LETTERS  PCR #442      (September 8 -- 14, 2008)

  • Mike Smith asks Will Moriaty about road sign (and Will responds)
  • Reader remembers old airplanes (Will Moriaty and David Henderson respond)
  • Reader remembers Creature Feature
  • Reader remembers Captain Kangaroo

    Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.


    Dear Editor,
    This email is intended for your Florida expert, Mr. Moriaty:

    Will, this past week I headed over the Sunshine Skyway to visit my cousin Bob who lives in Englewood. Halfway over the bridge a sign told me I was entering Hillsborough County. How is that possible when Tampa and everything Hillsborough was in my rear view mirror?

    Mike Smith
    Lee's Summit, MO

    Hey, Nole and Mike:
    The answer is quite simple.

    The shipping channel belongs to Hillsborough County. As a matter of fact, when you exit at the North Rest Area of Skyway, the area south of the interchange is in Hillsborough County, while the area north of the interchange is in Pinellas County. When you are on the southeast beach of Ft. DeSoto, several hundred feet of the beach resides in Hillsborough County. And lastly, Egmont Key which is west of the Skyway and houses the lighthouse and Tampa Bay Harbor Pilots is located entirely within Hillsborough County!

    Will Moriaty,
    Plant City, FL


    Mr. Moriaty,
    Thanks for the great web site! I first visited Naples in the winter of '83 and every winter after that to see my parents and brother. I moved here in '99. Somewhere between '83 and '86 I took a local airline DC-3 to Key West. I couldn't remember the carrier or livery and searched the web and found your history. Unfortunately, the two further links to PBA/Naples on the web site do not work.

    I appreciate finding your history and refreshing my memory! Now, if I can only find a model of that DC-3!

    Mark Swanson
    Naples FL

    Dear Mr. Swanson:
    Thanks for writing and visiting our on-line publication!

    To the best of my knowledge PBA/Naples was the only carrier left between 1983 and 1986 to fly DC-3's on a passenger basis to Key West. The most notable carrier prior to that to fly the DC-3 into Key West was Air Sunshine in the 1970's. I am inviting David Henderson, the guru of Florida and Georgia commuter airlines and author of "Sunshine Skies: Historic Commuter Airlines of Florida and Georgia" to chime in if he can think of anyone else that you might have flown, but based on the time period in question, I'm sure it's PBA/Naples.

    You could probably custom order such a model from Roger Jarman and the good folks at Atlantic Models in Miami and even possibly get one with the registration number of the one of the very same aircrafts that you flew.

    Best of luck in your pursuit, and thanks again for writing!

    William Moriaty
    La Floridiana


    Dear Will,
    Thank you for the kind note! I searched airliners.net with "key west pba dc-3" and found the livery.

    I remembered a blue dot and my wife Marty piped up and said "Oh, you mean PBA?" She's lived in Naples since '83, I first visited here then, an annual Winter getaway from Minnesota to see my parents and brother. I moved here in 1999.

    Thanks for the link to Mr. Henderson, I just ordered the book! I have several other "rare" publications of local history of Collier and Lee county. History is a interest of mine and I appreciate the passion it takes to write any history, especially to preserve local and regional life for future generations.

    I'll contact Mr. Jarman, they look like a good group to work with and their DC-3 model on the web site is magnificent.

    The ride to Key West on the old canvas seat looking out the square window of a DC-3 was bumpy and noisy. What an adventure! Sadly, several years ago Naples lost air service to Key West with the gaily painted (no pun intended) Cape Air Cessna 402C. (Search aviation net with "cape air key west" for photo). Just as noisy and bumpy! LOL! Naples is not a place to hub an airline, seems the regionals come and go.

    Thanks again, best wishes!


    Hello Mark and Will (and Nolan?),
    Thanks for the email and thanks to Mark for purchasing the book. I hope you enjoy it!

