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FLASHBACK: All aboard the 'Good Ship High and Dry' - Odessa American: Celinda Hawkins

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FLASHBACK: All aboard the 'Good Ship High and Dry'

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Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2014 6:45 am

When I was a kid, when I heard someone on television say, “Hey there boys and girls!,” I knew it was time for “my programs.”

Yes, back in the day (way back in the day), there was a thing called kids programming that was an hour of cartoons with a character fronting the show.

As a kid in the 1960s, mornings and afternoons were the most important times of the day.

In Austin, you had “The Uncle Jay Show.” Cowboy Jon was down in Beaumont. “Uncle Bob’s Playhouse” opened its doors every afternoon in Corpus Christi. Mr. Peppermint, who was based in Dallas, became a national icon. Other Dallas kid shows included “Slam Bang Theatre” (I remember that because we had cable) and “Cartoon Clubhouse.”

But in Odessa, each day, from 1961 to 1976, the beloved Admiral Foghorn welcomed us on to the “Good Ship High and Dry” on KOSA and joked about the scrambled eggs on his Admiral’s hat. There he would be in either a dapper white or navy blue uniform as we welcomed him into our living rooms every day.

As I mentioned in a previous column, I got to stand on the boat or half-boat as I recall. I stood in line, climbed up on a big box and rang the bell on my 6th birthday. I recall being completely petrified, but he shook my hand and gently helped me down off the box. It was a great day indeed. That was more than 45 years ago, but it was indeed one of the most thrilling moments of my childhood.

Like me there are a bunch of Odessans who grew up in the 60s who consider Admiral Foghorn not only a hero, but a mentor and even a member of the family.

Admiral Foghorn, AKA Paul Archinal, dreamed up his character right here in Odessa and thought it would be humorous to give his show a nautical theme, since Odessa sits right smack dab in the middle of the desert. And, according to a book “Hi There, Boys and Girls!,” Archinal harkened back to his childhood, growing up in Ohio near Lake Erie and the memorable sound of a foghorn and “Admiral Foghorn he became.” At 6 and 10 p.m. Archinal did the weather on KOSA, but in the afternoon, he transformed into his character.

Admiral Foghorn sailed into the sunset in 1971, and dropped anchor in Lubbock where he continued the show until it docked into its final home port in 1976. He and his wife Swan still live in Lubbock.

I mentioned Admiral Foghorn in my first column, and by golly, he emailed me. Then, he even sent me an autographed picture and some post cards.

And more than 45 years later, Admiral Foghorn has quite a following. Folks have even started a Friends of Admiral Foghorn Facebook page. While perusing there last week, I saw an old photo of Admiral Foghorn on the ship, interviewing Doc and Festus from “Gunsmoke.” And it looks like he and his wife Swan, celebrated their 61st anniversary last October. How wonderful.

Odessans regard Admiral Foghorn as an icon of the community. In March of 2002, he was honored by the Heritage Foundation as an “Distinguished Former Odessan.”

As a matter of fact, he called me a few weeks back, to check to see when the next Heritage Awards of Odessa were being handed out.

“I couldn’t get there last year,” he said, adding that he always likes to attend.

He said he would love to be here this week and the folks at the event may see the Admiral, probably sans his scrambled egg splattered admiral hat. But if he does decide to show up in uniform, I prefer the navy blue.

Ding, ding, Admiral Foghorn.

Odessa, TX

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