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 <email@example.com>
Some of my earliest memories of television are watching Captain Kangaroo. It was entertaining and educational. The thing is, the talents of Bob Keeshan made it work. You learned without knowing you were being taught. And they were practical lessons. Things like self esteem, respect, and dedication. All rolled up in a children's format in ways they could understand. It was a pioneer in children's programming that would effect other educational shows for decades to come. I started watching when I was a child, and grew up to see my children discover "The Captain" and watched it with them. If you look at later children's programs like Sesame Street, you can clearly see the influence of the Captain Kangaroo show. It is a program that had enough of an influence to receive recognition by the Smithsonian Institute. Though Bob Keeshan is no longer with us, his spirit and love of children, will be with us as long as there are children's educational programs.
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