Remembering Cactus Pete was held on Friday, September 15, 2017, at Herrin City Library. The event was organized and presented by Lisa Carnaghi, Assistant Researcher, Herrin History Room. The Herrin Area Historical Society sponsored the event. There were sixty plus people who attended the event; including, Susan Plater (Bill Plater’s Wife), Mark Tullis (Creator of Cactus Pete Facebook Page), Rex Settlemoir and Dale Gibson (former WSIL employees), and WSIL News 3. Lisa got the idea while reminiscing about Cactus Pete in a conversation with Susan Plater. Lisa said, “I have such fond memories from childhood of Cactus Pete coming into our home. He was so very kind and obviously enjoyed his audience which included not just children, but also Mom and Dad; the whole family watched Cactus Pete!”
PHOTO CREDIT: taken by Mark Fisher.
Cactus Pete beamed into homes in southern Illinois in the 50’s and 60’s and dozens of people came out to remember the old children’s program at the Herrin Library Friday.
That included a host of former Channel 3 employees who helped put Cactus Pete on the air
“I’m part of the Johnson County Gang that actually ran WSIL,” Rex Settlemoir said. “Our chief engineer was from Johnson County. Bill Plater was from Vienna, Johnson County. He graduated from Vienna High School.”
The presentation included several pieces from the original Cactus Piece set along with several recreations created by the event’s organizer, assistant librarian Lisa Carnaghi.
One of the most well-known people to play Cactus Pete over the years was Bill Plater.
He died in 2014 and his widow, Susan, came out to the screening of his old footage.
She said she’s thankful to Carnaghi for putting together the event.
“So when she approached me, I was all for it,” Plater said. “I think it’s a tremendous tribute to Bill playing Cactus Pete.”
Credit: WSIL News 3: http://www.wsiltv.com/story/36380096/herrin-library-honors-cactus-pete