"A BLAST FROM MY PAST
AND YOURS!"
Ahoy, Mateys! Ba Ding Bing!



[IMAGE]




STOP THE PRESSES!!! BRIEF VIDEO OF CAPTAIN GUS!!!
On March 24, 2008, I received the folowing e-mail: "Hey, Dennis-- I was looking at YOU TUBE, today, and ran across a kens tv news segment featuring Captain Gus, including a short interview segment with Joe Alston. Here is the link so you can let everyone enjoy it. Bryan L. Hartman, Hartman Music Group, LLC, Rio Medina Tx."

What the video is shows the 50th Anniversary of KENS TV5. I supplied them with the only video footage of Captain Gus to the station for this TV special and they used it. Someone has taken the entire special and divided it into four segments and uploaded it on YOU TUBE So, here is the only footage of  the "Captain Gus Show." I have an entire 30 minutes of "The Captain Gus Story" so, if I can figure out a way to load it to the internet, I'll do so. My thanks to Bryan for finding this!!

Anyway, to do the do and the whole McCloo, click HERE



"AHOY, THERE LITTLE, MATEYS!"
How are you doing, today? Have you been good? Any of you feeling a little puny? Well, we'll fix that right up with a "Ba-Ding-Bing", and "Do the Do and whole McCloo!" We've got 'Popeye", "Bugs Bunny", and "Roadrunner" cartoons, We're gonna' draw for prizes from the Wishing Well, and a whole bunch of other neat stuff! Maybe even visit with the "Little Rascals." But first, you wanna' see a cartoon? Do ya'? Do ya'? Sure you do. Well, here's a "Popeye" cartoon for you, right now! I'm a' thinking. Yep, here it comes."

Do you recognize that guy in the picture and his daily greeting given above? Sure you do! That's good ol' "Captain Gus." Those of us that grew up in south Texas remember his afternoon TV show with the old "Popeye" cartoons, "The Matey Manual," " Think Tank Time," "Ba-Ding-Bing" and "Doing the Do and the whole McCloo!" and of course, the Elephant jokes!

I grew up watching Captain Gus when our family was stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. Then, we were transferred to San Vito Dei Normani Air Force Base in Brindisi, Italy for two years. When we came back stateside, we were sent to Kelly Security Service AFB in San Antonio and son-of-a-gun, Captain Gus was still on the air!!

The Captain's real name was JOE ALSTON and he made his home in Pipe Creek with his wife, Regina, who fought in the French Underground forces during World War II. Joe served in the U.S. Army and saw a lot of combat in europe, especially in Italy, where he fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino. Returning to the states he got into acting and announcing before staying in the San Antonio area and then living in the Hill Country, which he dearly loved.

Joe was the most gentle man I have ever known-- a gentle gentleman. He was both a father and grandfather figure to me. I grew to love Joe beyond our TV partnership. I sought out his wisdom, his guidance, his advice. My life is richer for having known him and being my friend.

The "Captain Gus Show" was on KENS Channel 5-TV from 1953-1979. Joe was born in 1918 and died on September 28, 1989 from complications of diabetes.

How did the Captain and I meet?
Well, let me tell you the TRUE story! Joe and I worked at two radio stations in Kerrville, KERV and  KPFM. Johnny Shannon, who is currently on KTSA Radio in San Antonio, hired me as News Director. Joe was the Sales Manager for both stations. Now, even though I had grown up watching "Captain Gus" on TV, and I had worked with Joe for over six months, it never dawned on me who he really was!! Heck, give me a break! It's not like he walked around in that orange hair and mustache every day!

So, one day, I was sitting in my office at the radio station and I swore I heard "Captain Gus" laughing his unforgettable laugh outside my door! I got up and ran to the hallway. No one was there except Joe and Johnny Shannon standing there. I told them I thought I was crazy because I could swear that I heard this old TV guy, "Captain Gus" laughing in the hall. Joe's eyes lit up and he let out a belly laugh. Then, it dawned on me!!!!!!!!

"My God! You're Captain Gus!," I said.

"Yep! That's right, little matey!" he replied with a smile as big as the Hill Country sky.

It was unbelievable! Here I was working with Captain Gus on the radio and I never realized it until then. He never mentioned it around the station. It was just something everyone knew but ME! Duh!!!! He hosted a2-hour talk show on the radio station called, "Talk of the Hill Country." which I co-hosted with him a lot and filled-in when he was out. WE became great friends.

Well, one morning, Joe invited me on his TV show and I invented the character of "Chester the "Elephant Joke Hunter" complete with pith helmet, boots, safari jacket and butterfly net. I Ran around on the set and the "Good Ship Amigus" hunting for elephant jokes. I told a few of them and the 50 kids in the audience just sat there like a log. No laughs, no snickers, no chuckles. But the Captain laughed his keester off at my failure to make the kids laugh. (As it turned out, he told them NOT to laugh before I came on!!) Well, Joe asked me if I would like to come back as a regular on the show and I accepted. I started a new character, " Mortimer the First Mate," and I remained on the show for three years until 1979. I was the only on-screen partner the Captain ever had.  Damn, I was lucky. VERY lucky!

Here's two stories that happened on the show that I will never forget...

Once, during the taping of the show, one kid started laughing uncontrollably. I mean he laughed and laughed. During commercial breaks, the Captain and I asked him to calm down but, he didn't. Finally, the Captain and I walked over to him. I held the microphone to the kid's mouth and the Captain asked him (with the video tape running) "Young man, what is so funny?" And the kid replied,  "My brother won't stop farting!" The Captain and I exploded in laughter and we had to stop the tape and couldn't resume taping for at least 15 minutes! Every time the director said, "Rolling" we busted out laughing again!

The other occasion came during the interviews that we conducted with the kids. He would ask the mateys what their favorite color was... what was their favorite subject in school... what their favorite food was, etc. Once, he and I were sitting in the grandstands with the kids and a little girl sat between us. She was about 5 years old.

The Captain asked her, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

She looked at us and said, "I don't wanna grow up. I wanna die."

I froze-- totally stunned by what she said. The kids went silent.

Captain Gus didn't miss a step and softly asked her, "Why would you want to do that, sweetie?"

And with tears welling up in her eyes and her lower lip quivering, she said, "Because my grandma died last week ago and I wanna die so I can be with her in heaven."

I nearly started crying on camera. The Captain reached over and hugged her so warmly. I could see tears welling up in his eyes, as well. We went to a commercial break and met with the director. As endearing and special as that was, we just felt that we couldn't air something like so, we had to cut that from the show that day.

Why did the show end? Do you really want to know?
Well, I'll tell you. Pressure from parent groups and educators ended the show. We were getting more and more pressure to incorporate educational material into the program. Neither Joe nor I could do anything about it. It was a time when all children's programming HAD to have educational value. We were told that it wasn't enough to be entertaining, funny, friendly with kids, and having fun. We had to start educating the mateys. Joe and I knew it was coming to an end. We were entertainers and loved what we were doing. We weren't teachers. The station began making changes. The show had already been dropped from five days a week to just Saturday mornings. Joe was getting more and more frustrated. We met with station management one week and aired our feelings. We left the meeting feeling that they understand where we were coming from. The very next week, we had one of our funniest shows and kids had a blast! When the show was completed, we were asked to come to the program directors office. Without warning, we were told that the station felt that the "Captain Gus Show" had run its course after 26 years and that we were canceled... then and there. No notice, no nothing. It was over like switching off a light bulb. I was stunned and Joe seemed to take it in stride.

As we walked out of the office, Joe stopped, looked directly at me and said, "That's show biz, Dennis. That's show biz."

We went to the dressing room and got our things together.  At the time, that station was located off Avenue E in downtown San Antonio (if, I remember correctly.). I watched as Joe slowly took his red satin Captain Gus shirt off the hanger and folded it. He grabbed his Captain's cap, his bright orange wig, an engraved silver whistle and packed it all in a small box. We quietly walked out of the station for the last time.

We said "See ya'" to several people on the way out of the building who had no idea what was going on.

We loaded up his car and we drove back to Kerrville. Neither of us said a word on the 60 mile journey back home. I hurt for Joe to have been treated like that. Twenty-six years of dedication to the station, over two and-a-half decades of community service not just to San Antonio but to all of South Texas, and an unconditional love for the ten of thousands of children that he entertained. It all ended in a 5-minute conversation. He hurt. He was deeply hurt. I hurt for him and he for me.

Several months later, the TV station open a brand new multi-million dollar building, on Fredericksburg Road, with state-of-the-art technology. Joe swore to me that he would never ever step foot in that station after the way they had treated him. By then, I had become the Public Relations Director for the Handy Dan Home Centers. I attended the grand opening of the new TV station. He didn't.

About a year later,  KENS TV-5 offered me my own program and I asked Joe if he would make a special appearance on the show for me, but he declined. He was still so hurt for the way the "Captain Gus Show" had been so unceremoniously canceled. Never given a chance to say "Goodbye." He wasn't bitter. He wasn't mad or angry, anymore. He never spoke badly about the situation and never had a harsh word for anyone at the station. He was just hurt. He remained a total gentle gentleman through the entire time.

"That's show biz."


Joe and I remained in close touch. He still worked at KERV in Kerrville, but I mopved to San Antonio. We didn't see each other too often. Then, one day, someone called me in the middle of the afternoon and told me-- "The Captain has died."

Joe never told me, or anyone that I know of, how badly he had been suffering from diabetes. I know he had a toe amputated. He never would tell me enough to make me worry about him.

I remember when Chris Marrou, the news anchor at Channel 5 asked me on camera about Joe's death, I sadly said---

"If I had known the Captain had been this ill, I would have rushed to see him and given him a Ba Ding Bing! Mow, he's doing the do and the whole McCloo in heaven, I'm sure."

Today, I suffer from diabetes and nearly lost my right foot in January 2008 due to diabetes complications. Talk about following in someone's footsteps!


Here's some "Captain Gus" trivia for you.

Did you know that Captain Gus was an actual Captain in World War II? CORPORAL JOE ALSON, was given a  "battlefield commission" to Captain after the battle of Monte Cassino, in Italy. At the end of the war, the commission was ended and he left the army as a corporal.

Do you know what Joe's wife, Regina, did during World War II? REGINA WAS A MEMBER OF THE FRENCH UNDERGROUND AND WAS A RESISTENCE FIGHTER SEEING ACTUAL BATTLEFIELD ACTION AND FIGHTING THE GERMANS IN HER HOMELAND.

Do you know the Captain's last name?
   ? It was "FOGERTY" - CAPTAIN GUS FOGERTY. Very few people know that one!

What was the name of our boat? The "GOOD SHIP AMIGUS." When the show ended in 1979, the boat was given to a daycare center which left it sitting outside for kids to play in and eventually it deteriorated away.

Did you know that the producer and the director of the "Captain Gus Show" and my show, "Gobs of Fun," were brothers?   JERRY COPELAND was the producer of both shows and his brother, LARRY COPELAND was the director of both of them. Jerry is retired and lives in Gatesville, Texas, with his lovely wife, Carol. In February 2007, I finally tracked Jerry down, after 20+ years and renewed our friendship and swapped stories about the "good old days." Sadly, Larry passed away back on December 29, 1999, and he is buried at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio.

What shopping mall did the Captain make special appearances at while performing on the ROOF? LAS PALMAS SHOPPING CENTER.

What toy store did we give-away prizes from the Wishing Well from? KIDDIE CITY at WONDERLAND MALL

What was the name of the off-camera monster that the Captain and I always talked to and who ran one of the TV cameras? ZOMBIE.

