Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

After 41 Years of Kids Tv, Captain 11 Finally Retiring

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

After 41 Years of Kids Tv, Captain 11 Finally Retiring

Article excerpt

WHEN Dave Dedrick drank too much, Captain 11 was there to sober him up. When his son was dying of AIDS, Captain 11 was there to ease some of the pain.

And then there were the kids, thousands of them in four states who idolized their hero over 41 years.

Despite all that, Dave Dedrick has decided to end his stint as Captain 11, star of what KELO-TV of Sioux Falls billed as the longest-running, continuously aired children's show in the world. "I've had a marvelous, marvelous career of being in the happiness business," says Dedrick, 68, who also will retire from the TV weathercasts he's done since 1972. Captain 11 began as a summer replacement in 1955. Since then, the Captain has become a part of regional lore. Each weekday until 1989, when the show became a one-day-a-week affair, Dedrick appeared, dressed in a blue, one-piece suit with yellow scarf and military-style hat. In between cartoons, he entertained a studio audience of kids with games, contests and prizes. Then, of course, there was the Time-Converter, which sent the Captain's cadets off to cartoon land with a flip of the switch, the buzzing of buzzers and the pulsing of lights. "Every place I go is a celebration. . . . And I'm part of that. That's what is so gratifying for me and that's what made it a pleasant trip. I don't know that anyone else could say they've had that much fun. I don't have any down days - my days are up," Dedrick said. For Dedrick, who began his broadcasting career at a local radio station at age 15, the Captain remained a constant during his personal struggles. "It was a Jekyll and Hyde type of thing," he said. "I was two completely different people. And what I did on my time was my business. I rewarded myself accordingly." Dedrick, who has been sober for 19 years, never drank before a Captain 11 show, even when offered a beer after a game of golf. "I'd say, `No, I've got Captain to do. I don't want to be breathing beer on a kid on the Captain show.' No, no. …

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