Captain Fortune Show
|This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (September 2010)|
The Captain Fortune Show was a popular 1950s Australian children's television show broadcast on ATN-7 starring Alan Herbert that included various segments with puppets, clowns, and other entertainment. Herbert's character Captain Fortune wore a false beard (which was later phased out as Herbert grew a real beard) and "naval uniform", and spoke directly with the kids, live and without a script. At the height of the show's popularity, it aired three times during the workweek and also on Saturday mornings. The show also included segments with Uncle Monty and Roy Kinghorn, and is perhaps best remembered for the show's introductory sequence, which involved the young children running into the Captain's house unannounced and gathering around a large barrel, which contained a mannequin (named "Short John O'Copper"). The Captain would sing "Who's that kno-o-cking on my barrel?" several times, after which a puppet would pop out of the top of the barrel and the Captain would put on a puppet show for the young viewers.
Alan Herbert played the part of Captain Fortune for four years until leaving because of health problems. In addition to the show, Herbert was known for doing work for many charitable organizations involving children.
Because the show was broadcast live, and the series pre-dated the inception of personal video recorders and VCRs, no film copies of the Captain Fortune show are known to exist.
San Francisco Version
A similar version of the show, with the same name, was broadcast in San Francisco on KPIX, Channel 5. It was airing by September of 1950. A local artist named Peter Abenheim (actually an immigrant from England) played the host, at first named "Cap'n Pete." Cap'n Pete told tall tales of his seafaring exploits, illustrated by his own drawings. The show opened with children running to gather around the barrel inhabited by "Short John O'Copper," a hand-puppet pirate who sang (in Irish pirate brogue) the "Who's that knocking?" song. By the mid-'50s, "Cap'n Pete" had become Captain Fortune, but Short John kept his name and sidekick role. 
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