In the 1950's-1970's, who used to fill in for the Captain when he couldn't do the show or went on vacation? UNCLE HERB BOOTH

How many times did I (Dennis/Mortimer) host the "Captain Gus Show" totally by myself? 
ONCE (And I was terrified!) Joe had taken ill earlier in the day and didn't make the trip to the TV studio in San Antonio that day. I didn't find out until I got to Channel 5 and they told me, I was sailing solo that day! I FREAKED, but I made it through the show!

Who was the Justice of the Peace in Pipe Creek that the Captain always sent greetings to? JUDGE ED JENNINGS

Before I (Dennis) became "First Mate Mortimer" what was my character on the show? 
THE ELEPHANT JOKE HUNTER. (By the way, the Captain REALLY loved elephant jokes!)

What was the name of the book that the Captain read his jokes and scholarly information from?
  THE MATEY MANUAL.

What time was it when the Captain wanted all the kids to be serious and learn something new? IT WAS "THINK TANK TIME!"

What were the magic words that the Captain and I shouted to kids watching the show at home that were feeling puny, ill, or a little under the weather to make them feel better? BA-DING-BING!

What catch phrase did Captain Gus say when asked how he was doing? "DOING THE DO AND THE WHOLE McCLOO!" (By the way, Joe told me that his wife, Regina, was the one who came up with that word "McCloo.")

What was the name of the cardboard seagull that the captain and I always talked to? ALVIN THE ALBATROSS.

Where was Captain Gus buried when he died in 1989? NO, NOT AT SEA. WHEN THE CAPTAIN PASSED AWAY, HE WAS CREMATED AND HIS ASHES SPREAD ON HIS HILL COUNTRY PROPERTY AND IN THE WATERS OF THE GUADALUPE RIVER.

What U.S. Congressman was an "Official Matey" of the show? THE LATE HONORABLE HENRY B. GONZALEZ


SOME CLOSING THOUGHTS...
The Captain never said a bad word about kids. He never called them S.O.B.'s, or anything like that. The man never said a harsh word in my presence, ever! No, he was never arrested for dope. No, his hair was not really orange hair. (Geez, the stuff, outrageous rumors, stories and lies that I have had to put up with and explain over the years is unbelievable. I don't know why people have to say such things.)

Captain Gus was a wonderful man, a good man, who loved children and was instrumental in me getting my own show in 1980.
"Mortimer's- Gobs of Fun" ran on KENS Channel 5 from 1980-1983 and I had a blast doing it! I miss the Captain very much. He was a kind and caring individual, very much like a grandpa to me. He loved children, he loved life and most of all he loved his wife, Regina. He was proud to let people know he was a CHRISTIAN, as someone recently reminded me. My life is better and richer for having known him and being my friend.

"Well, boys and girls, that's gonna' do it for now! Ya'll mind your manners and do what your mommy and daddy tell you to do, that's very important. Until we see you tomorrow, this is Captain Gus and Mortimer saying...

"Bye-bye Mateys, Bye-bye!"

Some photos on my website are courtesy of |
George Chastain. Be sure to refer to
"E-Mail From The Mateys" further down this page and visit his website, as listed.

Joe Alston as host of "Shock!" (1965)


Joe Alston as "Captain Gus Fogarty." (1970)




An ad from the San Antonio News with Joe Alston
as
"The Host" of "Shock Theatre." (1968)


Me (at the far left) as First Mate "Mortimer" in 1978.

Joe Alston was one-of-a-kind. I have never known someone so giving of their time, their talents and their love for children. He especially loved and enjoyed being a grandpa. The times that I saw him interact with his grandchildren were incredible. He loved living on the banks of the Guadalupe River. When he had a radio show at KERV in Kerrville, "Talk of the Hill Country," he often spoke of the beauty and solitude of evenings spent watching the sun go down along the riverbanks. It was my good fortune to have been a guest in his home many, many times. Today, his widow, Regina lives with her son Ron, in the Dallas area.

We all miss you, Captain. I know you're up there in Heaven
still doing-the-do and the whole McCloo
!





Publicity photo for my show, "Gobs of Fun!" (1981) I got the name for my show from what kids always say-- "Hey, we went to Playland and had gobs of fun!" or "We went to Wonderland Mall and had gobs of fun on the Super Slide!"

It took a while for KENS TV to get used to the name, but it worked
Now, here's another little secret I've never told anyone,. Only Joe and I knew that I purposely used the term "Gobs"  because it's a slang word for "sailors". I was paying a private tribute to Captain Gus by using the word in the title of my own show! Only we knew I had done that!


Me and the kids on my own show, "Gobs of Fun!" Take a close look at the
kid sitting directly in front of me in the sweater and tie... HENRY THOMAS from "E.T." fame before he became a star! (1982)

On behalf of the Captain and myself, thank you for remembering us, thank
you for being so kind over these many, many years. Ba-ding-bing!


Still doing the do and the whole McCloo after all these years,

Dennis "First Mate Mortimer" DuPriest

San Antonio, Texas
December 2000

 


It is amazing to realize that people have held on to Captain Gus items for so many, many years. The above membership card belongs to Randy Niendorff, who lives in Boulder. Colorado. He came across my web page and wanted to share some memories of the 1950's when he grew up watching the "Captain Gus Show". He was also fortunate to have met Joe, as an adult. His story is given further down this page.



Here I am with my family of "Mateys" my nieces and nephews at Christmas 2004. Front: Travis DuPriest, Clint DuPriest, Grace DuPriest. Back: Heather Marie DuPriest (she's also my darling god-daughter), Katie Padron, me, Jennifer DuPriest, Robert DuPriest II, and April Padron. They don't know too much about who "Mortimer" was, but they sure do love their "Uncle Dennis."


Today, August 2008, and I'm 56 years old. I work for Somerset ISD in communications. It's great to be recognized every now and then. Heck, some of my co-workers tell me their kids grew up watching me on TV and now they're in college or married with their own kids! Geez! Nothing like making a Matey feel old!

GET A LOAD OF THIS!
AN INTERNET CARTOONIST/WRITER/ARTIST, JENN DOLARI, WITH TIES TO SAN ANTONIO, HAS DEVELOPED A COMIC STRIP. IN ONE ONLINE CHAPTER, SHE HAS A DREAM SEQUENCE FEATURING CAPTAIN GUS. SHE FOUND MY WEBSITE AND BORROWED FROM THE ILLUSTRATIONS TO MAKE WHAT YOU SEE BELOW. IN THE DAYS TO COME, SHE WILL SEND ME SOME INFORMATION ON HERSELF AS WELL AS, DOING A COMIC PANEL ON ME, MORTIMER! BA-DING-BING!




IF ANYONE HAS PHOTOS OF BEING ON THE "CAPTAIN GUS SHOW" OR BEING ON "GOBS OF FUN" AND WOULD LIKE TO SHARE THEM ON THIS WEBSITE, PLEASE WRITE TO ME AT: MORTIMER@TEXAS.NET

Michael Jones, (the clown at the left) of the "Class of 1971" at John Jay High School, in San Antonio, worked a high school summer job at Wool-Co, when Captain Gus made an appearance.

Mike is a good friend of mine and sent this photo in. If anyone else has some pictures of themselves with the Captain (or solo pics of Gus) send them in and I will post them here.






AN ARTICLE FROM THE SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, SUNDAY, JULY 31, 2005
Paula Allen: Captain Gus navigated South Texas airwaves for decades
Web Posted: 07/31/2005 12:00 AM CDT San Antonio Express-News

Dear San Antonio Express-News...

In the late 1950s, didn't KENS-TV have an afternoon kids show hosted by someone named Captain Gus? Does he still work for KENS? I used to watch his show every day. ---Jim Ramsey

I remember watching Captain Gus as a child. I could not get home fast enough to see it. What happened to Captain Gus? ---Sharon Wetz, Midland

What happened to the fellow who played Captain Gus? ---Tom Wood Jr.

I'm trying to find a photo of the chimpanzee mascot that appeared with Captain Gus, rode in the Battle of Flowers Parade and was exhibited at Neisner Brothers Department Store in the late 1950s and early '60s. As a child I went with my dad, an assistant manager at the store, to feed and diaper Duke on Sundays. ---Steve Kennedy

Ahoy, mateys! Let's do the do and the whole McClue!

If you remember these words, you probably grew up in South Texas between the early 1950s and the late 1970s, while Captain Gus helmed one of the longest-running shows produced in this market.

"We get requests for 'Captain Gus' all the time," says KENS-TV promotions manager Alan Lansing. With its corny humor, cardboard seagull and zany offstage zombie character, the gentle, just-for-laughs spirit of the show mattered to fans more than its low production values.

The formula for the "The Captain Gus Show" was similar to kiddy shows on TV all over the country: a jovial host in costume introducing old cartoons for two audiences — the ones the camera showed cheering in the studio and the ones watching at home.

To go with the collection of "Popeye" cartoons, "Gus" was a nautical chap with an unruly orange wig stuffed under a yachting cap. The captain's patter was salted with seagoing references, kept as clean as a fresh ocean breeze, and his set was built around a ship-shape prop, the Good Ship Amigus.

Between cartoons and commercials, Gus would do Art Linkletter-style interviews with children in his live audience — usually numbering around 50. Drawings from a Wishing Well awarded viewers prizes from toy stores.

Under the wig and handlebar moustache was pioneer broadcaster Joe Alston, a World War II veteran who had been chief announcer at KTRH-AM radio in Houston before joining KENS as an announcer in 1953. He had also had a few bit parts in movies, including "For Whom the Bell Tolls," "T-Men" and "West Point of the Air" (about Randolph AFB's early pilot-training program).

As Captain Gus, Alston had an impressive run, from 1953 through 1979. Simultaneously, he was the announcer for locally produced commercials and did a brief stint (1959-1960) as the anonymous host of a late-night horror movie, variously called "Shock!" and "5-Star Shock" on KENS. As horror hosts go, he wasn't particularly scary-looking, but neither would he be confused with his daytime persona. An undated ad from the San Antonio Express (see dennis52.home.texas.net/blast.html) the "Captain Gus" Web site of Dennis DuPriest) shows an unrecognizable Alston with slicked-back hair, a goatee, pencil-thin mustache, black coat and white ascot.

Alston also worked for two Kerrville radio stations, KERV and KPFM, where he met DuPriest, who became the captain's only human partner, serving as the Elephant Joke Hunter, then First Mate Mortimer, from 1976 through 1979. The show had shrunk from five days a week to a Saturday-morning broadcast by the time it was canceled. Sidekick Mortimer was brought back for a spinoff show, "Gobs of Fun," from 1980 to 1983.

Alston, who lived in Pipe Creek with his wife, Regina, remained on Kerrville radio. He died at 71 of kidney failure (a complication of diabetes) Sept. 28, 1989, according to his obituary in the Express-News.

The career of the Captain's animal co-star was much shorter, at least locally. A chimpanzee, the Duke of KENS divided his time between the pet department at Neisner's variety store, 101 Broadway, and KENS-TV, whose studios were then downtown. The Duke — acquired as a young chimp around 1954 — shuttled between these two habitats by cab, accompanied by a Neisner's employee. Though he was only on television for a few years in the mid-'50s, he remained a local celebrity into the early '60s, appearing at charity events and merchant promotions.

At Neisner's, the Duke of KENS (later the Duke of Neisner's) lived in "a huge cage of Plexiglas on three sides so he could be seen by customers," says Helen Roberts Gordon, who wrote to an earlier version of this column in 1996. The chimp's "chief caretaker was Hertha de la Rosa (head of Neisner's pet shop), who eventually took him to her home. She later sold him to a circus."

The Good Ship Amigus, says DuPriest "was given to a day-care center, which left it sitting outside for kids to play in and eventually it deteriorated away."

Those of you who sailed with the Captain in his heyday will remember what we said to cheer up mateys who were feeling a little puny and under the weather at home or in the hospital. Ready? All together, now: Ba-Ding Bing!!!!

