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Since @geoffc has broken the "Gilligan's Island Barrier" with this answer I'd like to ask about the Space-themed episode 22 of Season 3 "Splashdown" which aired on February 20, 1967.

What launch vehicle is depicted in the opening scene, and what launch pad?

Bonus points for identification of the lone car in the parking lot next to the launchpad.


below: GIF (14 frames) made from screen shots from Daily Motion "Gilligan's Island Splashdown S03E22". Credit to Sherwood Schwartz, United Artists Television. and CBS Television.

Gilligan's Island Launch

below: Screen shots from Daily Motion "Gilligan's Island Splashdown S03E22". Credit to Sherwood Schwartz, United Artists Television. and CBS Television. Click stills below for full size:

Gilligan's Island Launch Gilligan's Island Launch

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  • $\begingroup$ It's definitely an early Atlas, possibly Atlas-F, but it doesn't look exactly right to me. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SM-65F_Atlas $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Feb 24 '18 at 1:39
  • $\begingroup$ Its lacking the emergency escape system because nobody wants to spend money on an escape system for a monkey or unmanned payload. $\endgroup$ – TCAT117 Feb 24 '18 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ It's an -E or -F, not LV-3. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Feb 24 '18 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ I read up some more. its not even a rocket, its a nuclear missile. The atlas booster began as a nuclear missile and was later adapted into a series of launch vehicles for the mercury program. $\endgroup$ – TCAT117 Feb 24 '18 at 1:56
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    $\begingroup$ Can I create the Gilligans-Island tag then? $\endgroup$ – geoffc Feb 25 '18 at 1:19
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It's definitely an early Atlas rocket; from the configuration of the nose I believe it's either an SM-65E or SM-65F.

This video shows an SM-65E launch from 2/24/61 at about 20:00 in. The launch pad infrastructure looks similar (albeit at a different camera angle) to the Gilligan's Island footage. That launch seems to have been at LC-13 at Cape Canaveral. LC-14 was being used for Mercury tests at that time, but Atlas-E was also flying off of LC-11 that year, and I assume the pad would have been constructed similarly, so I'm not at all confident about the site identification.

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  • $\begingroup$ A surprisingly fast, thorough, well-supported, and (presumably) accurate answer! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Feb 24 '18 at 2:20
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Initially I thought it was the LV-3B mercury rocket, but upon some more reading I think its an SM-65 nuclear missile. The missile body was adapted for use as a launch vehicle by the Mercury program, so I think this is a missile, not a rocket.

enter image description here

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