Roscoe Vernon (Gadabout) Gaddis, known to millions of television viewers as “The Flying Fisherman,” died last week in a nursing home near his beloved Kennebec River. He was 90.
“Gad,” as he was often referred to by his fans, was the star of “Outdoors With Liberty Mutual,” a weekly half-hour show that made its debut during the 1950s and eventually was carried by 73 stations, including Channel 4 in Los Angeles.
That was Gaddis’ second stint on TV. In 1939 he appeared on General Electric’s experimental station in Schenectady, N.Y., doing 15 minutes of fishing talk and showing film. At that time, he represented a fishing gear manufacturer and his was believed to be only the second show ever to be sponsored on television, behind one by Lowell Thomas.
He began fishing at the age of 7 when his grandmother took him on the Okaw River in his native Mattoon, Ill.
“It opened a whole new world to me--something very special,” he once recalled.
He came to Maine in 1927 as a traveling salesman for a fishing tackle company and fell in love with the upper Kennebec Valley.
In the years that followed, he fished every state in the United States and much of Mexico and Canada.
“Fishing is more than just catching fish, it’s soaking up nature and all its marvelous wonders,” he said.
He combined flying with fishing when he received his pilot’s license in 1952 and purchased his own Cherokee.