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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

Yes, Virginia, Santa Did Arrive via Rocket Ship. And a Rocket Sleigh. And a Super Rocket...

Traditional Christmas tales have Santa piloting a magical flying sleigh. The Beach Boys envisioned him in a souped-up candy apple red hot rod. Chuck Berry thought Santa could get around faster by taking the freeway down. But Lloyd Laster of Tyler, Texas, had an altogether different idea of how Santa Claus got around: rockets.

Can't blame him, really. In the Fifties, rockets and jets captured everybody's fascination, so Laster capitalized on the trend with the first Santa's Rocket Ship, a commercial bus of unknown origin rebodied in aluminum with rows of portholes, a pair of warp nacelles up top, a set of token skis at each skirted wheel, and rows of North Pole portholes for windows.

His scheme called for hiring a guy in a Santa suit, a couple of leggy elves, and a driver, then charging malls around the South and Southwest to show up and give kids the chance to take a ride with the jolly old elf.

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