Rocketships & Accessories used to be on 623-625 South Fourth Street just off of South Street back when Philadelphia’s hippest street in town was a genuinely interesting place to venture down. Long before the ability to find virtually anything for sale on the internet, South Street was the place to go to find a truly unique gift. It was best not to know what you were looking for because you would know it when you saw it.
I’m not sure who introduced me to the shop. I’m sure it was probably one of the men of DUCKWORK who similarly made me aware of Fat Jack’s Comic Crypt. Unlike Fat Jack’s which was crammed into a shop the size of a walk-in closet, Rocketships & Accessories was huge. I remember it being on a couple of floors. One of the floors was a museum dedicated to vintage tin ray guns.
The other floor was a store that sold all sorts of science fiction related toys and collectibles. Of course, they had Star Wars and Star Trek merchandise, but what was really interesting was the imported toys. They had Italian toys like the pistol pictured above, and they carried Japanese transforming robots and mecha well before Hasbro unleashed their daily animated infomercials for toys.
As I said, Rocketships & Accessories was my go-to store for gifts until it one day vanished. The store kept odd hours when it was open and did mainly mail-order. As the rents started to sky-rocket on South Street, little curio shops like this couldn’t hang on. A lot of this stuff can probably be found on the internet, but there was nothing like being surrounded by toys and cool stuff that you never knew existed.