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Yesteryears Column
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Letters from the Captain

1984: Oct. 28
Its noon in Long John Silvers boat along Sterling Avenue and
pirates (waiters) are serving Captain Jinks and Salty Sam fish for
lunch.
For six years, the S.S. Albatross has been stored away in the backroom
of the East Peoria television station, WEEK. But for these two, numerous
fans have kept the memories fresh. Sometimes Stan Lonergan (Captain
Jinks) says, he will be walking down the street and people will still
yell from a passing car, Ahoy, Captain! The fake black mustache and
goatee has been replaced by a permanent salt-and-pepper one. But the dry
personality that made us chuckle is still coming out with a few choice
words.
What kind of work did you do before you became the Captain? The
question was posed to Lonergan. Well, I had one job, but I had to quit
because of illness. I made my boss sick. Salty Sam, minus the mustache,
laughs on cue. A friendly man, George Baseleon, winks at a toddler whose
mother probably grew up with the Captain Jinks Show.
Hi Matie!, Baseleon shouts, and also says he sometimes signs 200
autographs on a Saturday night at the Heritage House, where he is
assistant manager. When the autograph requests stop coming, thats the
time to worry.
The the Captain recalls the spontaneity and fun that came with an
audience of honest children and the good old days of television.
Children. So incredibly honest, says Salty. I just love working
with kids.
Retired, 62 years old and three years beyond the role of the Captain,
Stan Lonergan says if he had $1 now for every show hes done, hed be in
London where I always wanted to go before I leave for the big sea in
the sky. Stan is quiet and seems almost embarrassed and a devout fan
describes him as looking lonely. Salty says hes a very shy,
self-conscious man. Hes led a quiet life. His close friends are dear
friends, but hes much of a loner. Always has been, according to
Baseleon.
Stan Lonergans golden voice graced the radio waves of Chicago back in
the 1940s and took parts in various radio soap operas. At one
station he was asked to read the farm stock report. A city boy, he
mistakenly pronounced ewes (female sheep) as eewees, and Chicago
broadcasters are still telling the story.
And a few Peoria broadcasters remember how, in an emergency, they
called upon Lonergan to do the TV weather show. Stan recalls, It was so
bad it was funny. People thought it was a comedy routine.