Gemini Giant.

Gemini Giant: Space Age Muffler Man

Field review by the editors.

Wilmington, Illinois

Type: Classic customized Spaceman (24 ft. tall)

Gemini Giant.

Arm position: Standard

Accessories: Space helmet, rocket

Nickname: Gemini Giant

Gemini Giant brought the Mother Road into the Space Age in 1965. That's the year that John Korelc paid $3,500 for a 24-foot-tall astronaut, which he stood outside his Launching Pad drive-in restaurant on Route 66.

The astronaut is a customized Muffler Man. Instead of a muffler, he carries a rocket, and the inside of his helmet -- which looks more Iron Age than Space Age -- was built to light up at night.

International Fiberglass, the company that built all of the original Muffler Men, made at least two other astronauts from the same molds, but the Gemini Giant is the only known survivor.

The astronaut was given his name soon after his arrival, thanks to a contest among local school kids. Fifth grader Cathy Thomas came up with the catchy title, linking the giant to the then-current Gemini space program (If he'd come along later, he might have been "Apollo Al").

The Gemini Giant has survived surprisingly well over the decades, although his rocket has been stolen several times and replaced with what appear to be a series of aerial bombs.

Korelc eventually retired and sold the Launching Pad, which closed in 2010. Its last owner had been trying to sell it and the Gemini Giant since 2012. When we spoke with the realtor in early 2017, he said he'd received "a zillion phone calls" about the Giant, but that the owner wouldn't sell the astronaut unless the buyer also bought the restaurant. "He's not gonna give up the spaceman," the realtor told us. "Not unless you want to pay the price for the whole place. Then you can have the spaceman."

On October 16, 2017, new owners Tully Garrett and Holly Barker closed on the "whole place" and began repairing and refurbishing the property and restaurant. Their first project: giving the Gemini Giant's nameplate base a fresh coat of paint.

Gemini Giant: Space Age Muffler Man

810 E. Baltimore St., Wilmington, IL
East edge of town, on the north side of E. Baltimore St./Route 66.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Ammo Plant Dead StatueAmmo Plant Dead Statue, Elwood, IL - 6 mi.
Polk-a-Dot Drive InPolk-a-Dot Drive In, Braidwood, IL - 5 mi.
Nine-Foot-Tall Guitar-Playing ElvisNine-Foot-Tall Guitar-Playing Elvis, Braidwood, IL - 5 mi.
In the region:
Ladies Room Jail Cells, Sandwich, IL - 34 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Illinois

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Illinois.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

December 12, 2018

My Sights

My Sights

Create Your Own Bizarre Road Trips!

Try My Sights

Roadside America app
Roadside Presidents app

Illinois Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

National Law Enforcement Museum, Washington, DC (Dec 10-16, 2018)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Sightings. Arrives without warning. Leaves no burn marks. A free newsletter from Subscribe now! Hotel & Motel Finder

Special online rates for hotels & motels.

Nearby Hotels and Motels, Wilmington, Illinois

Nightly rates found:

Book Online Now