Dan Crannie is used to making electronic signs for local, national and international businesses and organizations through his Flushing-based business, Signs by Crannie.
On Aug. 29, the cable television station A&E delivered a 31-foot-long, 21,500-pound Polaris missile to the facility to be refurbished for use in an upcoming production.
"I have a customer who buys and sells exotic equipment, picking up military and government equipment from all over the world," Crannie said. "He buys and sells to movie production companies, museums, private owners and this happened to be something he picked up."
Crannie became acquainted with the customer, who he would not identify, when the customer was in search of some previous work. Crannie said that the customer needed a lot of work done on some tanks. He was surprised to find that a sign shop was able to complete the extensive work — including crane-lifting, storing and painting the vehicles, among other things.
Crannie said that he was honored to have the missile here in the area. It isn't the type of project he gets to tackle every day.
"We've done some cool things with this customer, like restoring fighter pilot parts and other military equipment, but this is a unique piece," he said.
The Polaris missile was a solid-fuel, nuclear-armed, submarine-launched ballistic missile built during the Cold War. The California-based company Lockheed Corp. produced the missiles for the United States Navy as part of the Navy's arsenal of nuclear weapons.
The Polaris was first launched from the Cape Canaveral, Fla., missile test base on Jan. 7, 1960.
"During the Cold War, submarines held 26 of these missiles at once, with each one weighing more than 21,000 pounds," Crannie said he said. "They're made of about one-and-a-quarter-inch-thick wall steel and it's 54 inches in diameter. This actual missile was active on a ship during the Cuban Missile Crisis."
A&E became involved with the project when the seller contacted the company to let it know about the missile. The station agreed to feature it on the show Ship Wars and began to chronicle the event from the time it was delivered from New York to Signs by Crannie.
Crannie said that A&E will probably continue to document the project until it is delivered to the movie set.
The project will involve repairing rusted-out parts of the missile, sandblasting, painting, welding and rebuilding. Crannie said he expects it to be complete soon, but it will remain in Flushing until the customer and A&E agree upon how to proceed with transporting the missile.