So, I was contacted by a Retrospace reader who had been looking into the infamous flying lawn chair story - you know the one: where a guy named Larry Walters ties a bunch of weather balloons to his lawn chair and sails 16,000 feet above North Hollywood. It's not an urban legend - it really happened. There's an excellent breakdown of the adventure on SB Nation here.
The mystery is a small one: Larry's supplies included a BB gun (to pop the balloons for his descent), a parachute, and a lawn chair that was reported to cost $110 - a lot of money for a lawn chair, especially in 1981 dollars.
Larry said he got the chair from Sears. So, the aforementioned Retrospace reader knew I had the catalog from an old post and asked if this highly expensive chair was in it....
Here is the Spring/Summer 1981 Sears catalog lawn chair pages. I see a bunch of crummy director's chairs, but nothing resembling a chaise lounge which Larry might have taken to 16,000 feet.
So, I checked the Fall/Winter 1981 Sears catalog with similar results.
|This can't be it. No way that lawn chair was wicker.|