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Captain Ernie, the local television host who brought joy to thousands of Quad-Cities kids, has died.

Captain Ernie

Ernest Christopher Memos

Ernest Christopher Memos,  known lovingly as Captain Ernie, died Sunday in his Florida home. He was 86. His death was confirmed by his son, Zack Memos, in a Facebook response.

Ernie Memos, who went by his stage name, Ernie Mims, hosted the popular "Cap'n Ernie's Show Boat," from 1964 to 1974. The show aired on station WOC-TV-6.

Five afternoons a week, Captain Ernie piloted the Good Ship Dixiebell, through an hour-long, cartoon-filled show that entertained a studio filled with kids and thousands watching from home.

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He went on to co-host PM Magazine with Paula Sands in the early '80s.

A New Hampshire native, Captain Ernie served as a trumpet player in the U.S. Air Force band. His first TV gig was in Galesburg, while his first job at WOC was playing Uncle Ernie, the station's janitor, as part of a Sunday morning cartoon show.

"He just received a clean bill of health," Zack Memos wrote.

"His wishes were no funeral, but a party to celebrate his life," said Zack Memos, a successful television show host himself. "And we know he loved a party and a drink now and then. He'd want a celebration."

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