Captain Gus of KENS-TV – Channel 5 in San Antonio. Captain Gus was the host of an afternoon children’s TV show that ran from 1953 to 1979 – an amazing run for the format. Gus hosted a live audience of children with some cornball gags, interviews with the kids and prize drawings from his Wishing Well and featured Popeye cartoons.
Under the crazy red wig and handlebar moustache was pioneer broadcaster Joe Alston, a World War II veteran who had been chief announcer at KTRH-AM radio in Houston before joining KENS as an announcer in 1953. Alston also appeared in several movies including “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” “T-Men” and “West Point of the Air” (about Randolph AFB’s pilot-training program).
As a child, Red did not fully appreciate the nihilistic world view presented in Popeye cartoons – the eternal and ultimately unwinnable struggle against oppressive enemies, the male-domination of the species, the all consuming importance of brute force, the insatiable appetites (Wimpy) driving all human endeavor and the consummate self interest of all mankind.