    There is a company called Gemini Jets that produces a die cast metal model of PBA's famed DC-3 N136PB, which, during the 1980s, had flown more hours than any other airliner in history. (I think the record was eventually surpassed by a 747) The models are widely available online. I found this picture of one.

    Glad to see the return of La Floridiana. I'm also a big fan of mid-century "googie" architecture. Will, you and your readers may be interested in this site http://www.spaceagecity.com/googie/

    Best wishes,
    David Henderson
    Sunshine Skies


    Hello, Nolan
    My name is Robert Holder, and I live in Westminster, Colorado. I am 42 years old, and I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida.

    I remember watching Channel 44 WTOG and I remember what a fixture Dr. Paul Bearer was. Thank you so much for creating the web pages about him and the channel. I don't exactly remember the Saturday morning lineup, but I remember that when cartoons ended, then there were some good shows on 44, and I think it wrapped up with Tarzan, and then Creature Feature would come on. :-) I would always watch Dr. Paul to see the movie intro, although I usually didn't stay around to watch "the horrible old movie".

    Somewhere I have the VHS tape of the one hour special when Dr. Paul Bearer died around 1992 that Channel 44 did. It was a good special, and I will try to locate it and put it up on YouTube. It always chokes me up: when the special was over, they put up a splash screen dedicated to Dr. Paul, and then WTOG went black for more than 30 seconds. I shed quite a few tears that day.

    TV & radio, they just don't go black anymore in this age of satellite TV and ubiquitous internet and cellphones...

    If I can find the tape, I'll see about taking it to one of those places that convert it to DVD, and I will send you a copy if you like. Bug me about it this weekend to remind me, ok? :-)

    Hey by the way, do you remember, was it WTOG that closed every broadcast day back around '73 or '74 with playing the national anthem to footage of atomic bombs going off? It seems so bizarre now, but I can clearly remember getting together with my buddies and school and discussing the terrific explosions... and I clearly remember seeing it more than once. Was that Channel 44 also?

    I used to work at the St. Pete Times as a copy clerk, and back then they had a repository of old papers, and for a few dollars, you could actually buy a copy of an old St. Pete Times going all the way back to the forties, I believe. If they still offer that, it would be a great idea to buy some Sunday editions from several times a year to get the TV guide! That would make an awesome addition to your database.

    Best Wishes,
    Robert Holder
    Westminster, CO


    Hello to you, Robert, and thanks so much for writing! Always happy to hear from a Dr. Paul Bearer / Creature Feature fan!

    I enjoyed very much reading your memories of the old Ch 44 and Creature Feature. To all of us "baby boomers", Dr. Paul is an irreplaceable part of our younger years.

    Thank you for your generous offer, but I believe I already have the one-hour special tribute; do let me know if you find anything else, though!

    Regarding the atom bomb explosions at 44's nightly sign-off, my memory is a little hazy there, but it definitely rings a bell. I think you might be right about that.

    I'll share your email with my readers and see if anyone else remembers it! Thanks again for writing. ---Nolan B. Canova


    Hi, Nolan,
    I ran across your web page from May 15, 2006 about Captain Kangaroo videos. A reader named Jason Beard shared his information with you. Do you know where I could purchase any Video/DVD of Captain Kangaroo? I did find a few on You Tube and Earthstation1.com. "Cleaning the Treasure House" seems to be the one episode available. But would like to find more. I have found a few of the "newer" ones such as "kids just like you" etc from the 1990s. But I was looking for the original show.

    Thank you.
    Bob [no last name included]

    Bob, hello and thanks so much for writing! I'm glad you enjoyed the article in question.

    It seems I recall some very old episodes of Captain Kangaroo might have been available through Filmfax Magazine years ago, but I haven't checked in a while, so am not sure it's still the case. Outside of that, or perhaps other collector magazines at your local newsstand, I do not know of any reliable source to purchase episodes of Captain Kangaroo, unfortunately.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. ---Nolan

    To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

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