We received word from KUWS radio’s Mike Simonson, on the Radio Superior Facebook page, that longtime Twin Ports radio and TV personality Jack McKenna died Sunday, Dec. 8 at age 91.
Jack McKenna does a weathercast at WDIO-TV in 1977, the same year he was chosen favorite TV personality by Twin Ports residents. (News Tribune file photo)
He played the character “Captain Q” on a Duluth children’s TV show, and the News Tribune files report that he also played “Professor Fantastic” on a late-night horror movie show on WDIO.
McKenna also was an alumnus of Denfeld High School, and a good recap of his career can be found on their website.
Jack McKenna portrays the kids TV show character “Captain Q” in the early 1960s. (News Tribune file photo)
In more recent years, McKenna took part in the Radio Superior vintage radio program on KUWS.
I talked with him briefly a few weeks ago when writing an obituary for fellow Duluth TV veteran Dick Wallack. McKenna had had health issues in recent years, but his mind was sharp when we discussed the time he and Wallack spent working together.
Jack McKenna in 1970. (News Tribune file photo)
Several video clips of McKenna exist on YouTube, including….
McKenna as part of the WDIO news team in a 1973 newscast (I’ve included two of the five clips below – the ones that feature McKenna most prominently; find the rest here):
McKenna giving the weather on a 1986 KBJR newscast:
McKenna giving the weather on a KBJR newscast with Barbara Reyelts in 1988:
McKenna in character as Captain Q (this clip starts with footage of Ray Paulsen as Mr. Toot; Captain Q comes in the second half):
There aren’t many Twin Ports TV pioneers left… share your memories of Jack McKenna and other early Duluth TV personalities by posting a comment.