“Captain Satellite” Bob March Dies At 93

August 8, 2020 19:00 pm · 23 comments

Bob March, who rose to fame during the early years of television broadcasting in the Bay Area as “Captain Satellite”, has died at his home near Sacramento.

He was 93, according to Louise Ann Pennella-March, his daughter-in-law. March died Thursday morning, Pennella-March said Friday.

He had been living with his wife, Alice, in the Sacramento area in recent years.

In 1958, March starred in the title role of “Captain Satellite” on KTVU in Oakland. Almost immediately, he became easily identifiable to a generation of kids growing up in the Bay Area and northern California throughout the late
1950s and the 1960s, all of whom watched his afternoon kiddie show every afternoon after school.

Before Captain Kirk, Luke Skywalker, Buck Rogers – even the Robinson family and their Robot from “Lost in Space” – there was Captain Satellite, who, courtesy of KTVU, flew in from outer space each weekday afternoon and into the living rooms of Bay Area children for more than a decade.

When Captain Satellite debuted on KTVU, it aired live for one hour every weekday afternoon beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The show soon became a smash hit with Bay Area children, fresh home from a day at school. March’s signature outfit on the air was a helmet and a dark uniform under a light-colored triangular vest, with artwork featuring a thunderbolt passing through a globe. The show’s set was a cutaway rocket ship which “blasted off” each afternoon.

To the tens of thousands of children who watched Captain Satellite each weekday afternoon, the popular show was the welcoming answer for kids of all ages after a long day of sitting in a classroom.

Born Robert Monkman in Racine, Wisconsin, March was immediately drafted into the Army right out of high school, said Pennella-March. She said that he knew that when he got out, he wanted to pursue his dream of being on the radio.

That is when he decided to adopt March as his stage name.

He broke into radio and television in Racine and Milwaukee, respectively, before moving to California to work in Bakersfield and, eventually, at KTVU.

March’s children’s show on KTVU lasted 11 years, ending in 1969. He remained with the station through the 1970s as one of its announcers.

In later years, he taught television at San Francisco State University.

In 1990, the San Francisco/Northern California Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences inducted March into its distinguished Silver Circle for his more than 25 years of contributions to Bay Area television.

Ilovepopcorn August 8, 2020 at 7:36 PM

I loved him, I also remember Captain Sacto,

Shoulda Coulda August 9, 2020 at 2:05 PM

Ilovepopcorn-

Harry Martin played Captain Sacto.
He worn a jet pilot fighter helmet as
well as many other hats for KCRA
TV Sacramento. He hosted Harry
Martin at the Movies in the afternoon
for many years. He was the stations
go to guy for a myriad of jobs. I loved
his sense of humor.

chuckie the troll August 8, 2020 at 8:51 PM

I was on the Captain Almost show in Yuma Arizona (twice) during the 1960’s. And THAT was my 15 seconds of fame. It was all downhill from there.

Mtz Guy August 8, 2020 at 9:12 PM

I used to watch Captain Satellite as a kid growing up in San Francisco in the 60’s out in the Sunset District. We had a RCA black and white TV with rabbit ears for an antenna. No such thing as color or cable back then.
Who would have thought I would share a rental with his son and daughter in Kensington 30 years later!

Condolences to the family.

BOOYAH! August 8, 2020 at 9:18 PM

Sad day indeed. Loved Bob March. My brother and I got to be on his Captain Satellite Show in 1968. All my friends in 3rd grade watched me on live TV! I got to be Navigator and do the lift-off! Remember sitting on a bicycle and doing a live commercial for Schwinn. Was a little disappointed that it was only half of a flying saucer (TV set) and not a real one. We got candy and treats during the cartoons. Wow โ€“ what happened to those days?

Noj August 8, 2020 at 10:39 PM

Good times back in the 60’s. That was then.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17pVKFuELmU

DD August 9, 2020 at 7:02 AM

Remember him from Dialing for Dollars too. A real piece of Bay Area T.V.

