The man who will forever be remembered as Captain 11 has died. Dave Dedrick passed away Friday after a lengthy illness that had him hospitalized for the past few months.
Dedrick was not only KELO-TV's longtime weatherman, but also hosted the longest-running children's show in America. KELOLAND remembers the man who was a television pioneer as well as Captain 11, the fictional character who was beloved by children and given the power to control time.
Dave Dedrick was the first person ever to appear on KELO-TV as he signed the station "on the air" back in 1953.
"I was so puffed up and said serving the mighty Sioux Empire, this is KELO TV Channel 11 Sioux Falls, I knew I was the one. I had done it. It as like being the first guy to step on the moon," Dedrick said.
Dedrick played an integral part in KELO-TV's success over the years. But it was the Captain 11 show that first aired in 1955 that made Dedrick the most recognized face in South Dakota.
The Captain 11 show was patterned after a similar one in Minneapolis. At the time KELO's choice came down to a couple of staff announcers, Murray Stewart and Dave Dedrick. They were both called into Joe Floyd's office.
"Now I want one of you guys to fly to Minneapolis, visit with the captain, see what he's doing, get all the secrets and bring them back here and we can create a Captain 11 down here. He got a coin out of his pocket and flipped it and said call it, I said heads, he put the coin in his pocket and said Dave you'll fly up to Minneapolis, I never did see the coin and neither did the other guy," Dedrick said.
The Captain 11 show lasted 41 years and in that time the Captain visited every corner of KELOLAND, making public appearances and riding hundreds of parades.
Wearing the Captain 11 suit also meant donning a huge responsibility as he was admired by thousands of children who considered Captain 11 their hero.
As KELO's longtime weatherman, viewers came to trust Dedrick's forecasts as they relied on him to help plan their days.
In one of his last television interviews, Dedrick talked about his accomplishments and life after television.
"I feel so good, everything is good. The world is so good, life is so good and it just couldn't get any better. I love it, I'm having so much fun," Dedrick said.