Updated: May 20, 2021|
I first fell in love with LIS back during it's original run on
CBS. I immediately took great interest in the Jupiter-2! I can
still remember watching the first run of "Blast Off into Space"
and afterward grabbing my mom's steel popcorn bowl and pretending
it was the Jupiter-2 trying to get off that doomed planet!
Later, in 1971 LIS was aired as a syndicated series on a local TV
station here. This marked the first time I saw "The Reluctant Stowaway"
and my love for the show was instantly re-kindled! That was also
the first time I began making the first of what would eventually be
many home-made Jupiter-2 models. The early ones were crude paper plate
versions. The later advanced to include full interiors and finally, in
Jr. High School, I built a large 18" model with full lighted interior
and retractable landing gear. However, even that particular version was
After marriage in 1981, I once again found my interest in LIS rekindled
with the aid of fanzines, blueprints, and contacts with other fans. One,
in particular was Gary Stork, who at the time knew more about the Jupiter-2
than anyone I had ever met! Together, with Flint Mitchell and Bill Anchors,
we produced the Alpha Control Reference Manual back in 1986 as the first
serious tech manual on the LIS universe.
It was during this time I also began collecting the few fan produced LIS
models on the market. Lunar Model's first kit, their 8" vacuformed Jupiter-2
was one of my biggest disappointments. In 1987, Lunar produced their 16"
Jupiter-2 and I was immediately hooked. Between 1987 and the mid 1990's
I could not collect enough Lunar kits. Through all this I became good friends
with Lunar's owner, Mike Evans.
Eventually Mike would contract with me to produce patterns such as the Proteus
Interior. I also worked closely with Joel Tavera whom I met in 1986. Together,
Joel and I would egg Mike on to produce more Irwin Allen kits while offering
our assistance in research for accuracy.
My involvement with Lunar Models culminated with my purchase of the company in
June 1997. Owning Lunar Models was a real joy ride from beginning to end,
however it was also like having a second marriage considering the hours it
consumed each week. By Summer 2001 I began yearning for regular employment again
and began putting out "feelers" for potential buyers. The sale of Lunar Models
was completed Sept 1, 2001 just a few days short of that tragic event that struck
our nation on Sept 11.
A few weeks before the sale of the business I was hired by a local School District
here where I am still working as a School Bus driver. My free time usually finds
me in an elaborate workshop I have set up in my garage building - you guessed it,
In the summer of 1986 work on the Alpha Control Reference Manual was nearing
completion. My good friend, Gary Stork came out to California to spend a few weeks
with My wife and I. We made contact with Mike Clark and asked if he would be
interested in seeing our book to which we agreed. We met Mike at Columbia Studios
where he was working and had lunch in the studio commissary. Afterward, Mike had a
little surprise for us up his sleeve! He drove us (we were riding a studio golf
cart) to Irwin Allen's office building and escorted us right into Mr. Allen's office
for a personal visit. What a thrill it was to shake hands with the creator of all
those great shows and to personally express our gratitude for all the work he had
The experience was one we will not soon forget and we owed it all to Mike Clark who
has contributed greatly in keeping interest in the Irwin Allen universe alive!
I am also attaching images of Ron, myself, and Erin Gray with the initial sculpt,
along with an image of Mike Evans, Company Founder, myself and Ron.