FOLLOW-UP NEWS ARTICLE ON SUNDAY, AUGUST 14, 2005
Paula Allen: First Mate Mortimer found his port at Somerset District
Web posted: 08/14/05 12:00 AM CDT San Antonio Express-News

When readers asked about KENS-TV children's show host Captain Gus (July 31), the sole survivor of the Good Ship Amigus wanted to let the "mateys" know he was still seaworthy.

"Every five years or so, someone wants to know if I'm still alive," says Dennis DuPriest, who served as First Mate Mortimer and second banana to veteran broadcaster Joe Alston for the last few years of "The Captain Gus Show." While Alston died in 1989, the much-younger DuPriest still can't shake his old image as a seagoing sidekick — nor would he want to try.

More than 20 years after his spin-off show, "Gobs of Fun," went off the air, the former Mortimer gets recognized by people who remember his comfortably scratchy voice from the days when he bantered with Alston between Popeye cartoons. "People come up to me and say, 'Aren't you him?'" says DuPriest. "I tell them, 'Yep, that's me. I used to be somebody.'"

These days, he's public information officer for the Somerset School District, a job he has held for almost nine years. Before that, DuPriest was up and down the dial on local radio and television. It was at KERV Radio in Kerrville that he met Alston, who also captained San Antonio's longest-running kiddy show. Though DuPriest had watched "Gus" as a child, he says, "I worked with him for six months before I realized who he was."

Once DuPriest had spotted the off-duty captain, Alston gave him a chance to join the crew — of one, since Captain Gus had never worked with a partner. "Out of the clear blue, he asked me to come on the show," says DuPriest.

His first character, the Elephant Joke Hunter, was a serious flop. The pith-helmeted DuPriest told one joke after another — to total silence from the children in the studio audience. "I was bombing," he says. "I thought, 'Joe will never ask me back.'" After the show, Alston let him in the joke: "I told all the kids, 'No matter what he says, don't laugh.'"

First Mate Mortimer proved far more successful, sailing through the last three seasons (1976-1979) of "Gus." DuPriest started the show "sitting on a big barrel they had on the set," he says. "I weighed about 250 pounds then. (Captain Gus) would tell the kids I sat on the barrel to make sure it didn't move."

While the captain might have kidded his big buddy, Alston treated the little mateys in the audience with kindness and respect. "Everybody speaks so highly of Captain Gus, and it was deserved," says his onetime partner. "You hear about these hosts who call the kids names, can't stand being around them. That wasn't Gus."

A little more than a year after "Gus" was canceled, the KENS program director invited DuPriest to do a show of his own, and he developed "Gobs of Fun" (1980-1983), sticking close to the "Captain Gus" format. Alston, he says, "was my biggest supporter. He wished me the best."

While DuPriest reprised his "Gus" character — "300 pounds and a beard; I'm always going to be Mortimer" — he couldn't get his ex-skipper to come aboard. "I tried to get him on the show," he says, "but Joe said, no, the station felt the character had run its course, so he wasn't going to do the Captain again there."

Meanwhile, "Gobs of Fun" was changing in response to a trend toward educational children's programs. "Popeye" was criticized as violent, says DuPriest. "Next thing you know, I'm running the old Mr. Wizard science programs from the '60s. The type of programming for Capt. Gus and my show ran its course."

"Gobs of Fun," says its host, "ended the classic way of radio and TV. We had no idea what was coming." When DuPriest and his supporting players finished the show that day, he says, "Someone told me, the program director needs to see you." Told that the station "was not going to go any further with the show," DuPriest was philosophical about it. "Like Joe said at the end of the first show, 'That's show biz.'. I felt sad it went off, but, shoot, I had fun."

Though as far as he knows, none of the "Captain Gus" episodes survived — "We used to tape over the shows every day" — "Mortimer" kept some videotapes of his show, screening them for his nieces and nephews when they were young. "I couldn't watch them myself, though," he says. "I had to go out of the room."


E-MAIL FROM THE MATEYS!

Every year, I get a dozen or so e-mails from people who went on the web searching for "Captain Gus" and found this page on my website. As of today, March 26, 2005, I will start posting those emails to share with everyone. If anyone would like to send in a brief e-mail with their thoughts on the CAPTAIN and myself, please feel free to do so. My email is: Mortimer  Wish I had started this long ago, as I have received so many wonderful notes....

<>WB Alter in Lafayette, Indiana wrties-- Dear Dennis,<> Wow... what a welcome surprise to find the Captain and you online! I posted a picture of Popeye on a bulletin board I read regularly and it reminded me of all the catch-phrases... I remember "Thiiiiiiiiiiiink Taaaaaaaaaaaaank Tiiiiiiiiiiiiime" and sending out a big "Ba Ding Bing" to all the little mateys that were feeling puny... I remember having one of my birthday parties on the show, and how special it felt to be around the Captain. I think I remember him speaking of sitting around the cracker barrel in the general store (with Judge Jennings?) and mentioning that he was called "Captain" by whoever it was. I don't believe you were on the show yet at that time. I regret to say that I did not know the Captain other than what I saw of him on TV and that one day I was there in the studio. I can say that rushing home from school to watch his show was the highlight of my day back then, and I wish that he was still around to "do the do and the whole McCloo". <>Again, sir, thank you for having this page up and giving a smile to all of us who will always be the Captain's little mateys no matter our age. God bless,

-- Dear Matey WB-- how wonderful to start a new year with a letter from a MATEY. Thank you for sharing your memories of Captain Gus. Yes, those were great and innocent time. I long for them, too. It makes me feel so great to hear from individuals, as yourself. By the way, a high school friend of mine is a professor on the faculty, there at Purdue University in Lafayette-- Mr. Steve Kelley. Give him a call and tell him I said HI. Now, you mind your manners, matey. Ba-ding-bing!  (1/2/09)
<>
 
Alonso Nino in San Antonio, Texas wrties to me--  Dear Dennis, your web site brought smiles and tears to my face Im 52 yrs and I still love and remember Captain Gus I live here in San Antonio.When me and my brothers and sisters were small we always wanted to be on his show but we were to poor to get tickets,but we were true fans of his show.I went to a toy convention @ Live Oak today and I started talking to a vender about old movies Shock and Project Terror and He mentioned that Joe Alston was Captain Gus and the voice for Project Terror, Shock,and I just had to look it up on the internet thats how I ran into your web site I loved it,It sure hit Home when we were growing up in our era when things were innocent and so wonderful God Bless You hope you are feeling better. I sure hope you finish that DVD everyones talking about can't wait to buy one.THANKS AGAIN hope to hear from you soon and again GOD BLESS YOU and JOE ALSTON.

--- Alfonso, it's great to hear from another little Matey! Thank you for your kind words about the Captain Gus Show and your memories of it. Just one correction, we never charged for tickets to be on the show. All parents had to do was call a week ahead of time and make a reservation. It was first come, first serve for about up to 40 kids each week. Sometimes, at personal appearance they also gave out FREE reservation tickets. To the best of my knowledge, that's the way it was for the entire 26 years of the show. I am sorry that you and your siblings never got to be on the show, we would loved to have had you visit. 
As for my health, well, it's still giving me problems, but I'm hanging in there. Thank you for writing and sharing your memoires of Joe Alston. Now, you take care and mind your manners. Do what your mom and dad tell you to do, that's very important. For Captain Gus, this is Mortimer doing the do and the whole McCloo!  Ba-ding-ding, Alonso!  (11/16/08)

Robert Hurst in Dallas, Texas
is an old friend of mine that I have not heard from in over 28 years. He writes..."Dear Dennis, I’m not sure if you remember me or not but this is Robert Hurst. You hired me to work at KERV-AM/FM in Kerrville in the summer of 1980 just as I was graduating from Sam Houston State University. My wife and I were talking about how colleges now have placement offices' to help students find jobs upon graduation. I told her that I got my first job because I knocked on the door at KERV and you, Dennis DuPriest, as the program director and assistant station manager at the time, hired me 'on the spot'! In other words, I got my job 'the old fashioned way'!

I hope you are doing well. I pray that your diabetes isn't causing you too much trouble and I will keep you in my prayers. I read your web page about Captain Gus (Joe Alston) and your career. Interestingly enough we have had somewhat similar paths. I, have fond memories of Joe working as the station sales manager and later station manager.

I stayed in broadcasting and worked at TV stations in Victoria, Longview and Kerrville (KRRT) before returning to KERV as news director in 1986. I was the news director at KERV during the Comfort bus accident in 1987. When KERV was sold at the end of 1987 and the station staff was let go, I got my next job at KTRH in Houston where I covered the police beat and NASA. That lead to me getting a job as a public information officer for the Houston Police Department in 1991 and I was promoted to director of media relations for HPD in 1998. A new police chief was hired in 2004 and he made changes in the administration so I was out of a job again. I moved back to my hometown of Dallas and married my high school 'crush' and am now a stepfather to her 3 daughters from her first marriage. I worked for a very brief time as the chief communications officer for the Fort Worth ISD and then for an ambulance service in Arlington. I am now a real estate agent with my wife (she's been a realtor for 27 years) but I keep looking for a public information officer/communications position in the Dallas area. Here's my web page: http://www.linkedin.com/in/robertchurst

I look forward to hearing from you soon. Do you ever hear from anyone that we worked with at KERV? Your most recent picture on your web site (Aug. 2008) looks EXACTLY like I remember you with a big SMILE always on your face!"

--- Holy Shipmate, matey!! What an amzazing surprise to hear from you after all these many years, my friend. I often wonder what has happened to many of my former collegues, you included!! Yes, I still stay in touc with some of our former DJ's from Kerrville-- Johnny Shannon who has been doing traffic and production for the past several years at KTSA, here in San Antonio. I also stay in touch with Slick Rick Mireles, who's here in San Antonio but is no longer in radio. Thanks for the update on your career and I am humbled that I gave you your first big break to your eventual stardom! I got out of the radio business because it has become so computer automated you can teach monkeys to do it. The station tells you what to say, when to say it and how to say it. No thanks, there's just no personality in it anymore. With huge radio conglomerates like Clear Channel owning over 1,000 stations and they all sound the same-- boooorrrriiiinnnnggggg. I do miss the good old days and it was a joy having you on staff. If you're ever in the San Antonio area, I'll let you by me lunch AND dinner. All the best to you, Bob! (8/18/08)



Gustavo Garza, in Laredo, Texas writes..."Dear Dennis, A few days ago I was changing channels on the TV  and I stoped on Boomerang channel, they where showing the Popeye cartoon's, and the first thing that came to my mind was the "Captain Gus Show," I used to watch it once in a while, because of the school, I was living at that time in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. Today, I'm 48 years old and living in Laredo, Tx. In addition to remembering the "Captain Gus Show," how ould I ever forget "Project Terror," every Friday night. Well, hi from Laredo,."

---Ahoy, there, Matey Gustavo! Thanks for your e-mail. Yours is the first that I have ever received from someone who watched the show in Mexico. That is fantastic! I am assuming that you found my website on the internet. What do you think of it? Remember any of the trivia? Well, I'm glad that you enjoy it. Tell me what you're up to these days. Again, Thanks for writing, now mind your manners, brush your teeth every morning and night, amigo! Ba Ding Bing!!
  (8/12/08)



John A. Flores in Fresno, California
writes, “Hi Dennis - I happened to catch the site a few months ago, like most people do...the thought of Captain Gus pops into their head and then they Google to see what's out there.  It's a great site!  I finally got around to dropping you a line. My mom was originally from San Antonio and when she and my father divorced, we moved from Fresno (where I was born) to San Antonio in 1971, when I was 11 years of age.  We lived with my grandparents at first, and they were always watching Channel 5 (before Chris Marrou arrived, and when Dan Cook was relatively young).  It was a tough time for my brothers and me, being in a place that we didn't consider home.  But we quickly got acclimated to San Antonio life, which included playing across the street at Pauline Nelson Elementary School (near Culebra and Zarzamora Avenues), making new friends, and finding out that there was a show on TV that had cartoons for a whole hour!  And in the afternoon, when we got home from school, Captain Gus was a great way to end the day, coming home and watching cartoons before donig my homework. During the summer, we'd play baseball all day, and in the afternoon our mom would call us in to get out of the sun, and we'd get wired on iced tea and watch Captain Gus for an hour!  What a life!  We loved the cartoons and griped about why Popeye would be so crazy about someone as skinny as Olive Oyl (but then again, could he have done better himself?).  They were great memories!  All we knew was during the summers, we could play baseball all day and watch Captain Gus in the afternoon, and then go out and finish the game!   Ba-Ding-Bing! Thanks for your work in keeping his memory alive.....a lot of kids were blessed because of his work.....keep it up!”

