In 1956 Alan Herbert received a letter from ATN offering him an acting
job to be the compere of a children's television programme at the
new television station, to be known as Channel 7.
He was undecided in the beginning
because he had a part in a long
running radio serial "The Smokey
Dawson Show" which was considered
"bread and butter" in the acting
Alan was also getting
enough supplementary work on stage,
radio and film to make ends meet.
After much consideration with his
family he decided to give it a go as the
money offered was very good, much
better paid than radio work.
When the station finally went to air
Captain Fortune had been created
and at that stage he wore a false
beard and a "naval uniform".
Most of the people who worked on the Captain Fortune Show were new to television with only a few having overseas experience. So it was all very exciting.
There was no set script, just a format, so it was all adlibbed.
The Captain Fortune Show was done in front of a live audience with no rehersal and not taped.
So unfortuately the only visual record of the Captain Fortune Show are still photographs and of course the treasured memories of the scores of children who avidly watched the Captain Fortune Show and were part of the studio audience and present at his many public appearances.
The Captain Fortune Show included segments with Clifford Warne and his puppet Gus, Arch Mccurdie, Reg Quartley and Les Foxcroft as clowns, Uncle Monty and Roy Kinghorn.
In time Alan's family of a wife and two small girls moved to Carlingford within walking distance of the television studio at Epping as Alan didn't drive.
As the popularity of the Captain Fortune Show grew it appeared three times mid week as well as on Saturday mornings. Alan had by now replaced his false beard with a real one and became involved in charitable work for community groups.
He would often spend Saturday afternoons after the Captain Fortune Show giving public appearances at school fetes, Spastic Centre functions and work for the Children's Medical Research Foundation amongst many other organisations associated with children.
He was a very kind and generous man, loved and respected by all who knew him and had great trouble refusing any requests for help.
Due to ill health Alan left the programme after four years and worked as a professional photographer for the remaining four years of his life. He died at aged 52 in 1966.
Kathie Herbert, Alan's daughter