There was one thing to look forward to after school growing up on that little farm in southwest Minnesota. One thing that went really well with a bowl of Wheaties sitting on that linoleum floor in the living room.

Captain 11.

If you lived in the Sioux Falls area, the Sioux Empire, and grew up anytime between 1953 and 1996, you did the same thing (maybe minus the Wheaties). For over 40 years kids, and their kids...and maybe their kids too...were glued to the television.

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With the wisdom of Solomon and the strength of Atlas, this magic man called Captain 11 would transport me to cartoon heaven  The trip would include watching switches made of jewels light up, trunks of toys looking for that one special key, and a salute at the end and a reminder to say my prayers.

So why the name Captain 11? Well, because KELO TV was on channel 11 of course!

I saw Captain 11 once in person.  He came out to the Edgerton Dutch Festival (and I'll bet he came to your town, too...he was everywhere!).  I was maybe five or six and he was part of the Festival Parade.  He got out of a car and began walking towards me and my family.  I, of course, did the only sensible thing....I cried.  Hey, gimme a break!  The most important and powerful hero I had was getting close!

Years later I met Captain 11 when I was working on KSOO Radio.  He had magically transformed himself (Captain 11 had magic powers) and now called himself Dave Dedrick.  He remembered being at the Dutch Festival several times and said he had a pair of wooden shoes to prove it!

Dave wrote a book about his life.  It turns out Dave Dedrick, or as I like to call him Captain 11, had his life challenges like we all do.  Turns out Captain 11 wasn't perfect.  And that's OK, in my many years on the planet I've discovered that no one is.

It's well enough (in fact, it's a tribute to this man, this Captain 11) that all these decades later he can still transport an old(er) bald, skinny guy back to a linoleum farmhouse floor and make him smile....that memory sure does bend warm.

Take a trip down memory lane with this Captain 11 tribute. Who knows, you just might see yourself.

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