--- John it is a delight to get an e-mail from you and thanks for sharing your memories of the Captain. The way you express yourself let's me know how fresh the memories are still in your heart and mind. That's a delight. I don't know if you knew that Dan Cook died back in July. He was a San Antonio sports media icon and will as greatly missed as Captain Gus is. Now, mind your manners be sure your homework is all done and brush your teeth before you hop into bed, little matey! Here's a Ba Ding Bing for you and yours! 8/3/08



Tom Elston, in Waxahachie, Texas
, contacted me, today, July 2, 2008 with this e-mail...“Hello, I got a big kick out of your web page featuring Captain Gus. I was telling my daughter about him and we thought we would do a Google search to see if we could find any thing about him on the web. Your page does him a great justice just as he deserves. We thank for the trip back in time! Regards.

--Hey there little Matey! Thanks for taking the time out to write to me. I hadn’t heard from anyone in quite a while and then received your e-mail, and the one below this, within 5 days of each other. Glad to know the Mateys remember Captain Gus after all these years. Mind your manners and do what your mom and dad tell you to do! That's very important. This is Mortimer (for the Captain and I) Ba-Ding-Bing! (7/2/08)



Denise Sharp Crenshaw, in Pipe Creek, Texas
, which was Captain Gus Country, sent me this e-mail on June 27, 2008--- “Last night as I was driving home from the movies with my son, for whatever reason Captain Gus popped into my head.  I was telling my son about being on the show twice and watching Popeye everyday after school.  But I have to admit my fondest memories of Captain Gus, really aren't of him being on the show.  You see I knew him as the Judge Jennings' friend.  I grew up and still live in Pipe Creek areas.  I drive past Ed's store almost everyday.  I remember the first time I ever saw "Captain Gus" without his orange hair.  I didn’t recognize him, but I did his voice.  We walked out of the store and I was like "Mom, that sounded just like Captain Gus!"  Of course it was him.  He would work on and off at the store in Pipe Creek for Ed.  I always knew he was there when I saw the red truck that he used to drive.  I thought it was cool to know a big "star."  Thanks for the website and I will being singing the Popeye theme song all day.”

--- Ahoy, Denise it’s great to hear from you and to know that you have such wonderful memories of the Captain. As a matter of fact, KENS TV5 is busy promoting the fact that they’ve gone to HD with their newscast and the announcer’s voice at the beginning of the promo is Captain Gus from the 60s! Ba-ding-bing!!" (6/27/08)


Victor Santiago in Corpus Christi, Texas
sends me a letter in a bottle that came floating by the Good Ship Amigus and Alvin the Albatross fished it out of the water for me. It reads... "Hi Dennis, My name is Victor Santiago and I live in Corpus Christi but grew up in Victoria - watching Capn Gus. First of all I am glad you mentioned your health problems so that people can pray for your recovery and healing.  Healing is the children's bread. I don't recall seeing you because by that time I was in junior and did not get home until around five o'clock.  Thanks for putting up your website.  I've read it thru the years hoping hoping hoping that someone would come out and say "I have an old videotape of the Capn' Gus show."  I came across your site a couple of years ago searching for Capn Gus info.  I was hoping there was a documentary of Joe Alston or his character the Capn.  I could see the documentary ending the same way the Capn would end every show. I would like to encourage you to continue working on both Gobs of Fun and Can Gus or maybe even combine them.  I know you would have good regional audience for it, but former residents who have move to other parts would be happy to order from your site. You bring back lots of good memories.  Thanks. I go and buy those dollar DVDs that have Popeye and other cartoons, but it is just not the same without the Capn's lead-in...aahhh think :) Speaking of memories, did you ever know the weatherman for KENS, Judd Ashmore?  He always ended his weathercast with "hug somebody, it will make you feel great!"  Maclovio Perez was here in Corpus a few years and I stood beside him in a Best Buy one time, but I didn't have the nerve to ask him about Judd Ashmore. Thanks again and go get your healing."

--- Victor, thanks for writing to me and please forgive my delay in responding. I have been ill lately and have neglected my e-mails. It's good to know that you have fond memories of Captain Gus. The idea of producing a documentary on the Captain and me has been in my heart and head for many years. It's just getting off my keester and getting it started that's the challenge. Well, one of these days, I hope. As of memories of Judd Ashmore. Yes, I knew him well as we both were at the old KENS TV studiis downtown for many years. However, he did not make the transition to the new studios back in 1982 or so. I can't even remember of  Judd is still alive. I know he retired from his radio gig with Ricki Ware, many years ago. Again, thanks for writing, little matey! Do what you mom and dad tell you to do. That's very important. Mind your manners and BA DING DING! Still doing the do after all these years."



Albert Calvo in El Paso, Texas, sends me the first letter of 2008..."Mortimer, How are you, today, Matey!  Ba Ding, BING!  LOL. Well, I was searching around for old picture of San Antonio's skyline, and I stumbled into your site, and loved it!  I felt like I was in a Gumby Cartoon, and I was in a Wonderland, of memories.  My name is Albert Calvo. Wanna know a secret?  I was probably on the Capt. Gus show more than any other kid I know.  LOL.  The first time I was a guest on the show, with tickets and everything.  I think my mom got passes at Joske's Department store, or something.  At that time, back in about 1967, you had to have tickets or passes to be on the show.  My sister, Olga and I were on the SHOW!  We loved it.  Who wouldn't?  The people at KENS on Ave. E and 4th street, used to give us goodies like Hot Dogs, and candy.  Jokes, cartoons, the Captain wiggling his fake whiskers, and his laugh was all Globs of FUN, man. After the first time I was there, on the show, I figured a way to go back often.  Sometimes after school, at Horace Mann Jr. High, I would stay on the bus, and instead of going home, I went downtown, to be on the Show.  I had no pass to get in, but somehow, they let me in.  LOL. Just like this website, I had no permission to get in, I just stumbled in, and had a great time.  Thanks, for the memories, and let's keep in touch.  I've been a radio personality all over Texas...El Paso, Corpus Christi, Houston, and San Antonio, for 30 years, now, working Mornings for BMP Radio.  I got the idea to be in this business from the Capt. Gus show.  A lot of my style was patterned after the Captain!  He was my hero!  Someday, I hope to have another show like the Captain, ON TV...and you would be on it, Mortimer, ok, matey? Thanks.  I'm gonna look you up, so we can chat some more, ok?  Thanks, Albert."

---Thanks for your e-mail and for sharing your memories of the Captain Gus Show. It's always great to hear that the Captain and I had a positive effect on young people. It's wonderful that you've had a great career in radio. I enjoyed my 20 years, as well, and sometimes think I'd get back into it, but NO, my time on the air is over. Again, thanks for your e-mail. (2/2/08)


Grant Zolninger in North Carolina, writes... "Hello. I hope that this note finds you well. My name is Grant Zolninger and I will be 40 years old this June 2008. Like many folks, I was browsing the internet for something particular when I ran across your site and information about the Captain Gus show. I couldn't stop my self from reading, and as I did, it brought back my memories from my appearance on the show. My visit would have happened in the mid 70's. My recollection tells me that you (the "Mortimer" character)  had only been part of the show for a few years at best at that time. My memory of appearing on the "Captain Gus Show" was not as glorious as others seem to remember... I remember entering the studio and being greeted by you, (that was great). Captain Gus was in the background hustling about taking care of whatever business that was going on and completely ignored the 20+ children that were anxiously there to see him. I remember being somewhat disappointed with the way the set appeared in person. There always seemed to be a much more grand picture on the TV screen than that what we saw in the studio, once we were there. I suppose that I can understand this, now, as an adult having a better understanding of how TV works. As a 7 or 8 year old child, I was able to figure out the hoopla  of TV production which also took away from the true fun and excitement of being on TV. The most disappointing part of my experience was after the taping of the show ended. All kids, (including myself) were clambering for an autograph from Captain Gus. The Captain politely said..."Mortimer signs all of my autographs"! The Captain then went about his "behind the seems" duties and left you with a pile of screaming children to deal with. It was after that day that I watched the Captain Gus show only because you were part of the show. I remember that you signed every child's paper with a smile on your face and your manner revealed nothing but kindness. It is odd to think of this now after so many years, but my memory is clear as yesterday."

---Grant thank you for writing and expressing your memories of the Captain Gus Show. Well, you're the first person to express their feelings about behing on the show and learning that the experience is quite a bit different from just watching it on TV. You sound as if you found out how the magician does his magic tricks and the "fantasy" has diminished. I understand that. That same thing happened to me when I first got into the radio/TV business, myself. I must apologize if you felt slighted by Captain Gus and his lack of a one-on-one feeling with the kids. In explanation, let me say, when we did the show, we had just spent an hour on the road driving in from Kerrville to the downtown KENS TV studios. We, then, got into costumes, went over the brief layout of the show's schedule and then it's... ON THE AIR. Gus (Joe Alston) loved childen and loved entertaining them. The show was completely ad lib and his mind was going a mile-a-minute thinking of our next "bit."As you have said, even at age 7 or 8, you figured out what it took to pit the show on and all its hoopla. As for autographs, yes, he often told the kids, ""Mortimer signs all of my autographs." Joe just didn't unerstand why anyone would want his signature. He really didn't. I enjoyed it, he knew I did and also knew that most kids wouldn't be asking for my autograph, so he was being kind to be by steering the autograph-askers to me. Please remember, we also had time restraints after the show. We had to get out of costume, fill out our weekly payroll papers and then get out of downtown San Antonio, as soon as we could. More often than not, we hit the 5:00PM downtown traffic mess. PLUS, the studio had to be stripped down for it's next use. On top of all that, Joe had a lonnnnng drive back to Pipe Creek, after the show. In closing, let me just say that I hope the GOOD memories of the Captain and Me, far outweight the disappointment. By the way, do you still jave my autograph?? Ba-ding-bing!! (1/10/08)



Rachel Garcia of San Antonio, recently sent me this e-mail..."Hello Dennis, I came across your website and  it was great to read so much history about Captain Gus, you and the TV show. Recently I was telling my kids (16, 13 and 10) about the 3 times I was on the Captain Gus show. On one visit I was there with my cousins. Captain Gus came over and was asking our names. I grabbed the microphone right out of his hand and introduced myself, “I’m Rachel Garcia and this is my cousin Genevieve, my cousin EZ, my cousin… etc.”  There were six  of them. Captain Gus let me go right on until I had introduced my family. When I was done he gently took the micrphone and announced I was taking over the show. It would be great to have my kids hear that recording. Any idea who I might contact at Channel 5 for a possible copy? Thanks"

--- Matey Rachel! Thanks for writing and sharing your memories of the Captain Gus Show. Sorry to tell you that Channel 5 DOES NOT have anything of the Captain Gus Show or of my solo show, "Gobs of Fun." I personally have the only available footage of Joe in a special called "The Captain Gus Story" and I do have every show I ever did on my own. They are in VHS format and now that I am getting better from a recent life-threatening illness, I may get the project going to make the material avaialble to the public. Time will tell. (11/20/07)



Andy Cortes of San Antonio, writes to me saying, "Hi. My Name is Andy Cortes I Live in San Antonio all 39 years of my life. Not only did I always watch the  'Captain Gus Show" I was on the show twice with my Cub Scout Troop. It was the most fun I had watch myself on TV. I wish that a show like that could still be around where kids just got to be kids, laughing and having fun. Learning is important but it was just as important to be a kid, laugh and have fun. Thanks for the memories, Mortimer. " (11/5/07)

---Andy, I thank YOU for writing. When I get e-mail like yours, it brings back a flood of memories for me, I have to chuckle when I think " I used to be somebody." Thank you got being so kind to write. Ba-ding-bing, little matey!!




