In the early 1950s, just prior to the beginning of that great era we refer to as the Space Age, Skelly gas stations distributed a fantastically campy series of science-fiction trading cards titled the All American Space Fleet.

The cards, 24 in all, comprise various space-faring characters boasting such heroic names as "Specs" Regan, who appears to be sporting a little too much gray for his alleged 28 years, and "Curly" Carson, pictured with his diapered Martian friend "Grog." The only woman to appear in the series is Jane Joy, who is "still attending Stewardess School."

The majority of the set featured a variety of far-out spaceships like the Asteroid King, the Cosmic Needle and the Sky Shark, each of which had its imaginary function and specifications listed on the back of the card, along with helpful reminders to "Never, Never Play With Anything Electrical" and to never "Run or Play Hard with Things in Your Mouth."

What's your favorite?

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To me, nothing conveys an idyllic vision of the future like the jetpack. That's why I love that this midcentury dream device continues to make headlines even in the 21st century.

Last year, stuntman and professional jetpack pilot Eric Scott set a world record by flying over Colorado's Royal Gorge, and last weekend, he did it yet again by claiming the first jetpack speed record.

Soaring several feet above Scotland's Knockhill Racing Circuit, Scott achieved an official speed of 68 miles per hour. Scott claims to have reached speeds higher than that, but strong winds at the track hindered his performance.

Current jetpack technology still limits flight time to about 30-40 seconds, which is not much more than what was achieved back in the 1960s, but rumor has it that Scott is working on a new unit that can sustain flight for up to 30 minutes.

If he succeeds, then we all might finally be able to fly to work like we were promised 60 years ago.

Previously on the Roadside Resort, we took a look at the Wedge Alarm, a nifty little gadget that notifies you of unauthorized entry while you sleep in those sometimes less-than-ideal lodgings on the road.

If you're looking for a device that helps to prevent such entry in the first place, though, you might be interested in the Addalock by Rishon Enterprises. It's a pretty clever, compact bit of kit that uses a door's own strike-plate hole as a foothold against ingress.

Simply insert the silver bit into the hole, close the door and attach the red handle, and you've got a nice little buttress that appears to be more effective against busting open a door than those chintzy security chains still used by many cut-rate lodgings.

The Addalock retails for $19.99 and comes with a slim pouch that easily slips in the front pocket of your suitcase.

Just an update to let everyone know I've been digging through more boxes of discarded old snapshots and have uploaded a whole new batch of oddball images over at Junk Shop Photos.

New ones are published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so be sure to keep checking back or sign up for the RSS feed. Enjoy!

Just when did instruction manuals become so stuffy? Specifications, quick setups, safety warnings, troubleshooting tables. What ever happened to the simple enjoyment of a new purchase? The fun, the novelty?

That's why I was so pleased when I dug up the owner's manual on the antique Manley Aristocrat I recently found and came across the company's thoughtful inclusion of their helpful "7 Rules for Popcorn Profits," complete with illustrations sketched in that wonderfully campy '50s style.

I'm so tempted to turn Step 4 into a T-shirt. ... Continued

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As I was researching my newly acquired 1950s popcorn machine, I came across this classic and unforgettable snipe.

Just try and get it out of your head.

By the way, is it just me or does the popcorn machine shown at 0:13 have the same red-and-white light cabinet as my Manley Aristocrat?

"Hey, that's a pretty neat old popcorn machine."

"Yeah, we've been trying to get rid of it. Nobody will take it."

"Really? I wouldn't mind having it."


And that's how I inherited a vintage 1950s movie-theater popcorn machine.

I was on one of my research trips for the upcoming book Weird Oklahoma and was visiting the Shortgrass Playhouse in Hobart, a community theater that's reportedly haunted by the spirit of a man whose 1918 headstone was mysteriously discovered upstairs during renovations.

While I was being given a tour, I spotted the art-deco-style machine collecting dust in the corner. I was joking when I said I'd take it off their hands, but the owners were genuinely excited that someone was actually interested in hauling it off. So, last weekend I returned with a friend of mine to roll it out and lug it down the fire escape.

After I unloaded it at my father's workshop here in Texas, I scoured the Internet for any information I could find on the machine. I shouldn't have been surprised to discover there are quite a few people out there interested in restoring old popcorn makers, all of whom are eager to share what knowledge they have. ... Continued

Whether you're looking for some design inspiration, pining for a little workshop nostalgia or just want to kill a few minutes admiring the beautiful simplicity of bygone manufacturing logos, you should check out Old Wood-Working Machines' collection of vintage machinery decals.

I just love this photo by Flickr contributor David Gallagher that captures the subtle shine reflected by a row of midcentury, commercial fiberglass chairs. Chairs like these are often overlooked, but I personally love their simple aesthetic. Plus, they're often surprisingly comfortable.

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like we're surrounded by these slick little guys, yet when I try to think of the last time I actually sat in one, I can't remember exactly where it was. Stephen Coles over at the Mid-Century Modernist, however, seems to have figured out where the majority have gone to herd: the laundromat!

Coles has even determined the source of most of these wonderful old chairs as being furniture manufacturer Krueger Metal Products, who in 1967 became the world’s largest folding chair and table manufacturer. Plus, he points to a fantastic Flickr pool dedicated exclusively to laundromat chairs. You should certainly check it out.

Long before there were digital cameras, even before there were one-hour photomats, families captured their road trips on stylish twin-lens reflex cameras like the old Yashika Mat and the popular Kodak Reflex, the type of cameras that were held at waist level and produced snapshots in a classic, square-frame format.

Such cameras can still be found in working condition at just about any junk shop and can add a terrific vintage twist to a good, old-fashioned road trip. Problem is, most of them take film formats that can be difficult to find and expensive to process.

But now you can get your hands on a nifty retro-style TLR that takes regular 35mm film like you can find just about anywhere. The Blackbird Fly, by designer Superheadz, takes photos in three formats — typical 35mm, full-frame or square — and can be had with a face plate in black, white, teal, orange, yellow or red. It goes for a little over $100. ... Continued