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Jim Lange's Captain 11 Legacy

February 27, 2014, 5:56 PM by Perry Groten

Jim Lange's Captain 11 Legacy

Most TV viewers remember Jim Lange as the longtime host of The Dating Game. But Lange, who died this week at the age of 81, is credited with fixing-up local audiences with a kid's show that became an institution in KELOLAND. 

It's hard to imagine anyone other than Dave Dedrick as Captain 11. But in 1955, Dedrick was a captain in training, sent by KELO-TV to a Minneapolis sister station to learn the role from the very first man given the power to control time: Jim Lange.

"I flew up, saw the show and got measured for a uniform up there at Northwest Costumes and came back. Pinball machine, with four engineers: zap, we had a time converter and viola, I'm on the air, ala Minneapolis," Dedrick said in 1985.

It was the early days of television, and Lange was a big hit as the Twin Cities version of Captain 11.

"Both Jim Lange and Dave Dedrick were very much alike in that they both chose a career in the Marines, or at least they did stints in the Marines. They were both very outgoing guys and both fit the profile of what would be Captain 11 very nicely, I think," former KELO-TV anchor Doug Lund said.

But KELOLAND'S Captain took the concept and ran with it, adding a live audience to the program.

"Dave came up with the idea, hey, let's get some kids in here. This is kind of boring just having me introducing cartoons in the studio," Lund said.

Dedrick would go on to host the longest-running kids show in television history. Lange went from captain to cupid, taking command of The Dating Game.

Lund says The Dating Game itself might have some KELOLAND roots. The show's format was similar to a KELO-owned radio show called "G-I Date" that aired during the 1940's.

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