Dale Tillman
in San Antonio, writes..."Hi, Mortimer, my name is Dale Tillman. I am an native of San Antonio. I was browsing the net and happened across your website. I havent thought of Captain Gus in years and it sure brought back a lot of memories. I was on the show in ‘64 or ‘65, i'm not sure. I thought I was to old to be on the show at the time, but my two younger brothers wanted to go and my mom made me go with them. I think I enjoyed it more than my brothers did. I was 11 or 12, at the time, but I never missed a show. and I lived for 'Shock Theater' and 'Project Terror', “where the scientific and the terrorfying emerge!”  I would sure like to have a DVD of the show, if they are available. Thanks for the memories."

--- Great to hear from you Dale and thanks for taking the time to write. Again, I have to apologize for not producing the "Captain Gus & Mortimer" DVD that I had planned to. My health has been so precarious that I cannot give this project the attention it deserves, at this time. I'm trying my best to get better. In addition, I'm trying to switch jobs to something less stressful than being the Public Information Officer for a local school district. After 10 years, it's just too much for my health. [By the way, do you know of anyone or a local company looking to hire a FIRST MATE MATEY with 35+ years of radio/ television / PR experience? I'm serious!]
i"ll listen to any serious offers. Old Matey's never die, we just drift away... (6/15/07)



Melissa Boyett, in Dallas-Ft. Worth
, writes to me... “Hi, Dennis, I have visited your website a couple of times and finally have a minute to jot a note.  I have enjoyed your site, tripping through memory lane so to speak. Names like Bruce Hathaway, Ricci Ware, Don Couser bring back wonderful memories of having a transistor radio perpetually stuck to my ear.  Of course, I grew up with Captain Gus, too, not just because because he was on TVm but he was a personal friend of my father, Pat Boyette. I think the "Project Terror" thing was done by my dad, the art work just looks too familiar.  Wow, that was a long time ago. My dad was the KENS 10 p.m. news anchor, pre-Chris Marrou from the 50's until the mid 60's.  Prior to that he was a disc jockey for several radio stations including WOAI.  If you google him there are a number of bio's out there with pics.  I remember him -- I think -- telling me that he was involved in the creation of Captain Gus which generally means they were all sitting around a coffee pot chatting and it just came to be. He was also involved with "Shock" and did the opening credits for them because he was not only a news man but an artist. I remember "Shock" very well because I wasn't allowed to stay up and watch it except for one night that they aired "Frankenstein"

Other names I remember from that time were mostly "behind the scenes" kinda people like Kent Moore, Eddie Morris, Charles Heard, Al Dullnig, and Bill Shomette. That was such a great era -- radio was still great and tv was greater. I remember Don Couser and his chicken or duck or whatever it was sidekick.  My dad always said that no time in history beat the "big band" era and WWII but I have to disagree -- the 50's and 60's were fabulous.  About myself.  Well, grew up in SA, graduated from Edison in 1968. Married my high school sweetie. Had two kids and moved to DFW area in 1990.  Kids are grown and we are expecting our first grandchild.  More good times but I sure wish his little world was going to be more like ours was. What do I like about your website?  Well, the pics.  You know, it is a shame that these programs aren't archived someplace but I would imagine they aren't.  I have a couple of tapes of my Dad doing various things but on the whole, I don't think they were saved.  I might be wrong.  I also like the comments from people of our era further down your wrb page.It brings back many, many memories.  I guess I should quit using the word "era".  Sounds very antique, don't you think?  Besides, those days seem like yesterday to me!

You know, one thing about your site that made me really sad was your recounting of the story about how Captain Gus ceased to be.  Yeah. I remember that happening because Joe and my dad talked about how devastated he was. It seems like the "old guys" were easy to forget. I know that whenever anything is said about the history of Channel 5, my dad is very conveniently glossed over or omitted completely and he was a very big part of KENS for quite a while.  Very sad.  The veterans were so good.  

Again, thanks for this site -- it brings back wonderful memories. I wish I could go back, if for just a day! We can all be grateful for folks like you who keep these wonderful memories alive." (5/14/07)



Tom Strapkovic,
location unknown. He writes... "Those were truly the good old days. I remember watching the show every day." (5/3/07)



Herb Mueller
, where? I don't know. He writes.... "Hi, Dennis. I read your collection of memories of Capt. Gus. My association with the Captain aka Joe Alston, started in 1963. I was fortunate enough to have been a floor crew member when I was finishing high school and continued until the draft board caught up with me in 1966. When I was on the camera crew in 1963 the Capt. still had the old set which was made of cardboard boxes, painted shades of gray, and had a net draped along the side. The whole set was probably 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep-just large enough to hold the Capt., the Wishing Well, and the Hostess Twinkies prop. All of KENS-TV5 was black & white. The new and much larger ship appeared around '64 or '65. It was christened in a downtown parade (probably Fiesta). It was painted in bright colors-oranges, reds, & yellows and looked like a boat-it had a bow and stern and a cabin with a smoke stack. This was used when TV 5 went color. We built the Peanut Gallery, where the mateys sat, at the same time. One of my jobs was to have a game at Game Time. We had everything from guess the lucky number to bounce the ball in a barrel. Many of the kids were scouts or Brownies. Yes elephant jokes were very popular and I don't think I ever heard one repeated. I will always remember how the floor crew rushed to the cameras when we heard the Popeye theme which was played as Popeye was clobbering Bluto/Brutus or kissing Olive Oyl because that meant we were going live with the Capt.

You mentioned the off camera monster "Zombie" and we also had "Hector". They were a paper mache claw that came from the Shock set and were probably made by Pat Boyette, the newscaster and movie director. The house that we used at start of Shock Theatre..we had a light bulb in the house that was flashed off & on with the background music of thunder. Joe lston. returned late on Friday evening, put on the count costume and id the intro and closing. Later these were taped. In those days almost everything was live-we had one video tape machine.

Yes, The Captain was always a gentleman and a well-read person. I recall some very interesting conversations with him in the sound booth prior to the Capt Gus Show. He was the staff announcer from noon until 3:00. Herb Booth was a replacement for the Capt. but we also would have a gentlemen who was on Channel 5 in the early days of TV-he had a western show. He was a real live rancher-can't recall his name but the technicians who had been with the station since its call letters were KGBS knew him. He brought a guitar and sang songs.  Many of the Klieg and spot lights were stencilled KGBS and KEYL. You may know some of the engineers-Leonard Robards, Dick Zuehl, Ray McMillan, Kent Moore.  Jerry Zimmermann was the weatherman, Bill Shomette was one of the newscasters along with Pat Boyette at 10:00.Pat left SA to continue and expand his comic book characters-He and Joe Alston. went back in SA radio from the 1930s. I remember Jim Abbott, he was an avid rally driver and big Mustang fan. He was doing the noon and 6:00pm news when I first started. I believe he passed away. Remember Coyt Butler? He was an old KONO newscaster who join TV-5 in 1964-mostly a newswriter. Sure, I remember you aunt, Gloria Simpson, who worked at the Expewaa-News/KENS..she was always in the switchboard area which was located on the right side of the main entrance and along the hallway to the control room.She was always very nice to me. And, Dennis,  I remember your uncle Joe Simpson, prominent radio news anchorm as well. I suspect that you knew Ish Romero, a person I really admire now as a manager, was the floor manager. In my book an MBA program could be modeled after his leadership & wisdom. The news cameramen, with their 16mm cameras were Rex Stanley ( always a gentleman) and another person whose name I can't remember. The station had just purchased two Marconi cameras for the studio when I joined. We still used the Dumonts; especially the one with the zoom lens. Dennis, I came across your website while looking up something about the old TV & radio stations in SA and found you under Capt. Gus. I live in SA. Thanks again for prompting me to think about a wonderful segment of my life."

---Herb, it's great to hear from an "old timer" like yourself. Hey! Don't forget pioneer news anchor Jim Abbott, as well, Thank you for writing. By the way, my aunt Gloria Simpson was the telephone operator at KENS for 30+ years and her husband, my uncle, was Joe Simpson, the legend news broadcaster at KABC, KITE, KKYX and elsewhere. They have both passed away. And, I worked at both TV station locations. (4/4/07)



Darrell Richardson in Abilene, Texas
, writes... Ahoy, Dennis.  First, thanks for being part of the show that was such a big part of my childhood.  I never got to be on the Captain Gus Show, but I did get to meet him.  It was around 1969 or 1970.  I was probably 6 or 7 years old.  I was living in Del Rio, TX.  You mentioned Laughlin AFB on your site.  My Mom worked at the credit union there.  She helped many young military personnel get their affairs in order as they left for Viet Nam.  My sister played in the Del Rio High School Marching Band.  My parents were in the Booster Club.  They were looking for a fund raiser to buy new band uniforms.  They sponsored a football game.  My Dad was instrumental in getting Captain Gus to appear at halftime.  My parents and I had dinner with him the night of the game.  At some point during the game, he came up in the stands and sat with us.  It was the highlight of this young (at that time) matey's life.  In January 1971, we moved to San Antonio where I continued to be Captain Gus' most loyal matey. I think that the ironic thing about the Captain Gus show is that even though the show provided great entertainment, it taught kids things like self-respect and respect for others.  And, Captain Gus always made little kids feel like they were important and what they had to say was important.  Yet in its infintine wisdom, the management of KENS decided to cancel the show because kids weren't being taught enough.  Hmmm.  <>I hated to read that there aren't any existing tapes of the shows.  I had always wondered about that.  Is there any chance that you might put some of your footage together for public consumption.  I suspect that there are a lot of us that would like a chance to relive a part of their childhoods. Well, that's pretty much the "Do and whole McCloo". Best regards, Your Matey,  Darrell."

---
Ahoy, Darrell ! How wonderful to hear from you! Thanks for writing. It's always a pleasure to re-live some great memories of Captain Gus. Yes, it's a shame that there is no film footage of the show except for what I have. I have been wanting to put together a presentation but my health has limited my activities these past two years. Hopefully, this summer, I can put something together for the public. I miss the Captain very much. He was like a second father to me. I miss his humor, his advice and wisdom. Those of us that knew him, whether personally or just over the tv airwaves were very lucky indeed. It's great that you have such wonderful memories of him and the show. Thank you for sharing them with me. By the way, I began my radio & tv career in Del Rio, just like Wolfman Jack did. I was an on-air personality (DJ) at KDLK AM & FM and KWMC Radio in Del Rio from 1973-78. I loved working there. I haven't been back in about 25 years, but I hope to visit there this summer. Again, thank you for writing. Now, you mind your manners, little matey. Do what your mommy and daddy tell you to do that's very important. This is Mortimer, for Captain Gus, saying bye bye, matey, bye bye! Still doing the do and the whole McCloo after all these years! (1/22/07)



Peter Trinidad in San Antonio, Texas, writes..."Do you have any information about the Captain Gus show. I am 52 years old and used to watch it all the time in the 1960's and early 1970's. I used to run home from junior high and high school just to catch the Captain Gus show. Are there any old reruns on shows from those years available on VHS or cassette. I would love to acquire any other memorabilia out there about Captain Gus. It was a very sad day when he died. It is almost as if an era of innocence that we had died when Captain Gus died. I still miss him and tell my kids about him. Captain Gus, Project Terror and 5 Star Shock used to entertain us in those days. I would love to see those old shows again even if Captain Gus just interviewing the children and just talking to us. By the way, do you know where they buried our old Captain Gus? He must have been a great man. I wish I could have met him."

