Original Caption: Gadabout Gaddis. The Atlanta Journal, January 1965

In today’s Friday Finale historical photo, we teeter on the edge of what might be considered a traditional personality for the site.  Yet if you ask a lot of “old timers” who were their early influencers growing up, this name often gets mentioned.  He had one of the earliest fishing television shows, frequently mixed in bass fishing trips amongst a host of other species filmed, and visited pretty much every state in the country at some point.  Of course, we’re talking about R. Vernon Gaddis, more commonly known by the monicker, “Gadabout Gaddis.”

Today’s picture dates back to 1965, and features Mr. Gaddis digging through a tackle box, holding what appears to be a couple bass plugs in each hand.

Born in Illinois, the son of a construction engineer, young Gadabout moved around the country rather frequently, dropping out of school at the age of 16.  He enlisted in the Army at the start of World War I, passing flight examinations at Kelly Field, TX.  He served at several air bases during that time, earned his pilot license, and maintained it after the war.

He eventually got his own plane, hence the name, “The Flying Fisherman,” was befitting for his television show.

The show came about after working at a sporting goods store opening.  That eventually led to a job as a tackle salesman in the New England area, for Shakespeare, from what I’ve read.  That opportunity gave him the chance to fish five or six months of the year.  Gaddis started filming his fishing exploits and showing them off while frequently doing seminars and shows around the country.  From there, it was a short leap into the television world.