Herb Marks was a staff announcer at WRAL-TV who gained fame as “Cap’n Five,” the sub-mariner host of the station’s popular cartoon show in the late 1950s.
Marks grew up in Pennsylvania and broke into broadcasting at a station in Tennessee. He was hired as one of WRAL-TV’s original employees, joining Channel 5 shortly before the station signed on the air in December 1956.
Marks handled various announcing duties until 1958 – when WRAL managers decided they needed an entertaining host for the station’s daily cartoon show. Cap’n Five was born and Marks’ career changed almost overnight.
The Cap’n Five show was produced in front of a studio audience of energetic children who would arrive at WRAL each day ready for a voyage into the world of television make-believe. As a longtime student of dramatics, Marks would don his skipper’s cap and perform with a cast of puppets—telling stories and jokes to keep the children entertained and under control.
In its early days the Cap’n Five set featured a huge submarine prop that docked in the TV fantasyland known as “Happy Harbor.” Eventually the submarine prop disappeared and Marks—who was an amateur ventriloquist and master of many voices–became the central feature of the program.
Marks would entertain the kids and then introduce cartoon favorites like Popeye, Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw.
The Cap’n Five Show came to an end in 1961, but not before blazing a trail as one of the first locally-produced children’s shows on Channel 5.
After the show ended its run, Marks stayed on with WRAL-TV as an announcer and employee of the Promotion Department. He left the station in 1967.