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 Captain Hammer-1st season

 Born:  July 17, 1930
 Birthplace: Long Beach, California 
 Died:
October 18,1999

 

Rozane's December 12th, 1997 phone interview with Dick Hammer

My second surprise this week was finding Dick Hammer. I talked to him on Friday December 12.

Richard Hammer was born July 17, 1930 in Long Beach, California. In 1959, he was Director of Recreation for the city of Long Beach when he took his firefighter test. He placed high and that was the start of his career as a firefighter.

As a fireman he got a SAG card and did film work on the side. His first of over 100 commercials was for a Aunt Jemima ad set in a firehouse. Robert Cinader knew he was into film work and invited him down to audition for a new show, "Emergency!", they were doing and he became the first captain of the show.

hammer.jpg (10937 bytes)One of his favorite scenes he did was in "Dilemma" with the man in the train tank car. He had to say "trichloroethylene" and got it right in the first take!  What he liked most about being on the show was "helping to portray the fire department in the best possible way." The long hours of doing a television series interfered with his work and he left the series after 10 shows. He said it was very nice working with the cast and crew. He also mentioned that Tim and Marco were "nice kids".

From 1970 to 1980 he was the 4th Marlboro Man in a series of four of them.  They did filming for a lot of the ads in Texas.  In 1983 he retired from the fire department with the rank of Captain.

Capt. Hammer and his wife have been married 44 years and have three kids and 5 grandkids and still live in California.

My special thanks to this wonderful man for asking about my children and, when finding out that my youngest one wants to be a fireman, asked to speak to him.  I will never forget the sight of my son, Kevin, talking with Captain Hammer about being a firefighter!! 

Dick Hammer/LA Times Obit (October 20, 1999)

Dick Hammer, 69, former USC basketball player and a member of the 1964 Olympic volleyball team, died Monday in Long Beach.  Hammer, a starting guard on the 1953-54 USC basketball team, is survived by his wife, Betty, three children, and five grandchildren. Funeral services will be private and memorial services are pending.

I feel I have to write this. To let people know what this person meant to myself and my son. Capt. Dick Hammer was on the show for only the 1st season, but he left a huge impact on the two of us here. When I called to interview him he and his wife were both very gracious to me, as were most of the cast and crew I called for interviews. The interview turned to just chit-chat about families, and Dick Hammer asked about mine. I told him I had a 3 year old son who had been saying he wanted to be a fireman since he was 18 months old. When I told him this, he asked if Kevin was nearby. Yes. He asked to speak to him and I called Kevin to the phone. I will never forget seeing his face when he realized who he was talking to. Later, in the mail, came a personalized autographed picture to Kevin from Mr. Hammer. My son was so over-joyed at that wonderful treasure.

When I received the news about the death of this man, I turned to tell my husband. Kevin came up and said "Who died??" and when I said "Capt Hammer" he said "NO!! NO!!" and started crying. Kevin is 5 1/2 now, but still remembers talking to him on the phone when he was 3 1/2. I looked at Kevin and he ran into my arms crying and said "I talked to him! We talked about being firemen together and he sent me his picture." This child remembers that wonderful man and how much he touched his life. I know he will never forget him. He is now in his room crying in his father's arms. To touch a life like this...to have a small child remember you and the things you talked about...that is special.

Thank you, Capt Hammer. Thank you for touching us like you did. Thank you for the special kindness you showed a child. It will never be forgotten. You will never be forgotten. You will live in our hearts forever.

Rozane

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