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  1. #1

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    Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    >>COLUMBIA, Mo. - Dan Viets isn't the attorney Columbia thinks he is at home. Oh no, no, no - he's a rocket man.

    Recently, Viets, wife Sheila Dundon and friend Don Jourdan set off in a two-vehicle caravan as Jourdan's F-150 pickup towed a trailer carrying a 40-foot novelty shaped like a rocket known as the Moonliner II. They were headed for the Airline History Museum in Kansas City.

    "I just think this is fascinating history," Viets said. "It was something I had always thought was really cool."

    Viets is a 54-year-old Walt Disney fanatic. For years, he said, he had seen the rocket stationed along Interstate 70, just west of Concordia. He even stopped a few times for a better look. Yet it wasn't until 1997, when he read "Disneyland: The Nickel Tour," that he realized the significance of what he had been visiting.

    In 1955, Disneyland opened its gates in California, and Trans World Airlines sponsored "Rocket to the Moon," a ride that featured a nearly 80-foot tall Moonliner at its entrance. When TWA built an administrative building in downtown Kansas City in 1956, Howard Hughes approved construction of the Moonliner II to top the structure.

    Disney and TWA ended their business agreement in 1962, and the Moonliner II came down from its perch. It was sold to Spacecraft Co., a business that used the metal figure to promote its camper-shell and recreational-vehicle operation. Spacecraft later moved to Concordia.

    The Moonliner II eventually became an I-70 landmark that Viets purchased in 1997. He declines to say how much it cost.

    "I spent a lot more - many, many times more - restoring it," he said. "If I had known how much it was going to cost me, I wouldn't have done it."<<

    ...read more at...

    http://www.belleville.com/mld/bellev...e/15635326.htm

  2. #2

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    Wow, what a find! Thanks for the post, Merlin!

    I would love to see a picture of it when it's put back up at the Museum.

  3. #3

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    pretty cool! pics would be awesome when it's put in the museum! thanx for sharing this info!
    I'd rather be at Disneyland




  4. #4

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    Great story. Thanks Merlin for posting this.
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  5. #5

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    Thanks, Merlin.

    BTW: whatever happened to the original Moonliner?
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
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  6. #6

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    Great story, Merlin. Thanks.
    Please visit my Big Thunder/Disney Inspired Model Railroad


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  7. #7

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    Why do they never have pictures of these things!!!! But, thanks for sharing anyway.

    Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

  8. #8

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    As many of you know...the Disneyland Moonliner was not always the TWA Moonliner. After TWA withdrew from the park, Douglas Aircraft took over sponsorship of the attraction and the Moonliner park icon:





    So last week I go poking around at an estate sale, and the gentleman that passed away apparently either worked in the aviation industry, or was an avid aviation model collector.

    And I'm not talking about the kind of models that you buy at your local hobby shop. These were professional type aircraft models that were hand-made for promotion and display purposes by the various aircraft manufacturers. I was told some go for thousands of dollars to collectors of these things.

    I got there on the last day of the sale and I could tell by the dozens of dusty shelves with the clean imprints of recently sold display bases, that the few models left were not considered hot items by previous model hunters. But my eye immediately went to a little "left-over" beauty that I picked up for a song. An original hand-made Douglas Disneyland Moonliner model that probably sat on some Douglas executive's desk at some point.

    Take a look at the newest addition to the Opus Archives (left shot as I found it, right shot now at home):



    Not quite as impressive as Dan Viets' TWA copy in Kansas City. But still...pretty cool Disneyana score, huh?


  9. #9

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    What a cool story. Thanks for sharing!

    Opus1, what a cool find for you. Congrats!

  10. #10

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    Great catch, Opus!

  11. #11

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    Thanks!

    I'm at that age where I've agreed with my honey that I should be unloading my Disney trinkets...not collecting more. So she's given me some grief over this little acuisition.

    Glad to hear others think it's not so crazy to be excited about.


  12. #12

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    I'm a little late to respond, but this was a great article. Always wonder where some pieces of Disneyland history end up.
    1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  13. #13

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    Re: Fate of the Original Moonliner Twin!

    Quote Originally Posted by Opus1guy View Post
    Thanks!

    I'm at that age where I've agreed with my honey that I should be unloading my Disney trinkets...not collecting more. So she's given me some grief over this little acuisition.

    Glad to hear others think it's not so crazy to be excited about.

    If the grief gets too much to bear, PM me. I will bail you out by taking it off your hands.
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
    -Art Linkletter July 17, 2005-


    When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.


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