Once upon a time, in a land long ago, Christmas was celebrated with shiny aluminum trees. Oh, what modern marvels! How they glinted, glittered, and reflected the rotating colors angled upwards into those metallic branches. We were in the space age after all! After school, children were entertained by space men on the television, astronauts, and futuristic travlers.
In Kansas in the 1960's, "Major Astro" hosted the daily after school television program on KARD out of Wichita. The program of movies or cartoons, puppets, and characters was inspired by the Mercury astronauts, reflecting the new space age efforts of the Air Force and NASA, and the age-old dream of going "out there." It delighted and inspired children for many years. Everyday children would rush home to make sure they did not miss the smiling Major who always wished us "Happy orbits!" [ He was on the air from 1962 to 1973. Astro, played by Tom Leahy, died at age 87 in June. There is even a Facebook Fan Page honoring him.]
The shiny trees were just another part of this modern, futuristic, science fiction-turning-into-reality environment. We watched launches into history on small grainy pictured televisions, played with toy ray guns and flew into the 'wild blue yonder' of the imagination. Today, they are making a come back, as new versions and vintage finds. In Brevard, NC is the only museum devoted to preserving and sharing the history of these vintage delights. Stop by if you can and remember a tme when there were dreams, confidence, and local television personalties.
(Click on the title above to link to their site).