ISSUE | CAPTAIN NOAH

All about nurturing kids' imaginations

It takes a special gift to capture the hearts and minds of children. For 27 years as TV host of Captain Noah and His Magical Ark, W. Carter Merbreier, who passed away Aug. 9 at the age of 90, did just that ("Captain Noah, generous with smiles and his time," Aug. 10).

At the Please Touch Museum, the set from his show is a permanent exhibit. As the museum celebrates its 40th birthday, it is fitting that this priceless piece of Philadelphia iconography lives on in an institution dedicated to learning through play.

In mourning his passing, we are reminded of the fundamental truths of childhood learning:

When young people are invited to explore the world in a language they can understand, their potential for creation and connection is limitless.

The most important building block of imagination is a strong foundation.

The most fruitful mind is an inquisitive one.

These truths echo the very nature of play - using the inspiration of what's before you to create your own narratives and author your own stories. Captain Noah understood that well. Not only did his show lay the foundation for imagination day after day; it gave children a glimpse of where that imagination could take them.

From the guests he welcomed to the artwork he proudly displayed, the good Captain praised originality and prized creativity.

May we honor his memory by taking to heart the pursuit to which he dedicated his life: nourishing and expanding the minds of children through love, humor, and the advocacy of play.

|Patricia D. Wellenbach, president and chief executive officer, Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia

He taught us how to 'Sing a Rainbow'

Along with other Philadelphia television personalities, such as Gene London and Sally Starr, Captain Noah and his wife, Pat, were an important part of my childhood. How sad to read of his passing. No doubt he has reached that rainbow he always sang to us about.

Thank you, Captain Noah, for the joy you brought to my life and for the goodness you brought to the world. Because of you, we can all "Sing a Rainbow."

|Russ Decker, Lansdale