Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Goodbye, Captain Sacto

Harry Martin died on Sunday. I realize that if you didn't grow up in the same general area we did, you may not have heard of him. But we literally grew up watching him on TV, and we just loved him. He was witty and charming and handsome - he actually reminded me of our Daddy. Although I did not know him personally, of course, I truly believe that I know he was a genuinely nice man, and he was a delight to watch on KCRA Channel 3 from Sacramento. We miss you already, Mr. Martin. I know Captain Sacto is winging his way up to heaven.
(Please read my sister's comment - I know when she reads this she will have something to add. We really did love him- I have tears in my eyes as I write this. When I watched Channel 3's tribute to him, it made me cry.)


Annette said...

I unfortunately did not get to see the Channel 3 tribute, I wish I had. Harry Martin was so special, he made Sacramento TV shine from the 50s into the 80s. As Captain Sacto he introduced a very old cartoon called Crusader Rabbit, which I loved as a very little girl. He would "fly" in for his show and he had a great helmet with a rocket ship on it. He started at KCRA close to the same time we moved to the area, so rather than missing Engineer Bill, I settled right in to loving Captain Sacto. I remember his entertainment reporting, well after I outgrew the cartoons, he seemed to get along well with all the famous folk he interviewed. In 1995 KCRA had a 50 year anniversary (it included some years as a radio station, I belive) and they had a Captain Sacto, Skipper Stu, and Bill Rase reunion show which I and some friends from work who also grew up with Captain Sacto attended. What fun. So I got to finally meet Harry Martin and he was charming as Heidi says. Afterword, I wrote an article on our experience for my work magazine, and send a copy to him. He wrote back a very nice thank you note and sent me a signed Captain Sacto photo which I have always cherished. I thought of him often in the passing years and wondered how he was doing. He went to join his wife in heaven and God bless him for helping make our childhood special.

Sweet Cottage Dreams said...

I need to get on the TV and blog more often. I had no idea that Harry Martin died. I watched him as a kid on the news and always thought him to be a sweet and geniuine man. Heaven is lucky to have a sweetheart up there. I am with you, Heidi, I will miss him, too. It is sad to see people leave.


Gary Wilcox said...

When we moved from San Francisco to Sacramento in 1954, I was only 7 years old. Even though there were only 3 television networks on the air at the time, there was always some great to watch on TV. But fondest memory of that early time in television history was coming home from Cottage School there on Cottage Way and turning on the TV in the early afternoon. As a entire family together in those days, the four of us would all sit down and turn on the TV and watch Skipper Stu (Stu Nahan) and Captain Sacto (Harry Martin) just before we ate dinner. Skipper Stu would show Popeye cartoons and Captain Sacto would play Bugs Bunny cartoons. I can still remember the leather jacket that Captain Sacto wore that made him look like a jet pilot. Even to this very day, in my mind I can still remember how the show would begin on KCCC TV in its very early days. Captain Sacto would be driving down the Sacramento River levy road in that little Jeep and would turn right off the levy and drive down to where the TV studio was at that time. Although I moved away from Sacramento in 1980, each time I return for a visit, I always take a drive along that same river levy road. And even to this very day, you can still see the concrete foundation where the old TV station was at that time.
I’ll always treasure the time when I actually got to meet Captain Sacto in person at the old Mayfair food market that was once located on Arden Way at Morse Avenue in Sacramento. I still have the 5X8 black and white photograph that Captain Sacto autographed for me and all the other kids that came by that day.
Harry Martin had such a comical and very entertaining way of doing all of his broadcasts and interviews. I think he was one of the firsts that did a nightly TV show around 7:30 each night on KCRA 3 in the 1970s, where he interviewed everyone and anyone that was a big hit in those days. He ALWAYS had a huge grin on his face and he had a unique way of ALWAYS making you feel connected in some way with the person that he was interviewing. Very few people have that special trait, but Harry Martin sure did.
I was greatly saddened when I read today that Harry Martin passed away last year. Not only Sacramento, but he entire entertainment industry has lost a true legend. I guess each time I now drive down the Sacramento River levy road, it will have even more special meaning to me.
My condolences go out to Harry’s family and his incredible circle of great friends.

Heidi Ann said...

Gary - It was delightful to read your memories of Captain Sacto. I think you are the same age as my husband. We three girls in my family grew up with Harry Martin, too and loved him. My oldest sister got to meet him and get an autographed picture - in later years! She completely treasures it, and has it framed and hanging in her home. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your Captain Sacto stories.

Ol'Hippie said...

No TV personality has ever come as close to my heart as Captain Sacto. I was born in Sacramento and watched Harry every day I could, my Father was an employee of McClellan AFB and we lived near Marconi & Greenwood so the new Jets and planes were always something we marveled at in the sky. I always hoped I would be able to spot Captain Sacto coming in for a landing just before his show. My big thrill was when Captain Sacto announced on his show where I could find my birthday present (my first TWO wheel bike) I was so excited he even knew my name!! That had to be either 1956 or 57.
Harry Martin will always be remembered with very fond memories. Bruce

Anonymous said...

I just found this blog. I was thinking about Captain Sacto and googled the name. I'm sad to hear that Harry Martin died over two years ago. My brother and I watched him, Mayor Art(SF channel 4),Diver Dan, and Marshal J on channel 5. Crusader Rabbit was one of my favorite cartoons. I remember in 1960, Laura Scudders had a promotion where you could collect Crusader Rabbit cartoon character cards. Captain Sacto advertised them. I found Crusader Rabbit in a bag of chips. His was the most prized card!!
We lived in Fair Oaks on San Juan across the street from a golf course.
Engineer Bill was in LA. We watched him there before moving to Fair Oaks!
Thanks for the memories! Harry Martin was one very cool, handsome guy :)
Don in Tucson

Les Floyd said...

I was actually on The show as a young boy. I want to say around 1960-1961. My Mother was a secretary at KCRA. I was so awed at being in the presence Of "Captain Sacto" That I couldn't say anything LOL. I also lived in "Gold Country". I lived in Pollock Pines, 11 miles east of Placerville. I now live in Upstate NY, but i'll always be a California boy until I die.

Lenore Caudle said...

You are all correct - Harry was a wonderful human being. My fondest memory of him was when I was a little girl and the Monkees were performing at Cal Expo. Mrs. Martin invited my neighbor's daughter to the concert and she didn't want to go....so I got to!!! What a thrill. I sat on Harry's shoulders, and held his hand as we walked to and from the concert. Everybody asked me if he was my dad. I will never forget that night - Harry Martin AND the Monkees! RIP Harry and Davy Jones.