---Peter, you ask me if I have any information on Captain Gus, yet, how did you know who I was or how to reach me? You must have visited my website. All the information that I have is right on this web page. There are not any reruns or tapes. I have the only film footage and have not yet decided what to do with it. All the best and thanks for writing. (12/26/06)




George Chastain, in Morgantown, West Virginia, is a freelance graphic artist and web developer with a special interest in all sorts of pop culture, but especially classic horror movies.  He writes to me saying, "Dear Dennis, For a lot of my "monster" related stuff I use the alter-ego "E-gor," and I have a huge website called "E-gor's Chamber of TV Horror Hosts" where I've been collecting information about this television phenomenon all over the country (and around the world) for more than 10 years -- more than 300 entries now and many more coming. I have a good bit of data about your old buddy "Captain Gus," Joe Alston, related to his horror movie hosting activities at KENS-TV; here's my "THE HOST, aka JOE ALSTON" entry: http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/tvhorrorhosts/hostsh.html#TheHost2 Though I've never visited Texas, and I'm very sorry to say that never seen Joe Alston in any of his TV shows, I've been ' reading about him since the early '60's, in articles about a guy named BOB BURNS who worked with Joe on SHOCK THEATER for a few years when he was in the Army, stationed in San Antonio.  These photo features were printed in several of the monster magazines that I read voraciously when I was a kid, like FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, HORROR MONSTERS, and FANTASTIC MONSTERS OF THE FILMS (which Bob Burns had a hand in producing).  As you can see, these magazines had a profound influence on me back then, and warped me for life!

Since, Bob Burns and his wife Kathy both worked with Joe Alston on the SHOCK shows, and both appeared in monstrous makeup as co-hosts or "sidekicks", I also have entries about both of them on my horror host site -- Bob Burns entry: http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/tvhorrorhosts/hostsb.html#BobBurns  and MISS SHOCK (Kathy Burns)  http://myweb.wvnet.edu/e-gor/tvhorrorhosts/hostsm.html#MissShock  Since both of these entries have information and/or images related to Joe Alston, I thought you might want to take a look at them too. If you would be willing to add a mention of my "E-gor's Chamber of TV Horror Hosts" site and a link to any or all of the URLs above, I'll be very happy to swap links with you (I've already posted a link to your site on my JOE ALSTON entry but I can add it to Bob and Kathy's entries too). i noticed that you have two images from my site of Joe as a horror host on the "Ahoy There Little Mateys" page on your high school reunion site -- but please don't be alarmed, I was delighted to find them there and I have no problem with it at all. I'm glad to share anything that will help to keep Joe Alston's memory alive and give his fans a treat.  I got both of the images (a closeup of Joe as The Host from the very early days of Shock Theater, and an ad for a particular episode with pix of Joe in his later Host makeup, and a picture of Bob Burns in werewolf makeup) from Bob Burns, who has become a good friend of mine since I did a tribute poster for him and Kathy a few years ago.  Bob Burns is well-known these days as an expert on fantasy/sci-fi/horror films -- almost all of the DVD reissues of classic fantasy films from the 50's and 60's have extras with Bob talking about the making of the film!  He is also famous for his priceless collection of props and memorabilia from these films -- he owns and maintains everything from the original full-sized Time Machine from the 60's film to flying saucers from PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE to the original wolfhead cane used to kill the werewolf in the 40's classic THE WOLF MAN!  He has lived in Burbank since the 40's (except for two years in the Army in Texas), and he and Kathy have known and befriended virtually EVERYBODY in the fantasy film industry all those years. If you'd like to find out more about Bob and Kathy, here's a link to his official website:  http://bobburns.mycottage.com/

Bob and Kathy are wonderful, warm, generous people.  Of course when I discovered your webpage about their old friend Joe Alston  I wrote to Bob about it so he could check it out.  He dug up an old fan card of Captain Gus that Joe gave him many years ago and scanned it for me so I could add it to my THE HOST entry, where it's linked on the sidebar (click on the Captain Gus portrait to see the whole card).  I've attached it to this e-mail, and Bob has already given me permission to offer it to you if you want to use it on your website too -- when I told him the scan he sent looked good. In one of his recent e-mail he mentioned that he'd continued working with Joe Alston even after he returned to California when he was discharged from the Army:  When I returned from the army in 1960 Kathy and I went to Marineland and shot some 16mm footage of whales for Joe to use on his Captain Gus show. I heard that he used it over and over. From your Captain Gus page, and the newspaper articles and fan feedback you reprinted on it, I learned that Joe Alston hosted horror movie showcases with different names besides SHOCK THEATER -- FIVE STAR SHOCK and PROJECT TERROR. I've added these titles to my list of Joe's shows, but the details about them are sketchy right now.  Do you know if he only did voiceovers on PROJECT TERROR?  Any better idea of the year dates for these shows?  Any and all additional information would be greatly appreciated. Lastly, you mentioned that you're working on a DVD for fans of Joe's Captain Gus show.  Do you know if ANY footage whatsoever has survived from any of his horror host shows?  From the PROJECT TERROR screen grab on your site I assume somebody has a tape of that show at least.  I would LOVE to see anything that survived, and I'm sure Bob and Kathy would too! Keep up the great work, First Mate Mortimer!  Your fans, including me, are proud that you're keeping up a great tradition. Hope to hear from you when you get a little slack -- but take it easy until you're back to your old self again! Meanwhile, happy holidays, the happiest of New Years, and best of luck with all your endeavors, George "E-gor" Chastain. (12/12/06)



Colonel Jay Martinez, Pennsylvania wrote me today... "Dear Dennis, This morning I woke up thinking about Cap'n Gus. For some unexplained reason I searched and found your site and it is fantastic.  I am much older than you, but my children used to watch the show.(as a matter of fact that my stepdaughter is in the picture of the captain with the children - she's now in her 30's). I remember Joe Alston and Regina very well as I was associated at that time with his Christian organization. I have always found it amazing how Joe kept both his career and his religious affiliations completely separate from one another, you could not detect the presence of Joe in Capn' Gus and vice-versa. I remember on one occasion I was volunteer teacher at the SA Chest Clinic, helping children with TB continue their schooling while being patients of the clinic, and Cap'n Gus came to visit and the kids went absolutely ecstatic. Funny, I think I called him Brother Alston and he reacted with surprise. I moved from San Antonio to Austin back in 97' and to Pennsylvania 2 months ago. I still maintain my home in Austin (can't get TX out of my heart). I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful write-up on Joe, I am sorry to know he passed away. Indeed Bro. Alston is in heaven."

--- Jay, it's good to hear from you and to learn of your connection to the Captain. It has been a while since someone had written to me about the Captain. I'm glad that people still find this website. It's this time of year that Joe and I would have fun debates about the holiday season, Since, he was  Jehovah's Witness and I being a Catholic, we could go round and round., but we both respected each others views. You are right about him keeping his religious views out of the Captain Gus character. We both remained non-partisan when we did the shows. We never mentioned the holidays of any kind and no one was ever offended by that. Thanks for your letter. Now, mind your manners, matey! (11/21/06)




Jenn Dolari in Austin, Texas is a cartoonist and sent me her email... "Howdy! Wow, now there IS a blast from my past.  I was a real young-un back in the late '70s, but I do remember seeing you and Cap'n Gus on KENS way way way back when.  Those pics on your site were, literally, the first time I've seen the good Captain since 1979. I also have some really fond memories of Gobs of Fun.  In fact - my sister was on the show once!  Best Christmas present ever, since the show was broadcast on December 25th, 1982. I'm sorry to hear the Captain's passed away, but it's good to see you're doing better, yourself! Hvve a good one, and thanks for dusting off some ancient memories."

--- Ancient memories? Hey, I'm only 53, not King Tut! LOL Thanks for writing, Jenn, and glad to know you enjoyed what we did. (6/3/06)




David Christy of Prattville, Alabama checks in with me... "Dennis - Hi! My name is Dave Christy. Let me first say, I hope you are now in good health. I am a San Antonio native a contemporary of yours, graduating from your close rivals. Class of '73, O.W. Holmes High School. I stumbled across your web site while searching for information on another of public figure of the 50's and 60's. He had an early gardening show called "Gardening with Renton (???)." Do you recall it? By the way, loved your ending. Project Terror. Remember "Where the scientific and the terrifying emerge." Friday nights, 1030 PM as I recall. Anyway, I currently reside in Prattville, Alabama where I am the Chief Medical Technologist at the Montgomery Cancer Center. Enjoyed your Captain Gus material very much and if you recall anything on the program I mentioned, let me know. Thanks."

--- David, I can't say that I remember the gardening show that you speak of. Of course, I had some memory loss with my 3 strokes in 1995, so I use that as an excuse for forgetting things. LOL It's great to hear of your success. I have gotten letters, cards and emails from doctors, lawyers, company executives, moms and dads, all telling me how the Captain and I touched their lives. I appreciate hearing from you. (6/1/06)



Roger Macias in San Antonio, Texas, sounds so excited as he writes... "Dear Dennis, I saw you today on KENS TV! Nice job! It looks like you are feeling well, thank God. Well when you get your project DVD done please let me know so I can purchase one. I mentioned to you a while back that Captain Gus's dad was married to my wife's grandmother...Supposedly there are pictures around and we are looking for them. We lost my father-in-law last August and are still going thru photos etc.. That makes my father-in-law and Joe Alston (Captain Gus) brothers by marriage. Oh well, get well soon and I look forward to the DVD. God Bless."

---Roger, yes that was me on the news all week long. We had an incidence of TB with a student at the Junior High at Somerset ISD. As the Public Information Officer, I had to work with the media on this. Let me tell you, being on camera now-a-days is sure a lot different for me. Oh, to be able to go back and entertain the kids, rather than having an investigative reporter shoving a microphone in my face and drilling me! LOL If you do find any photos of the Captain, send them to me for posting here. (5/23/06)




Tom Scott of Amarillo, Texas finds the time to write to old' Mortimer... "Hello and greetings from Amarillo. I was a Captain Gud Matey in the '70s. I was on the show twice. The second time was in September 1975. I remember the Captain was presented with a ship replica on that show. I think I was on the last daytime show. The daytime shows were done live. I also remember how cold the studio got when the lights were turned off between live segments...brr! I hope the video project gets back on track soon...ba-ding-bing!

---Tom, thanks for writing. If it hasn't been for the air conditioning, the Good SHip Amigus would have burst into flames on the set! LOL (5/4/06)



David ? in Durham, North Carolina touched base with me... "Dennis, I wanted to say hello and thanks for putting up the Captain Gus web site. I lived in San Antonio Tx. in '69 -'71. I was 8 or 9 at the time.  My father was stationed at Lackland AFB. I remember watching the show daily and even seeing some of my friend on it in the audiance. For some reason the image of Captain Gus has stayed with me all these years. If you finish the DVD project I would like to get one. Please let me know how it goes. Take care and God Bless."

---Thanks for writing, David. If you see this posting, perhaps you can send me your last name to post here ion the website.
  (4/7/06)



Ron Morales in San Antonio, Texas sent in this e-mail to me... "Hey Mortimer, I hope you're feeling better. Captain Gus and Popeye were regular parts of my life throughout the sixties. Please pursue releasing the video you described.  I think it could be a pretty incredible piece of nostalgia for a lot of us. Good luck."

