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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.

Yankee Doodle Secret Rocket Test Center from Remco (1959)

In the late 1950s, the “Space Race” saw the United States and the Soviet Union trying to one-up the other in the use of satellite technology and spaceflight capability. Looking to capitalize on the resulting upswing in national attention, toy companies released a variety of space-influenced toys into the market. One such entry was Remco’s Yankee Doodle Secret Rocket Test Center, a toy that manages to encapsulate patriotism, covert activity, and space-age gravitas in a single title.

Released in 1959, the Yankee Doodle launch pad propelled a series of Atlas and Titan rockets, as well as one of three different satellites, into “outer space”. Like many of the company’s other toys of the period, Remco incorporated a fair amount of detail into the Yankee Doodle. The toy came equipped with a pre-launch warning siren, a pull lever to automatically open the launch bay doors and raise the rocket launcher to firing position, and a count-down clock. At zero count, the rocket/satellite combination fired automatically.