The Cap’n Five Show was a locally-produced children’s program that ran on WRAL-TV from 1958-1961. The show starred WRAL staff announcer Herb Marks as the commander of a submarine that docked in the TV fantasyland known as “Happy Harbor.”
The show was produced before a studio audience full of energetic children who would arrive at WRAL each day ready for their voyage into the world of television make-believe. Marks would don his skipper’s cap and perform with a Charlie McCarthy-like puppet—telling stories and jokes to keep the children entertained and under control.
In its early years Cap’n Five featured a huge submarine prop that was used as the centerpiece of the show’s studio production. Eventually that prop disappeared and Marks—who was an amateur ventriloquist and seasoned performer–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. He also used an assortment of games and gimmicks, including a “Whatzit Box” that contained a secret object. If a child could guess what was inside he or she would go home with the prize.
WRAL legend Paul Montgomery made numerous guest appearances on Cap’n Five as a German-accented character known as “Heinrich von Stuplebaum.” Montgomery went on to star in his own children’s program, “Time for Uncle Paul.”
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.