--- Ron, I'll do my best on the DVD, as soon as I can. I get inspired every now and then, I just have to get going on it.
(4/6/06)



Laura Valdez of Chattanooga, Tennesse, has taken the time to write to me... "Hi Mortimer, It was great to find your web page!!! I watched Captain Gus as a kid, but unfortunately I'm old enough to not remember your days on the show. However I can't tell you how grateful I am for all the details and pictures you've included on your site. I moved to Chattanooga, TN, about 3 years ago, and I miss San Antonio especially in April when Fiesta is like a siren to me. I was having one of those water-cooler conversations with co-workers about watching cartoons as kids and told them about Captain Gus. When I "googled" Captain Gus, all that came up was that almost-lame article from the Express-News. I couldn't find a picture of the Captain anywhere. I was so disappointed that I couldn't show them all the neat stuff...the set, the seagull. How ironic that I stumbled onto your website when I "googled" Logan Stewart. (There is a brief mention of him in one of the letters to you.) Yep...it was another water-cooler conversation...remember when KTSA gave away $55,000 for the little button contest. You had to be wearing your KTSA button, and someone would just come up to you and award you money. The lady that won the grand prize nearly fainted. Has anyone sent you a picture of their button? Remember all the crazy things people did with those buttons trying to win? I remember seeing a bluejean jacket where the back was COVERED with them. Thanks for keeping these great San Antonio treasures alive. You'd make a mint if you ever decided to write a book about Captain Gus. Please keep my info so you can let me know how to buy it! There are a lot of Mateys out there!"

--- Yes, Laura, there are a lot of Mateys out there and you're one on the nicest! Logan Stewart was a good friend of mine, as well. Here's another secret, until my health took a downturn in July 2005, I was the copy writer for KTSA for the past 11 years. I was freelance for them and wrote over 1,800 radio commercials. Hmmm, I also wrote for several other businesses while still serving as the Public Information Officer for Somerset ISD. ( http://www.somerset.k12.tx.us ) Maybe I've been working too hard and too much! LOL (4/5/06)



Efrem Sepulveda in Sacramento, California writes... "Dennis: What a great summary of your relationship with "Captain Gus" and your memories of the show. I was in SA from 1972 to 1978 and remember all too well the catchphrases "Think Tank time" and "ba ding-ding."  I think what is sad is that the era of local kids' shows has been gone for a long time and now all that exists today is the crass commercialism in children's television. Just to let you know, I was in Los Angeles during the late 60s and early '70s when they had Sheriff John, Webster Webfoot and Hobo Kelly and they all had a special spot in their hearts for the kids. A few thoughts before closing. do you think you can send some of your memories with the pictures to TVParty.com?  They have a special section on Local Kids shows from the past. Also, I remember those "First Mate" fish restaurants they had in SA (I remember one being located at the corner of Culebra and General McMullen).  They have been gone a long time and want to know if you had any memories of those places since they were related to you all's show in a certain way. I remember the first time that I watched your show; I moved to SA from Los Angeles in 1972 after my dad retired from the Navy.  I watched Channel 5 every day during that time I saw Captain Gus "doing the do" and being kind to the kids every day.  I loved Popeye and what he did for Olive; I just wished she be more grateful to him instead of falling for Bluto every episode.  I also liked the Little Rascals and a bit of Bugs Bunny here and there. I find it ironic that they canceled your show in favor of "educational programing" which in my opinion did more harm than good for kids.  I think they brought too many adult subjects to kids in a much shorter period of time and needless to say, the evidence of it across America is all too prominent. As I suggested, your story of Captain Gus and yourself should be posted on the TV Party Website.  Here is a link of some of the kids shows I saw in Los Angeles when I was there:  http://www.tvparty.com/lostla1.html  I look with anticipation the release of your DVD and count me as one to purchase a great set of memories."

--- Efrem, it's great to hear from someone in California. Day, HI to Arnold for me. Speaking of the Little Rascals, I have been thinking of addding a section on this page about them. The Captain and I used to show the Little Rascals on the program until the station fee for them ran out. In 1985, I organized the first reunion of George "Spanky" McFarland, Eugene "Porky" Lee, and Tommy "Butch" Bond, since 1956. They all have spent the night at my home. I think I'll scan the photo of the four of us in my living room and put it here on the page. Of course, Spanky, Porky and Butch have all passed away, as of last year. (3/26/06)



 
Donald Gray in San Antonio is the first matey to write to me after my recent illness from which I am still recovering and componded with "Bell's Palsy", now. He writes... "Dennis, When I was a kid I never missed an episode of Captain Gus. I would get home from school, get a snack and park myself in front of the TV to watch the show.  We moved away from San Antonio in 1972 and whenever we came back for a visit I would make certain to watch it. Great memories that is for sure.  We have been back in San Antonio for years and I am so sorry that my children never got to see the show.  It is so sad that Joe is gone and I hope that he had some sense of how much his fans enjoyed the show. I was thrilled to see your website and learn about the video project. I actually found your site by doing a Google search.  I was doing a little web surfing, thought of your show and did a search.  Wow, the internet is such an incredible thing!   Again, thanks so much and I wish you all the best. Thanks for taking the time to continue sharing the Captain Gus and Mortimer experience with your many fans. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you continue your recovery. BA-DING BING!!!"

---Don, thank you so very much for your kind words. I always enjoy hearing from folks like yourself and knowing that the Captain and I touched the lives of so many, many mateys! The video project is on hold until I can get my health back. I hope it's not too long from now. In closing, I want to thank you for the BA-DING-BING! It's making me feel beter already!" (2/17/06)



Howard Harris in San Antonio, Texas, writes... "Hey Matey, I hope you're doing better. I was a big fan of you and Joe. I have been searching for footage of the Captain Gus Show forever. I watched it every day for years. I never was on the show though. How sad. I did get some type of invitation to eat breakfast with Captain Gus and the Easter Bunny at Joske's, I think. I did and enjoyed it very much. I can actually remember it. My family was from the Somerset and Lytle area. I was raised in San Antonio, though. I am 42 years old. A friend of mine, who I lost contact with 15 years ago, had the original book that Joe opened up on "Shock Theatre". I offered him a million dollars (or what seemed like it LOL ), but he never would sell it to me. When you get those videos ready, I would like to purchase one. Hated to see the write up on your illness, I hope you have a speedy recovery. Howard Harris."

---Howard, thanks for your email, I appreciate it very much. My recovery is going a bit slower than expected, but I get stronger every day. As you can imagine, the "Captain Gus & Mortimer" video project is on hold until I can fully recover. I'm not sure when, but I still have my heart set on completing it. (If my heart doesn't give out!) LOL Again, thanks for your kind words.  Ba-ding-bing, Matey!! (1/31/06)




Randy Niendorff in Boulder, Colorado, writes to me "Hello Dennis, I ran across your site today and had to write.  I grew up in San Antonio and began watching the Captain as a little guy in the mid-1950's.  I was on the show once in 1959.  I recall a particular show when one of the crew booby trapped the barrel that Captain Gus sat on and the next time he sat down, the good Captain sailed backwards head over heels.  He was laughing so hard he could barely get up.  The film crew was howling. I really wanted to write to tell you about an incident that happened in 1977 or 78.  I was in my late 20's by that time and I had pulled into a convenience store just north of the corner of Frederickspurg Rd, and Callaghan Rd.  There I was, eyeballing the soft drinks in the cooler when I noticed that the fellow standing next to me was Joe Alston.  "Excuse me, but aren't you Joe Alston, Captain Gus?"  The man had a broad friendly smile and admitted that he was in fact, the Captain. "You know," I said.  "You really meant a lot to the kids of my era.  Your show was fun and entertaining and we even learned a few things during Think Tank Time."  He was a humble man and simply continued to smile as I went on.  "To me Mr. Alston, you're a hero.  You made a personal difference in my life.  Thank you."  I reached out and shook his hand.  As we walked to the register, he asked me to come out to the car and meet his wife, which I did.  It may sound corny, but that was an afternoon that I will never forget. I have included a scan of my Popeye Club membership card.  Feel free to use it on your site, if you like. There once was a man named Joe Alston who was a special human being who loved children and made them laugh.  He lives now in my memories and will until the day I die".

---Randy... how wonderful to hear from you and thank you for the story. I will add it to my web page, as soon as I get the opportunity to do so. It warms my heart to hear such marvelous things from people like yourself. I am so glad that the Captain touched your life in such a special way. Thank you also for the membership card. I will use it on the page, as well. And here's a chuckle for you... The Captain was a Jehovah's Witness, but would have a great laugh when I wish you a Merry Christmas from he and I, this holiday season!! (JW's don't celebrate Christmas). Now, you be sure to mind your manners and do what your mommy and daddy tell you to do. That's very important! Drink your milk and make your bed, too! For the Captain and me, bye bye matey, bye bye! Still doing the do and the whole McClue after all these years, Dennis "Mortimer" DuPriest  (12/7/05)



Carole (Walls) Henry of San Antonio, who went to school with me at John Jay H.S. writes... "OMG Dennis!! I did not realize you were Mortimer!! Holy cow---I know the real McCoy!! This is so cool. I started teaching chemistry at Southwest High School. When my last class was getting ready to be released for Thanksgiving break, I absentmindedly told them "Bye-bye mateys..bye-bye". When they returned after the break, they asked why I said that. I told them about the Captain. That show was part of my favorite childhood memories. Thanks for the blast from the past!!"

---I can't stop laughing just reading your response, Carole! What a delight! Thanks for your kind words! (8/2/05)




Roy Ortega, Multimedia Editor for the El Paso Times, El Paso, Texas
writes... "Hi Dennis, I read Paula Allen's column Sunday in the Express-News and it opened up a flood of memories for me. The memory of that greeting "...Ahoy mateys!"...hit me like a strong gust of wind. I am 52 years old and I vividly remember the Captain's voice - as clearly as if I had just heard it moments ago. Captain Gus made my childhood a wonderful, magical time. Reading your Web site and seeing those old photos immediately took me back to the 50s and 60s - back to my old home on Kendalia Ave. in South San Antonio where I grew up. What I would give to see Captain Gus on TV again! While reading your Web site, I realized you and I have something in common. I too began a broadcasting career in San Antonio at almost exactly the same time as you. Perhaps, we may have even crossed paths. I relate back to the Top 40 radio days of the 1960s. Names such as Don Couser, Lee "Baby" Simms, Bruce Hathaway, Howard Edwards, "The Real" Don Steele and Ricci Ware were all very familiar to me. In the eary 1970s, I worked as a DJ and radio newsman at several radio stations in San Antonio including KONO, KTSA and WOAI.   While a student at San Antonio College, I immersed myself in broadcasting and later transferred to UT Austin in pursuit of a journalism degree.It's great to find a kindred spirit! Keep up the good work, Dennis."

---Roy, I appreciate your very kind words. It's nice to know that, in some small way, I can bring back good memories for so many people. I have often wondered, if things went differently, would the Captain and I still be sailing the airwaves. I don't know. Today's cartoons are so filled with violence, mayhem, killing and horror. (I know, how can I defend Elmer Fudd chasing Bugs and Daffy with a loaded shotgun or Popeye beating the living daylights out of Bluto, but somehow it's diffeent. At least in my eyes.) It's a little known secret, but the Captain and I had a couple of meetings with rival TV stations, a couple of years after my show went off the air. We were really close to getting back on TV, but other opportunities came our way. Ahhhh, the things that might have been. Now, mind your manners, matey and make your parents proud! (8/2/05)



Artie Bigley in Columbus, Ohio
sends me this email... "I was listing to the afternoon KTSA talk show when they mentioned Captain Gus. I grew up in S.A. in the 60s and early 70s, so that brings back memories. I live in Columbus now, I've been out of Texas for the last 13 years. I listen to KTSA on the web. I found your site from the San Antonio Express News article mentioned on the KTSA talk show. I think it's nice that you are going to have a DVD on him. Was the Captain ever on the radio in Kerrville?? I remember he talked about Helotes a lot. Is there very much video left of him from the 60s?? Also, I remember he did the Project Terror voice over... That was from 1960-1965?? Well, I just turned 50."

