Shari Lewis lives with Lamb Chop, Hush Puppy, and Charlie Horse (all of which she performs as) and they get into all sorts of adventures, as well as Betcha tricks, Knock-Knock Joke segments... See full summary »
Children's program that was often franchised rather than syndicated (meaning, local television stations could use their own hostesses in lieu of national hosts if they chose). A typical ... See full summary »
In the annals of televison, few children's programs ever made as much impact as Captain Kangaroo. Hosted by Bob Keeshan (at one time, he played Howdy Doody's friend, Clarabell) from the appropriately-named Captain's Place, the Captain was so named because he always wore an overcoat with large, kangaroo-like pouches. Each show featured stories, skits, vaudeville acts, songs, games and other educational activities. Captain Kangaroo's friends were Mr. Green Jeans (who always brought an animal to the show); Dennis, an apprentice handyman and do-it-all person; and Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit. Bunny was always mute, but made his point ever-so-cleverly, while Mr. Moose always tricked the Captain into allowing him to stand under a shower of pingpong balls. As the show got on in years, new features were added, including Uncle Backwards (a tape of some simple action, such as peeling an orange or building a doghouse, shown in reverse); "Picture Pages," a matching activity hosted by Bill Cosby; ... Written by
Brian Rathjen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I'll admit it: I was one of the first watchers of PBS's "Sesame Street" (Well, actually.. "The Electric Company" and "Zoom" were more my generation!) but that does not negate the importance of Captain Kangaroo which was on broadcast TV and watched with as much love and admiration as well. When it went off the air, I was pretty disappointed. But at that time I realized how long this was on the air
I had no idea! What a long run for a great children's program!
PBS took over the educational children's market as the major broadcast networks found "no money in it" and preferred to go with talky morning news magazines - whereas I find everyone should have a stake in educational and fun children's programming.
I remember watching Captain Kangaroo before going to kindergarten. It was calming to see the Captain, Mr. Green Jeans, The Rabbit, The Moose before toddling off to school. Caaptain Kangaroo hit everything that grabbed children's attention - cartoon, books, skits, cute puppets, neighbors, etc., and the show went from brushes of fantasy to daily reality. As I got older, I found the show had started acquiring local "news breaks" and spiffy toy commercials.
The last memory I have of Captain Kangaroo on the CBS network was the Captain introducing "a new medium". It was animation with a live person interacting in it. It was Al Jareau singing "Mornin'" acting within an animated set with a lively sun, happy toaster, etc. This was at the beginning of the "music video" boom and I thought this was great. I also remember my older brother telling me that his third grade elementary school teacher turned on Captain Kangaroo when he focused on man walking on the moon, which my brother told me was the day after man did. Captain Kangaroo did stay on top of trends, current events and talked to children - not "down" to children.
What was the demise of Captain Kangaroo? It's 37 year run on broadcast television? The Reagan Era of complaints that children were seeing too much TV and violence on TV? (For those that do not know, Captain Kangaroo was named as a part of that - and the reason was because children were watching TV before going to school and that was wrong to them.) Morning News magazines focusing on adults going to work rather than focusing on children before school? Cable and Satellite TV becoming more affordable, accessible and focusing more on diverse children's programming than broadcast TV? PBS now being known for children's programming? Everyone has an opinion and it could be what has been mentioned, a combination of that or even something else.
It doesn't matter. This was a great show of a 37 year run and there will not be any show on broadcast TV that will EVER do that again. Maybe its time the broadcast networks should try. The morning news shows and news programs on broadcast TV DO NOT appeal to toddlers and small children. And while broadcast network brass thinks that many homes can afford cable or satellite to see new broadcast shows, they can't. Captain Kangaroo was a great staple. It's time for broadcast programmers to remember the toddlers and little children once again.
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