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.
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)
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.
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