Your Captain 11 memories Original

Alyssa and Kristin Graack, February 17, 1989 for Alyssa’s 6th birthday.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For generations, Captain 11 entered homes, marched in parades and brought joy to thousands of children across KELOLAND.

This weekend marks 65 years since the long-running show premiered on KELO-TV. We asked viewers for their memories:

Living in the Huron area, the most we could do was watch on tv after school or when he made his appearances at the South Dakota State Fair.  We were able to go there the studio show once when we were in Sioux Falls for other things. Always enjoyed the cartoons and letting the kids say where they were from!

Curtis Nelson
Lenexa, Kansas

I was at the Heritage Cultural museum in Pierre last session and  saw the old Kelo set. Great memories. Around 1959-60 I was chosen by the TV crew to be the Sunbeam bread girl that tore the slices of bread in half….to somehow show that processed bread was the bomb!  🤣 I am now 67 years old but still remember how I and my brothers loved that show.

Marli Wiese

Wish I had a photo, but my sister and I took home the giant Tootsie roll on our 4th birthday.  Nothing fancy.

My brother, however, got accidentally left behind in Beresford when his 1st grade friends went to captain 11.  They came back and gave him a big sucker – but the scar remained. It is his favorite “woe to me” story of childhood!

Dianne Auger

I remember when the Watergate hearings were on TV.  My siblings and I were so mad when we got off the bus from school and Captain 11 wasn’t on!  When the impeachment trials occurred earlier this year, I joked on Facebook that I was going to be mad if Captain 11 wasn’t on when I got home from school.  (I work at a school.) Great memories!

Erin McCarty

I had the pleasure of being on Captain 11 along with my brother Brian in 1994. He was around 3 years old and I was around 5 years old.

Captain 11 went around to all of the kids to ask our names and when he got to my brother, Brian just stared at him without saying anything so the Captain asked me my name and then asked me what my brother’s name was! I don’t know if my brother was star-struck or just shy, but I put my arm around him to which Captain 11 said “throw the ol’ half Nelson on him” referring to the wrestling maneuver.

My parents recorded it when the showed aired and I have since uploaded it to Youtube to share with friends.

Jordan Doerr

Captain 11 was somebody my younger brothers and I hurried home after school to watch before heading out to do chores on our farm near Fairfax, SD.  It was one of two channels which our black & white TV was capable of receiving. I thought then that I really would like to meet him, be in his studio audience, and have a chance at that treasure chest.  However, I was painfully shy around strangers.

He made at least one appearance at Pancake Days in Butte, NE in the 1960’s.  Pancake Days was a popular event, with all-you-can eat pancakes and sausages, plus a carnival on main street which featured game booths and rides.  On this particular Pancake Day, my grandparents let me tag along. The first order of business was to visit that pancake feed, so my grandparents could meet and greet their neighbors and friends.

There he was, just inside the entrance – Captain 11 in person! Of course my grandparents knew how much I enjoyed the show, and that I’d ‘kinda, sorta’ like to meet him.  This was my opportunity, and I froze like a deer in the headlights. I was probably about 8 years old, but that didn’t stop me from trying to hide behind my grandma’s skirt.  Mr. Dedrick kindly greeted me as much as my awe-struck young self would allow. At least my grandparents had no trouble shaking his hand!

In later years, I discovered that my G-Aunt Orpha Melloon actually knew him.  She and her husband, Burdette, were also sort of in the kid-entertainment business during the time they operated Lollipop Park. It was located next to their mobile home park, which had originally been a good long way east of the city limits.  Now that location, as near as I can tell, is a parking lot not too many blocks from the east Sioux Falls WalMart.

After Burdette’s death, Orpha provided house-sitting and pet care services for folks who had to be away for a while.  The Dedrick house was occasionally on her list. Which impressed us ‘country mice’ relatives enormously.

Rene (Lindgren) Kantack

 I can’t find any pictures but do remember our aunt taking my brother and I to the Captain 11 show in probably one of the first two years it was on.  We were in SF visiting her from St. Lawrence and she had bought us hats like the Captains, so he put his earphones on us for a few seconds. Over the years, I would run in to Captain 11 at different appearances he made. I even got to visit with him (Dave) at the Mount Rushmore dedication ceremony many years later.  He was a very nice gentleman and a fantastic Captain 11. Thank you for remembering him again.

Terry Augspurger
Miller, SD

Ah yes, I remember running home to watch Captain 11 as a kid growing up in Mitchell. Our TV got decent reception from Sioux Falls when you wrapped the tin foil around the ends of the Rabbit Ears a good black and white picture was the result. I was a pro with the vertical and horizontal hold switches.  It was even better when my folks could finally afford a color TV and how amazing it was to see it in color.

Watched it all through grade school even in Jr. High. It would come on at 1600 hrs; there would be cartoons, he would let kids have their few seconds of fame talking to them, with the Super Snooper… i.e. his microphone that he would take off from around his neck to take a census of who was from where. Anyone that had a baby got a close up.

I distinctly remember him bringing a Saxophone player on, and the guy played “Yakety Sax” right there between cartoons…. I remember Captain 11 saying he also liked the sound of a clarinet as well…..

 I remember playing freeze bird (?) you’d jump around and he’d say “FREEZE!”  the person who could stay the stillest was like crowned for that day. I remember a couple of kids from Iowa who sang the “Iowa State Song” for Captain 11.

Of course at 1630 when the show wrapped up, there would be something like “The Rifle Man,” or “Gilligan’s Island” that would come on afterwards.

Gosh I could go on forever…

Gail (Mortensen) Korfiatis, MT (ASCP) PBT
A.A.S., B.S./MLS, B.A., M.Ed.
SSG (Ret.)

When I was 4 or 5 one of my older brothers wanted to have his birthday party on the Captain 11 show. At my age I was too young for my mother to leave me behind in Mitchell so I got to tag along. When it was time for all the birthday boys and girls to come down on the floor I wanted to be with my brother, not sitting in the bleachers with a bunch of boys I barely knew. As Captain 11 made his rounds asking each kid his name, age, and where they were from he finally made it to me. When he started his customary questions to me I blurted out, ”I ain’t got no birthday”.  

Randy Irwin 
Raleigh, North Carolina

Throughout Friday and this weekend, we will be sharing memories from crew members, visiting his old set and sharing some newly restored full episodes. KELOLAND’s Kelli Volk spoke with longtime co-worker Doug Lund about Captain 11. Watch that story Friday on Eye on KELOLAND at 10 p.m.

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State Historical Society

His suit and other memorabilia are on display in at the State Historical Museum in Pierre. (NOTE: the set is not on public display).

Monday through Saturday
9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Sundays & Holidays
1:00 PM to 4:30 PM  

Museum Gallery Admission
Child (17 and under)- Free
Adults- $4.00
Seniors (60 and over)- $3.00
Historical Society Members- Free
Special discounts for AAA members 
Free admission to galleries for all visitors the first Sunday of the month

South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center
900 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501

SculptureWalk Sioux Falls

Visit Captain 11 on the SculptureWalk in Downtown Sioux Falls. He is located outside of KELOLAND Media Group studios.

KELOLAND Media Group
501 S. Phillips Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104

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