CAPTAIN NOAH said his days were numbered, back in March as soon as I sat dvery own via him for an interview."At my age, you recognize you"re closer to death than as soon as you were 49," said the captain, a.k.a. W. Carter Merbreier, star of Captain Noah and also His Magical Ark, the iconic kids" show that ran on WPVI-TV from 1967 to 1994.

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Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky and Captain Noah share a kiss in March 2016.Read moreEd Hille / Staff Photographer

CAPTAIN NOAH sassist his days were numbered, back in March when I sat dvery own with him for an interwatch.

"At my age, you recognize you"re closer to fatality than once you were 49," shelp the captain, a.k.a. W. Carter Merbreier, star of Captain Noah and His Magical Ark, the iconic kids" present that ran on WPVI-TV from 1967 to 1994.

"And please do not say, "Oh, however also a 49-year-old can get hit by a truck!" as though the odds of dying soon are equal for everyone. At 89, my odds are better."

So, in preparation for the obituaries he kbrand-new reporters would sooner or later create about his life, he had actually sent to the Daily News a paperearlier variation of his 2014 Kindle book, Captain Noah and also His Magical Ark: Remembrances and also Ruminations About the Animals and the Guests - Celebrities, Sports and also Music Stars - Who Prowled Our Decks.

It was a magazine-size, name-dropping paperback whose 74 peras documented Merbreier"s favorite memories of his 27-year children"s-tv career.

Tbelow were photos of the mega-celebrities that checked out Merbreier"s "magical ark" - among them John Lennon, Stevie Wonder, Charles Barkley and Peter Falk - however many type of more of Merbreier and also his calm, wry wife, Pat, a.k.a. "Mrs. Noah."

And anecdotes galore divulged the behind-the-scenes production high jinks of the present that was inevitably syndicated to 22 stations across the nation.

For a really lengthy time, America loved him. At one allude, local viewership of Captain Noah and His Magical Ark was higher than those of Captain Kangaroo and Sesame Street combined.

At the moment of his eventual fatality, Merbreier told me modestly that day, obituary writers "might desire to create about my passing."

Well, Merbreier passed away at his Audubon. Montgomery County, house on Tuesday after a brief condition, announced his former employer, 6ABC. He had just celebrated his 90th birthday.

And so right here I am - a kid currently of a specific age - composing about his passing. I"m filled with wistfulness and also gratitude.

Wistful that the last icon of my youth is no longer below. As lengthy as Merbreier breathed, so, also, did a huge chunk of my very own childhood. What a lovely link that was; how sad that it"s gone.

But I"m likewise grateful that I acquired to meet Merbreier and give thanks to him, adult to adult, for sweetening my childhood eextremely time he asked his young viewers to join him and Mrs. Noah in warbling "Sing a Rainbow."

The tune was a celebration of diversity before diversity was a buzzword and also came to be the sound track to many type of a childhood, consisting of mine and also those of my eight siblings.

Merbreier"s show was low-technology, prefer we youngsters were ourselves. We didn"t need much even more than a couple of cheap Ark props and also our own powerful imagicountries to envision life on the high seas. Or to think that Maurice the Mouse and Wally the Walrus - puppets manned by Mrs. Noah - truly were alive and deeply interested in who we were and what we believed about.

During my visit through Merbreier, I kept emotional his arm - was he actually real? Was I really here? - and also grinning at Ed Hille, the staff photographer who made the visit via me. Merbreier hadn"t been on TV in years, and also I felt choose I was seeing a ghost - a dignified, twinkling gorganize of a household member I"d really loved - and I felt so happy.

Merbreier repetitive himself often in the time of our visit, the method my own mommy did shortly before her death five years ago, the way I sudepend will certainly when, if I"m lucky, I live as lengthy and also well as they did.

I didn"t care. It simply felt wonderful to be tright here with him in his beautiful two-bedroom apartment at Shannondell, a sprawling, uprange retirement area near Valley Forge, wright here he was surrounded by framed photos of his time on the Ark and uncountable Ark-theme mementos.

I asked if he was lonely. Pat, the love of his life, had passed away in 2011, and also their only son, a daughter, stayed in England via her children and grandyoungsters. Merbreier spoke warmly of his progeny but was at tremendous peace with where he was and also exactly how he lived.

"I love the Philadelphia area," he sassist. "The world have actually been exceptionally excellent to me, every one of my memories are below. I have had actually a wonderful life. This is my residence."

It was wonderful to hear that voice aget, to marvel at the passage of time, to be vividly in the minute and also think, "All these years later, he"s still right here, and so am I." I appreciated in a brand-new method his commitment, so lengthy earlier, to helping kids feel loved and appreciated and his request that we all "be excellent to one one more."

Because isn"t that why we"re all here? What better objective are we referred to as to, anyway?

So, dear old Captain Noah, bon trip as you sail right into the hereafter and into the waiting arms of your beloved Pat.

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And on behalf of thousands of former youngsters who kbrand-new and loved you well, give thanks to you.