---Hey, Matey! Thanks for your email. Hmmm less address some of your points. I better concebtrate, it's THINK TANK TIME! Yes, Joe was station manager and sales manager at KERV Radio in Kerrville. That's where I met him. I think you have Helotes confused with Pipe Creek. He always talked about Pipe Creek and that's were he lived on the banks of the Guadalupe River. Yes, he did the vopices for Shock!, 5-Star Shock and Project Terror. I'm not sure about the years. Keep doing the do! (8/2/05)



Hal Harwell in Boerne, Texas emails me... "Dear Dennis, On your web site you have done a wonderful job of stirring up the childhood memories that your visitors have of Captain Gus.  Like others, I enjoyed getting home from school and watching Captain Gus.  But I also knew him personally. You mentioned that he was "a wonderful man, a good man, who loved children... he loved life and most of all he loved his wife, Regina". As I am sure you know, those qualities were a result of his faith.  He was an ordained minister of Jehovah's Witnesses and lived his faith.  As a child growing up in Boerne, I was blessed to hear many inspiring sermons that Joe gave and work with him as he helped others to gain knowledge of the Bible.  I was a classmate of Regina's son Ron and became very close friends with him and his family. In Joe's efforts to help others to benefit from the spirit that helped him to be the kind of man he was he served tirelessly, without pay, in congregations in Boerne, San Antonio, and Bandera. Joe really was a fine example as a Christian in his personal life."

---Hal, your kind words are so appreciated. Yes, he was a wonderful Christian in every sense of the word. Thanks for sharing this side of the Captain with everyone who reads your words. Ba-ding-bing, matey! (8/2/05)



Jim Spencer in San Antonio, Texas writes...  "Dennis, I just checked out the "Captain Gus" area on your web site after seeing it listed in the article in last Sunday's paper. Very enjoyable and nostalgic. I recall one of his shows - BEFORE he had kids on the show - where a low flying jet flew by and Alvin the Albatross got a little too close and susequently the Captain was showered with a bunch of feathers tossed from off camera. Really high tech special effects back then, eh? I grew up in the Lackland Terrace area and was there on the first day that John Jay opened as a new freshman. I only attended for half that year before circumstances necessitated a move to another school, but I WAS there at the very beginning. When I was in grade school, I used to get off the city bus at the corner of Military Dr. and Highway 90 and walk home about a mile past what was then, Handy Andy to my house on Buggywhip Drive. If I moved fast enough I could usually catch Capt. Gus coming on at 3:30. Good memories. I would like to get a copy of the DVD when available. One other thing I was wondering about, was Joe Alston a ham radio operator? I am and I remember sometime in the distant past seeing the name Joe Alston, Jr. in Pipe Creek listed in an Amateur Radio directory. Good Luck and thanks for the memories."

---Jim, thanks for writing. Beleive it or not, you and I lived in the same area as kids! We lived on Remuda Drive! We used to walk up to the Handy Andy mall and go to the Rexall Drug Store, Simmangs TV & Records, Harold's Pizza, El Tipico Restaurant, Dairy Quenn and more! Wow! What a small world. Yes, Joe was a ham radio operaotr and enjoyed it very much. (8/2/05)



Douglas Tallant of San Marcos writes... "Dear Dennis, Thanks for the site about Captain Gus.  I remember his show back in the 60's/70's. I remember his voice-over for 'Project Terror.'  I wish that I could hear that eerie siren sound that was in the intro.  It reminded me of an air raid warning.  It's too bad that VCRs weren't around back then. Regards."

---Doug, thanks for writing, Yes, commercial VCR's just came into being when I started doing my own show. It would be nice to have had some home video of the Captain. I have every "Gobs of Fun!" show that I have ever done, on video tape. Now, if I could just remember where I put them! Ba-ding-bing!
(7/24/05)



Peter Trinidad of San Antonio writes... "Hi Dennis: I am a 1972 graduate from Fox Tech High School. I am 50 years old at the present time. I remember the Captain Gus Show and how I ran after school during my 7th-12th grade years to see the Captain Gus Show.You know what Dennis, it would be great to have VHS or DVD availability of an actual Captain Gus Show along with the kid interviews and some cartoons along with the great commercials of those days so we can see back how it really was, the simplicity, the innonence of those years and the decency Captain Gus presented to kids as well as parents. Captain Gus died too early in life. He should have lived to be 100 years old. Question: Remember the old Project Terror show on Friday nights and 5 Star Shock? There was a horror show on Project Terror one night that was about this huge dark black veil that was following some teenagers. I remember them running over a hill as this huge dark veil followed them. As they got away it vowed vengeance on them. It was pretty cool movie but for the life of me I just don't remember the title. Any ideas? Dennis, if you know where and if available any old Captain Gus Show along with him giving interviews, please let me know. A great fan of Captain Gus and Project Terror."

--- Peter thanks for writing. Once again, I must say that the only materials of the Captain Gus show and myself that exist are in my private collection. I have finally decided to put together a VIDEO of the Captain Gus Story and make it available for sale to the public. It is just now starting production. Watch this page on my website for my information in the coming weeks. As for the Project Terror movie, sorry, I don't have any idea which film that is. Ba-ding-bing! (6/10/05)



Bryan Hartman of San Antonio, Texas writes... "Dennis-Thank you for the website (and photo!) of good ole' Captain Gus!  I watched him all the time when I was a kid back in San Antonio.  The last time I ever saw Mr. Alston was when he was getting into a car parked in front of a hardware store in Helotes, TX (this was probably in the early 80's or so).  My dad asked me if I knew who that was, and he said it was Captain Gus.  Being in my teens at the time, I probably didn't respond too much, but deep down I wanted to RUN out there and meet him!  He will never be forgotten. If you have any more Capt. Gus photos (or just regular photos of Joe Alston), I would love to see them on the website. Great job!"

---Bryan, thanks for your email. Sorry, I don't have any other picture of the Captain. We just never thought to take any. We always thought we'd be on the air forever. Take care and, again, thanks for your email. (5/25/05)



Cecilia Young in Ann Arbor, Michigan is the sister of a 1971 John Jay H.S. classmate of mine. Cecilia went to John Marshall H.S. Her sister recently told her about this website and she writes to me... "Hi, Dennis.  Although I am currently living in Ann Arbor, Michigan, I grew up in San Antonio.  I have an 8-year-old son and I had seen some Popeye DVDs while out shopping. I purchased one for my kids and they loved it! I watched it with them, and we laughed out loud together.  Who knew Popeye had the power to bring a family together like that.  I explained to them all about Captain Gus and how the show was set up.  They laughed at "Ba-Ding-Bing," but it really was a magical word.  My sister sent me to your website...turns out she is a Jay alum and knows you.  I, too, went to the rival school, John Marshall High School. Just as well, as maroon looks better on me than blue.  (LOL)  I graduated in 1979.  Thanks for your Cap'n Gus page--it really made me smile. Have a great day!" 

---Cecilia, it's great to hear from you and please know that we Mustangs forgive you for going to Marshall. LOL Glad I could rekindle memories of the Captain Gus Show. It was a highlight of my life. Stay in touch and if you want to attend the SHINDIG, you're more than welcome to attend! (5/18/05)



Tim Johnson of Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas writes... "Hello there, Dennis. I found your website by actually doing a google search for old yearbooks for my high school, rival John Marshall.  I clicked on your John Jay website and thought it was a really terrific site and you should be commended.  Thanks also for the trip down memory lane concerning Capt. Gus.  I'm a bit younger graduating from JMHS in 1982 but I grew up in SA and remember Capt. Gus and Mortimer!!  I noticed that your site mentions that some of the 9th graders before going to Jay had gone to Marshall or Holmes...do you know much about what the attendance areas were back then..such as what areas went to Jay when it opened and what areas went to Marshall, etc.   I live in the DFW area but my parents are in San Antonio still and I have noticed that yet another new high school is opening in Northside for the fall..Stevens..anyway, I just had to comment on your website and thank you for the trip down memory lane. Have a good evening! Tim Johnson, John Marshall "Class of 1982."

--- Tim, great to hear from you and thank you for your kind words about the Captain and me. Sorry, I can't help you with the Northside boundary areas for the high schools. I had come to San Antonio from Italy and was a sophomore the first year that John Jay opened- 1967. I am glad you enjoyed my web site. It's always a pleasure to hear from NEW friends. Feel free to stay in touch. I won't hold it against you, that you're a former Marshall RAM! LOL Bye bye Matey! (5/3/05)



Laurie Kendrick of Houston, Texas writes... "Hi Dennis, as of this writing I'm a 45-year old matey, originally from Karnes City, a small town about 50 miles SE of San Antonio.   I vividly remember rushing home from grade school and making sure our black and white Zenith was set on channel 5, because I didn't want to miss a minute of Captain Gus.   What great memories!   And yes, I remember you as Mortimer! But I've got to ask the following question:  right or wrong...Joe Alston also hosted a Saturday afternoon show (also on KENS-TV) called "Five Star Shock"!?!?!?   I seem to remember some correlation between the host of that show--who wore a black cape while introduing schlocky, B-grade horror movies--and the Captain Gus show. I also remember a Duncan yo-yo champion who'd come on the Captain Gus show to do tricks and schill yo-yo's for "Kiddie City" and his name was also Gus...I think Gus Zamara or something like that.  He'd appear on the show quite often--much to my chagrin--because he could do this yo-yo trick called "walking the dog", something I could never do.  I had NO manual dexterity. I grew up and away from Karnes City and the San Antonio area.  I'm now a Broadcaster myself in Houston.  But the memories of Captain Gus, Ricci Ware, Five Star Shock, Project Terror KTSA, KONO and AM rock and roll, Logan Stewart, Brucie "Poo" Hathaway and of course, KSAT'S blood and gore nightly newscast "12 Star Final", are never far away!  Thanks for letting me venture back "home" for a while."

--- Dear Laurie... how wonderful to hear from you. Yes, Joe Alston also hosted "Five Star Shock" and "Project Terror." He was also the "booth announcer" at Channel 5 for many years and did appear on afternoon programming, as needed. As for Bruce Hathaway, he and I have stayed in touch for the past 35+ years. He was the host of SWINGTIME on WOAI Channel 4. That's where I got my start in the "business." Bruce and I have dinner about twice a year and talk on the phone, often. Logan Stewart passed away about five years ago or so. Today, I am the Public Information Officer for Somerset ISD and I write commercials for KTSA & KSRX* (*formerly KTFM) on a free lance basis. Thank you for remembering all of us. It means a lot to me. Now, you be sure to mind your manners and do what your mommy and daddy tell you to do. That's very important. Until next time, this is Mortimer and Captain Gus saying, "Bye bye, little Matey! Bye bye!" Ba-ding-bing and still Doing the Doo and the whole McClue after all these years! (4/8/05)



Ray Lopez, Ph.D. of San Antonio, Texas writes... "Hi Dennis:  Thanks for your page on Captain Gus!  Due to a recent death in my family I have been reliving a lot of childhood memories and decided to Google for Captain Gus, and came across your wonderful homage to him.  Joe sounds like he was such a good man, I wish he were still around for my kid.  Take care and God bless you." (3/26/05)





"Where the scientific and the terrifying emerge."
Photo courtesy of Howard Harris