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|Robert S. Cottle|
Cottle as "Captain Bob", 1962.
|Born||August 7, 1920
Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||April 25, 1999
San Mateo, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Bette Volpe; 1 child
Beth (Willis) Johnson
Robert S. Cottle was the son of Earle W. and Gladys E. (Pierce) Cottle. He grew up and attended local schools in Brockton, Massachusetts. During World War II, Cottle was a B-17 Flying Fortress flight instructor for the USAF at Lackland AFB.
In the 1950s, Cottle began a career in television as a host for children's TV shows, often appearing as "Captain Bob." One of his first shows, The Nature World of Captain Bob began in Hartford, Connecticut, it was a thirty-minute Saturday morning art instruction program offering sketching techniques for wildlife subjects and set in a sea shanty. Later, in 1953, the show moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where it ran for another 14 years.
In addition to hosting his own TV shows in the Boston area, Cottle took over as host for the NBC TV show The Ruff & Reddy Show in September 1962. The show ran for two more years, at times beating CBS-TV's Captain Kangaroo in the Nielsen ratings. Cottle appeared for the last time on national TV in the 1964 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which aired on NBC and CBS.
In the late 1960s, Cottle and a friend, Robert Bourque, created the Prophetron Zoltan Fortune Teller machine, to which Cottle lent his voice. He continued to host local TV shows in Boston and in Hartford, Connecticut, including the show The Magic Window, on WBZ-TV.
Cottle had a son, Robert S. Cottle, Jr. with his first wife, the former Bette Volpe, a native of Medford, Massachusetts. In 1987, Bette Cottle died, and Cottle remarried to his high school sweetheart, Beth Willis Johnson. They moved to Block Island, Rhode Island, and, in 1997, to San Mateo, California, where Cottle died in 1999 from a stroke, aged 78.