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Monday, March 29, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Don Mccune, Respected TV Host In Northwest, Dies At 73

Don McCune, who became a Northwest television legend as Captain Puget, died Saturday at his Rainsong Ranch in Woodinville. He was 73.

In addition to "Captain Puget," a daily children's show in the 1950s and '60s on which he played a salty sea captain, he also hosted a regional travel series called "Exploration Northwest" and moderated the religious program "Challenge."

The deep-voiced, dignified McCune was in contrast to other local children's-show hosts, such as J.P. Patches and Wunda-Wunda, who were more playful and humor-oriented. As Captain Puget, Mr. McCune sang sea chanteys and told seafaring tales. He also showed cartoons, featuring Popeye.

A frequent guest and guitar-strumming vocal partner was Seattle seafood-restaurant icon Ivar Haglund.

Among other awards, "Captain Puget" won the prestigious Sylvania Television Award for the outstanding children's program in the nation.

Perhaps Mr. McCune's largest audience came with "Exploration Northwest," a weekly travel and adventure series that carried viewers to many locations and usually included a strong dose of environmental sensitivity that had not yet earned wide support.

Mr. McCune won 26 Emmys in his long broadcasting career.

A native of Illinois, he first was heard on radio here as a morning disc jockey on KRSC, while a broadcasting student at the University of Washington. He worked in Alaska before joining KOMO in the late 1950s. He retired in 1981 after 24 years at KOMO.

With his wife of 23 years, Linda, he built Rainsong Ranch, based on a traditional log cabin from a Currier & Ives print. He died there of pancreatic cancer, with his wife and their three children, Zane, Clint and Grace, at his side.

Just last year, Mr. McCune was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

A memorial service is planned Saturday, which the family hopes to hold at Seattle Center, according to Bleitz Funeral Home. Definite arrangements about the time and place are pending.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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