In 1967, model-making kit manufacturers Revell ran advertisements for "the wildest, way out prize ever awarded in any contest." What was the prize? Your own 19-foot-long prototype of a Gemini capsule. The winner also got a guitar!
The below advertisement ran in a February 1967 issue of Model Airplane News. Here's the description of the grand prize:
No put-on. This is for real — the wildest, way out prize ever awarded in any contest: a 19-foot-prototype of the famed NASA spacecraft. Your Gemini capsule is just like the original. There's a detachable hatch, equipment section, and retro-fire package. Accurate from the ground up! When you win Gemini you'll be at the airport when it arrives in a "Flying Guppy" Aero Spacelines plane. Your name and picture will be in newspapers and magazines all over the country. How will it feel to present your spacecraft to your city for a park or museum? Famous, that's how. There's more. As the grand prize winner, you'll receive a professional Vox "Serenader" guitar — plus, every Revell Model Kit! Sounds great.
Wait a minute. Did this mean the winner was forced to give their Gemini capsule to their municipality or something? That's a damn rip-off. If I was some random 1960s kid who won the Gemini, I would keep this bad boy in my backyard and invite all my friends over to play NASA. I'd be Pete Conrad, and I'd force all my pals to be Ham the chimp and his extended family.
The Gemini from the Revell contest was won by a 13-year-old boy in Portland, Oregon, and it now sits in the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. No word on what happened to the Vox "Serenader" guitar.
[Via Airplanes and Rockets — thanks, WookieLifeDay!]