Gadabout Gaddis

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Roscoe Vernon Gaddis (January 28, 1896 – October 21, 1986), known professionally as Gadabout Gaddis, was a 20th-century American fisherman and television pioneer.[1] Gaddis was born in Mattoon, Illinois and was nicknamed Gadabout by a boss who said he could never find him.[2]

Gaddis, an avid fisherman since his youth in Illinois,[3] was also a pilot and adventurer. He began his career in the early days of television by showing his home movies of his fishing expeditions.[4] In 1939 he briefly hosted a program about fishing on General Electric's experimental TV station W2XAD in Schenectady, New York.[2] When W2XAD became WRGB in the mid-1940s, Gaddis returned to the station to host Outdoors with Liberty Mutual, which was only the second sponsored television show (Lowell Thomas's being the first).[2] The show was eventually carried on 73 stations. Going Places with Gadabout Gaddis in the 1950s was less successful,[5] but beginning in the early 1960s Gaddis starred in The Flying Fisherman, also sponsored by Liberty Mutual.

The Flying Fisherman[edit]

The Flying Fisherman was a weekly program, usually broadcast on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, that showed Gaddis fishing in a different location each episode. The show's lone crew member was a cameraman who paddled alongside Gaddis in a nearby boat.[2] The shows were filmed without sound, and Gaddis would add his low-key and folksy narration in the studio.[5] The program had the look and feel of a home movie, which some analysts theorized was a major factor in its appeal to audiences.[2]

Not all programs showed Gaddis making a catch, including an episode shot at Thomas Lake in Colorado, where Gaddis filmed for five days without catching a fish.[2]

Gaddis was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1968.[3] Gaddis earned his Army Air Corps pilot's wings during World War I and flew himself to each filming location in his Piper Cherokee 235.[2] Each episode would open with a shot of Gadabout Gaddis landing his plane, but in reality it was his friend, Jack Phillipps, landing the plane in Gaddis's cowboy hat, as Gaddis could not "hit the mark"; i.e. he could not touch down on the spot required for the stationary camera to capture the landing.

Gaddis lived in Bingham, Maine, and Gadabout Gaddis Airport in that town[6] was his base of operations. The airport was built about 1950 and later bought by Gaddis.[7]



  • The Flying Fisherman (R. V. 'Gadabout' Gaddis, as told to George Sullivan) 1967, Pocket Books


  • Fishing, USA, 1969[8]
  • Fly Fishing in America (co-host)[9]

Television compilations[edit]

  • The Flying Fisherman - Volume 1 (1986-1987, G.G. Communication GGV 2V)
    • Striper fishing around Big Bird Island, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
    • Virginia Beach Bluefish Tourney
    • Mazatlan Billfishing
  • The Flying Fisherman - Volume 2 (1986-1987, G.G. Communication GGV 3V)
    • Bass fishing in Lake Powell
    • Bass fishing in Saline Lake, Louisiana
    • Crappie fishing in Grenada Lake, Mississippi
  • The Flying Fisherman - Volume 3 (1986-1987, G.G. Communication GGV 4V)
    • Atlantic Salmon fishing in the Matane River
    • Fly fishing for blue gills in Cape Cod
    • Trout fishing at Flaming Gorge, Utah
  • The Flying Fisherman - Volume 4 (1986-1987, G.G. Communication GGV 5V)
    • Striper fishing in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
    • Trout Fishing in Idaho's Bayhorse Lake
    • Trout Fishing in Oregon's Deschutes River
  • The Flying Fisherman - Volume 5 (1986-1987, G.G. Communication)
    • Bass fishing in Arizona's Lake Mead
    • Atlantic Salmon fishing in the Miramichi River
    • Bluegill fishing in Kentucky's Barkley Lake
  • The Flying Fisherman - Volume 6 (1986-1987, G.G. Communication)
    • Dolphin fishing off Panama City, Florida
    • Bass fishing in Wisconsin's Yellow River
    • Trout fishing in Colorado's Upper Rio Grande River


  1. ^ John Petrocelli. "Gadabout Gaddis - The Flying Fisherman". Salty Dog Seakayaking Webzine. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Hobson, Dick. (1966, April 2-8). One day, Gadabout Gaddis posted a sign GONE FISHING and that was 56 years ago. TV Guide, pp 24-26.
  3. ^ a b "'Gadabout' Gaddis, TV's 'Flying Fisherman,' Dead at 90". Associated Press. October 21, 1986. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ Benson, James E. (2008). Along Old Canada Road. Arcadia Publishing. p. 8. ISBN 978-0738556659. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Robert Matarazzo (2009). "Baby Boomer Hero: The Flying Fisherman". Tackle. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  6. ^ "ME08 Gadabout Gaddis Airport". Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  7. ^ Sample, Tim; Bither, Ms. Stephen D. (2011). Maine Curiosities, 3rd: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, and Other Offbeat Stuff (3rd ed.). Globe Pequot. p. 33. ISBN 978-0762761142. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  8. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Feature Films, 1961-1970. University of California Press. 1997. p. 346. ISBN 978-0520209701. Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ "A Recent Search Shows there are 5 Gadabout Videos Available". Gadabout Gaddis web site. Retrieved April 5, 2013.