Captain Z-Ro is dead

Roy Steffensen (aka Steffens) has passed away (1914-2012)

He was a television pioneer who created Capt. Z-Ro, a time travel program in the early 1950s that took him and his supporting cast to historical events. He had a young sidekick named Jet who was first played by Bob Trumbull and later by Bruce Haines.

It was done at a time when the only TV special effect was the dissolve. The show was done with only 2 cameras.

The program was first broadcast live on KRON-TV, San Francisco. Later both kinescope recordings and programs shot on film were made available in syndication. They are now available on DVD.

In later years Steffens was a set designer and art director at Universal Studios. But he always relished his role as Capt. Z-ro.

We talked on the phone a few times and exchanged letters. As a kid I’d watched the program and my last TV job was at KRON-TV. He told me a story about a mishap on the show that was scary. A flash powder charge had been set for an explosion. It turned out to be stronger than planned and he was looking right at it when it ignited. He was temporarily blinded. He acted out the rest of the show unable to see a thing. That was live TV.

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