Washington's square in cardboard space helmets, truck on which it came is also part of prize, Ricky will sell truck and keep space ship in backyard of his parent's modest home.

Inside the ship is equipped as a clubhouse, with eight folding bunks, table, benches, phone, kitchen and power generator.

From the Photographers of LIFE
Location: Washington, D.C., US
Date taken: January 13, 1954
Photographer: Yale Joel

Launch this excellent fan site for more: Space Patrol Terra V Rocket


  1. Fantastic webpage! I was listening to THE CLAW OF VENUS, which I'm sure you know is the episode broadcast on 1-9-54 (the year of my birth) in which they announced the long-awaited winner of THE NAME THE PLANET CONTEST. I wanted to see if I could find a site that might tell me the name, and possibly even show me a photo, of the winner before I heard it announced. When I found this site, it was like hitting the motherlode! Filled with photographs by LIFE photographers no less, and interesting text to go along with them. More than I could have asked for. WELL DONE and THANK YOU!!

  2. I won one of the 750 second prizes - a Schwinn bike. We lived in Buffalo at the time and I remember reading an article in the Buffalo Evening News that listed the dozens of contest winners from the Buffalo area.

  3. It was Washington ILLINOIS not Washington DC. That's a fact.

  4. As a 9 year old in Washington IL I was there that day. It was an amazing sight!

    1. Do you have any photos from that day Larry?