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Old 09-27-2010, 12:45 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Default "Wild Kingdom" rockets

Hello All,

When I watched Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom" television program (hosted by Marlin Perkins and featuring Jim Fowler) in the early 1970s, there were two installments of the show in which rockets were used.

One involved a rocket-lofted net that was used to capture monkeys by suddenly pulling the net over their tree. The rockets were rather short, squat cylinders fitted with short sticks, and they appeared to be made of metal tubing. They used paper-cased rocket motors (they looked like Estes "D" motors but didn't look like they were labeled), and the bottom ends of their sticks were attached to the edge of the net. Messrs. Perkins and Fowler set up perhaps 12 - 15 or more of the rockets around the tree, and they had small angled metal frames for launchers. When fired, the rockets sounded like model rocket motors and left smoke trails that looked like black powder motor exhaust. If they were model rocket motors, they were plugged in front, as they had no ejection charges. The monkeys were, of course, very surprised by the sudden turn of events!

The other involved a simulated bomb (a training target for one or more U.S. Navy dolphins) that was launched from a ship by a short-range (perhaps 20 - 30 miles) three-stage rocket. All I remember about the rocket (besides the on-air comment that it had three stages) were that it was red in color, its first stage exhaust plume looked like what I now know to be the exhaust plume of a double-base propellant motor, and that it was launched at about a 45 degree angle. The simulated bomb payload, which divers photographed after the dolphin(s) found it on the ocean bottom, had an elongated teardrop-shaped body with four clipped delta tail fins. It was sitting on its nose, its tail end angled upward at 30 to 45 degrees to the sea floor, resting on a deployed frame of metal tubing that had either telescoped backward out of the nose or folded outward away from the device's body.

Do either or both of these rockets ring a bell with anyone here? If scale data on them could be found, they would certainly make quite unusual scale model rockets (the "monkey net rockets" could easily be built at 1:1 scale).
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Last edited by blackshire : 09-27-2010 at 12:56 AM. Reason: This ol' hoss done forgot somethin'.
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Old 09-27-2010, 02:51 AM
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Royatl Royatl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackshire
Hello All,

When I watched Mutual of Omaha's "Wild Kingdom" television program (hosted by Marlin Perkins and featuring Jim Fowler) in the early 1970s, there were two installments of the show in which rockets were used.

One involved a rocket-lofted net that was used to capture monkeys by suddenly pulling the net over their tree. The rockets were rather short, squat cylinders fitted with short sticks, and they appeared to be made of metal tubing. They used paper-cased rocket motors (they looked like Estes "D" motors but didn't look like they were labeled), and the bottom ends of their sticks were attached to the edge of the net. Messrs. Perkins and Fowler set up perhaps 12 - 15 or more of the rockets around the tree, and they had small angled metal frames for launchers. When fired, the rockets sounded like model rocket motors and left smoke trails that looked like black powder motor exhaust. If they were model rocket motors, they were plugged in front, as they had no ejection charges. The monkeys were, of course, very surprised by the sudden turn of events!




The movie "Hatari" (1962), starring John Wayne and Red Buttons, featured a scene of monkeys being driven into a net by rockets.

I remember seeing this movie on TV when I was 12 when I was staying the weekend with another of my rocketry buddies. We stayed up until the end credits and *I* remembered there being a credit for Coaster Rockets. A few years ago, I rented the movie and saw no such credit, so I don't know where I came up with that. The only thing I knew about Coaster in '68-'69 was what was in The Handbook of Model Rocketry (1st edition) that was in the regional library.

Later, Jerry Irvine stated on rec.models.rockets that FSI made them, but I don't think FSI existed then. FSI did eventually do movie sfx rockets; I once saw a set of badly processed black and white prints from them showing a bunch of congreve rockets they had made for some movie of about 20 years or so ago.

I suspect the rockets you saw (and I saw used in 'Hatari') were just regular old skyrockets without display shells.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:24 AM
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Mutual of Omaha has a "WildKingdomTV" channel on YouTube. It has about 88 episodes. You might go there and see if they've posted that episode.
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Old 09-27-2010, 03:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Royatl
Mutual of Omaha has a "WildKingdomTV" channel on YouTube. It has about 88 episodes. You might go there and see if they've posted that episode.
Interesting--thank you for this link (and for the information on "Hatari")--I'll see if those episodes are on there.

The monkey net rockets in the episode looked like heavy-duty, factory-production items designed to be transported through rugged terrain rather than one-offs. The electrical firing system was a rugged-looking metal unit like the old metal Centuri one, but bigger. The metal launcher stands also appeared to be very robust. The paper-cased rocket motors were loaded into the rockets' body tubes, which I'm pretty sure were metal. All of the pieces of the outfit looked like items that were designed to be reused many times (except the rocket motors, of course) in remote areas with little or no servicing required.
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Black Shire--Draft horse in human form, model rocketeer, occasional mystic, and writer, see:
http://www.lulu.com/content/paperba...an-form/8075185
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6122050
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
All of my book proceeds go to the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre www.northcotehorses.com.
NAR #54895 SR
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Old 09-27-2010, 04:12 AM
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blackshire blackshire is offline
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Roy, you may very well have actually seen a credit for Coaster in "Hatari" when you first watched it on television, as VHS and DVD releases not uncommonly lose bits of footage to "the cutting room floor." For example, the late Jerry Wichner (a local Miami radio talk show host, pilot, and ham radio operator [Call Sign: K4ALW]) had a short dancing scene in Frank Sinatra's "Tony Roma" which was cut from it for the sake of time in many releases.
__________________
Black Shire--Draft horse in human form, model rocketeer, occasional mystic, and writer, see:
http://www.lulu.com/content/paperba...an-form/8075185
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6122050
http://www.lulu.com/product/cd/what...of-2%29/6126511
All of my book proceeds go to the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre www.northcotehorses.com.
NAR #54895 SR

Last edited by blackshire : 09-27-2010 at 04:15 AM. Reason: This ol' hoss done forgot somethin'.
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