Captain Sandy & Isabel

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Yo ho ho, what's the weather going to be, here is Captain Sandy with the weather he has found, for Savannah and for Chatham and the counties all around.

Captain Sandy would come out wearing a vaguely nautical cap and blazer (something akin to 60's TV sitcom yacht owner. This was the early 60's and the captain's nightly appearances on WTOC were a relic from the earliest days of television.

Captain Sandy's big thermometer was temperamental and would fidget before revealing tomorrow's high. A stuff seagull would be lowered from the ceiling, I forget what information he brought to the captain.

The high point was always when Captain Sandy opened Davey Jones' locker to get the tide information out of Calamity Clam who'd always try to bite the captain.

By the mid-60's he lost his title and took to wearing a suit and tie.

Hard to imagine Captain Sandy doing the hysterical song and dance over Hurricane Isabel as RTP's local newsfolk are. Isabel won't be coming to Raleigh-Durham. We'll get some 40 - 50 mph winds and a few inches of rain. Come tomorrow we'll be back to partly sunny. Of course having a raggedy Anne doll chat with Captain Sandy wouldn't have hit the right note.

(Damn if I can reach any news sites this a.m. People searching the web for news of Isabel have knocked some of the local news websites offline.)

Cab Calloway's irresistible clowning has long obscured his versatility as a singer. It doesn't help that American music publishers mostly release the same small body of songs over and over again. Thankfully the Europeans a more expansive selection of Calloway's singing.

[Listening to: Boo-Wah Boo-Wah - Cab Calloway - (2:49)]


I believe there was a line in between…

Yo-ho, yo ho, what’s the weather going to be, Here’s the man who knows, let’s take a look and see

I remember Captain Sandy well! Here’s the full theme:

Yo ho, yo ho, what’s the weather going to be? Here’s the man who knows, let’s take a look and see.

Here is Captain Sandy with the weather he has found, for Savannah and for Chatham and the counties all around.

I’m not sure if there’s a seafarer’s song by that tune. However, there is a little “patter” section in a 1937 musical piece entited NAGASAKI that uses the tune to those first two lines.

Thanks for mentioning Captain Sandy.

Best wishes, James

Nice to read your comments about Captain Sandy the weatherman but you had one fact that was incorrect and I thought I’d fill in some gaps in your memory.

Captain Sandy was a fixture on WSAV-TV, channel 3 in Savannah from 1956 until 1982, not on the competing station WTOC.

Over the years there were as far as I can determine as many as 4 different fellas playing the role of Captain Sandy. The one most remembered was Jox Cox. He was Captain Sandy in Savannah on WSAV from about 1965 until the Captain was phased out in favor of a more modern look about 1982.

In 1979 The News Press and Gazette Company of St. Joseph’s Missouri bought WSAV from the Daniel family that had put the station on the air in 1956. They didn’t understand the local market dynamics and thought the Captain was a stupid idea. So they dressed Joe Cox in a suit and retired the Captain Sandy routine. They also moved a wildly successful newscast from 7pm where they had no competition to 6pm to compete with neck-and-neck rival WTOC that had recently been purchased by the AFLAC broadcast group.

The end of Captain Sandy spelled DOOM for the news on WSAV. Ratings plunged and for over 25 years WSAV has been struggling to regain their popularity.

Over the years no much changed about the Captain Sandy broadcasts except in the early 1970’s he went from black and white to color.

The Captain had a range of characters that helped him deliver the weather and entertain the kids. Wilbur and Orville, the Weather-Birds, delivered the forecast each night as they flew don’t from the lighting grid dressed in costumes reflecting the weather. They had summer clothes, winter coats, rainwear and even a tuxedo for special occasions.

Arthur-mometer snapped to the forecast temperatures and a visit toward the end of each broadcast to Davey Jones Locker pitted the Captain against Clammity Clam, who would snap at his hand as he attempted to get tide prediction cards from his mouth.

For a short time after the Captain was taken off the air at WSAV (and after Joe Cox was fired) competing UHF station WJCL picked him up but used primitive computer graphics to try to recreate the old Captain Sandy routine but it was too late. By 1984 the Captain was gone for good.

I have worked at WSAV now for 11 years and just competed our 50th anniversary special that was in large part devoted to remembering Captain Sandy, Wilbur and Orville and Clammity Clam. The funniest part about putting the show together was discovering that even though Captain Sandy hadn’t been on the air in over 25 years just about anyone under the age of 40 that grew up in Savannah remembers him and his characters. But the most amazing thing to me is that everyone still remembers on of the greatest jingles in broadcasting - Yo ho, yo ho, what’s the weather gonna be. Here’s the man who knows lets take a look and see. Here is Captain Sandy with the weather he has found for Savannah and for Chatham and the counties all around.

Donít know why but WTOC is the station that I always remember (I left Savannah in 1972). I think the Captain Sandy that I remember may have hosted some sort of late night show for a very short time. The memory is very indistinct, Iíd have been a very young boy.

The jingle? All these years later about every other time I start to check the weather forecast I hear those words.

Many thanks, Richard

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Captain Sandy & Isabel
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