Quoted from cosmokramer:
Looks like I have a solid lead on the reel handle from a trustworthy pinsider, I will confirm when I have it in my possesion....now I am focusing on finding the missing plastic...
If it falls through, I'd bet you could find these fairly cheap on ebay. There has to be some way of installing it.
Call it a Ronco mod and consider your machine worth even more.