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.
From the Annals of the Missionaries – In 1709, an expedition led by Franciscan fathers Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares and Isidro Félix de Espinosa reached the site of current day San Antonio. Olivares and Espinosa were escorted by Capt. Pedro de Aguirre and fourteen soldiers. The small expedition left San Juan Bautista on April 5 with the goal of contacting Tejas Indians living on the lower Colorado River. The Fathers encamped at site near the springs that they christened as San Pedro Springs. The expedition continued on and reached the Colorado near Bastrop on May 19. However, the Tejas were living further east and the Fathers did not have authorization to proceed farther than the Colorado. , They had also learned that the Tejas were likely hostile to the Spanish and the expedition returned to the Rio Grande.
From the Annals of the Chiefs – In 1737, Spanish military forces captured Cabellos Colorados. CC was a Lipan Apache chief who had staged repeated raids on the Spanish outpost at San Antonio de Bexar. The historical record on Cabellos Colorados is scant but his name appears in Spanish colonial records as figuring prominently in a number of raids. There was a raid in 1731 and again in 1734 when his band seized two Spaniards. He was also reported as haven stolen horses from San Francisco de la Espada Mission and killed Indians from the missions of San Juan Capistrano and Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña. After more raids in 1736 and 1737, he was captured and imprisoned at Bexar until October 1738, when he was sent as a prisoner to Mexico City.
From the Annals of the Latinos – In 1921, the Order of Sons of America was founded in San Antonio. The OSA was one of the first Mexican-American civil rights organizations dedicated to protecting and advancing the interests of Mexican-American citizens. The OSA limited membership to U.S. native- born or naturalized U.S. citizens. The OSA believed that assimilation to American culture was the key to acceptance as equal members of American society. The OSA’s policy of excluding Mexican immigrants and taking a stance against large scale immigration was controversial, but thought necessary in its campaign to persuade Anglos that Mexican-Americans were loyal Americans who were an integral part of society throughout much of the Southwest. This was rooted in a belief that preserving Mexican culture and traditions had resulted in Anglos not accepting them as equal American citizens. The OSA was ultimately merged with other organizations to found LULAC.
From the Annals of Higher Education – In 1925, University Junior College (now San Antonio College) opened in San Antonio with an enrollment of 200 students. SAC is the oldest public junior college in Texas still in operation. The first classes met in the Main High School building. The school was initially under the administration of the University of Texas, but the state attorney general ruled in December 1925 that operation of a junior college by the University of Texas violated the state constitution. The college was renamed San Antonio Junior College and control was given over to the San Antonio board of education for the second year of operation. The school was given its current name in 1948, and relocated to a thirty-seven-acre campus on San Pedro Avenue in the Tobin Hill district. SAC is now operated by the Alamo Community College District. The college has an average semester enrollment of 22,028 credit students and an average annual enrollment of 16,000 other-than-credit students. San Antonio College is the largest single-campus community college in Texas.
Image of the Gnome Ranger – official mascot of SAC.
From the Annals of Spanish Texas – In 1813, the Battle of Rosillo Creek was fought near present day San Antonio. The fight was between the Republican Army of the North led by José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara and Samuel Kemper and a Spanish royalist force under Texas governor Manuel María de Salcedo and Nuevo León governor Simón de Herrera. The battle was for control of the far northern province and the Republicans were seeking a break from New Spain and an independent republic in Texas. The battle involved remarkably large numbers as the Republican army was comprised of between 600 to 900 men and the Royalist forces may have numbered as much as 1500 men. The Republicans were advancing along the road from La Bahía to San Antonio when they were engaged by the Royalists. The Republicans inflicted heavy losses on the Royalists in the one-hour battle. The Royalists lost somewhere between 100 and 300 men as wells most of their arms and ammunition, six cannons, and 1,500 horses and mules. The republicans lost only six men. The battle of Rosillo resulted in the capture of San Antonio and the establishment of a first “Republic of Texas.” The Republic was short-lived as the Republican forces were soundly defeated five months later at the Battle of Medina.
From the Annals of the Revolution – In 1836, former Mexican soldier Nepomuceno Navarro joined forces with the Texas Revolution when he enlisted in Juan N. Seguín’s company of Tejanos. Navarro had been a private serving in the Mexican Army at Bexar and later at Fort Tenoxtitlan on the Brazos River. He left the Army in 1832 and settled in San Antonio. Seguin’s company served as the rear guard for the main body of Sam Houston’s army. Navarro also served with Seguín at the battle of San Jacinto. For his participation in the Texas Revolution he received land grants and a pension. He was a member of the Texas Veterans Association until his death, in San Antonio in 1877.