Stu Nahan as Captain Philadelphia
Some knew him as the original voice of the Philadelphia Flyers ice hockey broadcasts and others remembered him as a TV kids show host, Captain Philadelphia.
It was during 1967 that Stu Nahan joined Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Famer Gene Hart at WKBS-TV, Channel 48, licensed to Burlington, NJ and Philadelphia. These two broadcasters covered 27 of 37 road games for the Flyers’ first season and broadcast on radio the third period of most games of the Flyers, both at home and away. Only West Coast games were not broadcast.
The reason that the radio broadcasts were only for the third period of the game was that they had to buy the time and it cost too much to purchase air time for the whole game, thus they did only the last third of the game. Stu Nahan mentioned one time “We always hoped it wouldn't be a blowout so people would tune in.”
Nahan’s broadcasting career started by doing play-by-play announcing for a Modesto, California baseball team and his first sports reports were at a TV station in Sacramento.
There, Nahan also played a character called “Skipper Stu.” It was his first time as a television host for children’s programming. When he joined Channel 48, the character was renamed “Captain Philadelphia” and he wore an astronaut’s suit.
Dan Baker, the Philadelphia Phillies’ public address announcer worked at the station as part of Captain Philadelphia’s studio staff at that time. Baker stated: He was great with kids. It was a live, in-studio show, and we always had a lot of guests.
Stu Nahan also broadcast Eagles coverage and Big Five basketball games. A competing station, WPHL-TV, Channel 17 had a huge package of Big Five broadcasts so Channel 48 could only carry the ones that were not part of the package. Stu was also Channel 48’s sports director and did the sports reports on the station’s 10 o’clock newscasts. After all, the kids were asleep so they wouldn’t know that Captain Philadelphia also did the sports coverage.
Also during 1967, Stu Nahan did play-by-play for CBS-TV (carried over Channel 10 in Philadelphia at that time) for home Flyers games that were part of the network's “NHL’s Game of the Week.” In 1973 when the league went from 6 to 12 teams, Stu moved to Los Angeles, his hometown to become the voice of the Kings Ice Hockey team.
He was in Rocky (made in 1976) as a sportscaster. Ironic that the story was based in Philly where Nahan had previously worked. For decades, Nahan worked for KFWB, KABC, KXTA and KTLA as a sports anchor. He also did the pre-game show for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He was born on June 23, 1926 in Los Angeles and when Stu was only two, he and his mother moved to Canada. He grew up playing ice hockey and became the star goalie in Montreal for McGill College. He was signed by the Maple Leafs in 1946 and was sent to the minor league team in Los Angeles, the Monarchs. Nahan had returned home. In 1952, the team went out of business and Stu’s playing days were over except for games between the New York press and their counterparts in Philly. Stu Nahan played goalie for the Quaker City.He died on December 26, 2007 at his home from lymphoma. He was 81.
From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
Researched and compiled by Broadcast Pioneers historian Gerry Wilkinson
Photo originally donated by Broadcast Pioneers member Bill "Wee Willie" Webber
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