Shoulda Coulda August 9, 2020 at 1:41 PM

Pat McCormick was the host of Dialing
for Dollars. He also had a childrenโ€™s
show called Charley & Humphrey.

CCC_N8tive August 10, 2020 at 12:49 PM

Bob March also did Dialing for Dollars. Bob did the morning movie and Pat McCormack did the afternoon show.

S August 9, 2020 at 9:04 AM

This is bitter sweet in that I am mourning the loss, but scooped Claycord on this in the Talk About Whatever: “S August 8, 2020 at 7:20 AM”.
๐Ÿ˜‰

And while having my coffee this morning did reminisce with a friend of the Captain, Mayor Art, and then…. My mind was blown.

Skipper Sedley! I have no memory of the Skipper. Turns out he was actually very talented. Even invented the Magic Zoo Key. Not sure how I missed him…

RIP Captain Satellite!

Shoulda Coulda August 9, 2020 at 2:14 PM

S-

Skipper Sedley showed Popeye cartoons.
Bruce Sedley also played Sir Sedley.
He had puppets and showed the Three
Stooges.

Well Folks August 9, 2020 at 9:19 AM

So sad. I remember watching him & Mayor Art almost every day.
I think he was the last of the kiddie show host I watched to pass. In the Seattle area kids watched JP Patches & Wunda Wunda and here in the bay area it was Capt Satellite & Mayor Art. If the antenna signal was just right we could also catch Capt Sacto & Capt Delta.
Definitely a bygone era

Shoulda Coulda August 9, 2020 at 1:56 PM

Well Folks-

Do you recall Mayor Artโ€™s famous sign
off phrase at the end of each show?

โ€œIโ€™ll be seeing ya subsequently!โ€

The only four syllable word that
I knew as a kid.

WC August 9, 2020 at 10:35 AM

Used to watch when I was a little kid. RIP Bob.

Kirkwood August 9, 2020 at 11:28 AM

The Captain Satellite Show invited a Concord model airplane club to do a presentation, and myself and another brought a couple of planes and a pulse jet engine, and participated in a 5 minute interview. It was interesting to watch the production which took place in a mostly bare studio. The handful of kids watched the cartoons on a studio monitor. Nearby was set for skits that included sheets and canvass draped over chairs and boxes stacked on tables. I remember at home, seeing shot angles that included the asphalt tile floor of the set.

Shoulda Coulda August 9, 2020 at 1:48 PM

Bob March lived in the Sherman Acres
neighborhood of Pleasant Hill back then.
My dad fixed his television (back when
they had tubes). I couldnโ€™t go by Sherman
Acres as a kid without thinking one of my
heroes lived there!

The Wizard August 9, 2020 at 12:32 PM

A simple wholesome time gone by. I also would watch Pat McCormick doing Dialing For Dollars. I would be waiting for that phone to ring and be ready to say 3 from the top. Enjoyed watching Channel 2,TV 20, Perfect 36 and channel 44. They had all the great rerun shows.

Kirkwood August 9, 2020 at 1:55 PM

Ah yes, the perfect 36-24-36. Remember those days?

The Wizard August 9, 2020 at 7:42 PM

Yes, Kirkwood she had some big lungs. God Bless Her.

Glen August 9, 2020 at 1:20 PM

Captain Satellite was a mainstay after school growing up!

He will rest well knowing he had such an impact on a whole generation of Bay Area kids.

Susan August 9, 2020 at 6:07 PM

My brother and I were on the Captain Satellite show!

ZZ August 9, 2020 at 8:01 PM

Observation: The show was diverse.

Sam Malone August 10, 2020 at 7:56 AM

Those were the days when things were normal and everyone treated each other with respect and discipline. Sad to see Captain Satellite pass but he is now in the great beyond.

Old School is not out of date–people are sadly out of step with how easy things can be if we all do our share and not be looking for hand outs. We need to try to better ourselves on all levels and teach our kids and grand kids to appreciate even the littlest things and put down the damn electronic toys that do not allow us to think and use common sense.

Yikes, I sound like my dad and grand parents!

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