December 16, 2015

'Commander Ralph', dead at 89

Ralph Vartigian, Albany TV's 'Commander Ralph', dead at 89By Jordan Carleo-Evangelist Updated 9:29 am, Wednesday, December 16, 2015
North Greenbush- Ralph Vartigian, the TV newscaster-turned-politician who delivered the morning news to a generation of Capital Region kids as "Commander Ralph" with an assist from an energetic puppet meteorologist named Mr. Monkey, died Saturday at home. He was 89.

Vartigian, a Watervliet native, spent 36 years in various roles at WTEN-Ch. 10 and its forbears, including 14 as the face of "Commander Ralph and The Good Ship News" — a program that aired just before 8 a.m. in the 1960s and '70s as youngsters prepared to board the school bus.

After leaving TV news in the late 1980s, Vartigian, of North Greenbush, served three terms in the Rensselaer County Legislature, including a stint as Republican majority leader.

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