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If you were a child in the 50's, 60's, 70's and even early 80's, you
probably watched Captain Kangaroo. Howdy Doody was king of the very early
days of TV, and Bob Keeshan was a part of that since he portrayed
till 1953. But when he left Howdy and came up with a show of his own, he
managed to surpass Howdy. For the kids of the mid to late 50's and the
60's, "Captain Kangaroo" reached epic proportions in our lives. We were
to the medium of TV and what it could do, and it seems impossible to use
words to describe how wonderful the Captain and the show were. I watched
every morning; when the first strains of his trademark theme song came on,
you saw the door to his world and all the small windows on that door that
opened at random to give you a peek beyond into the Captain's place.
the door itself was opened and the camera took us inside. It was a thrill
that never got old for me. The Captain read stories to us; Mike Mulligan
and his Steam Shovel; Stone Soup; Curious George; and on and on. Mr.
GreenJeans came by with a different animal every show, and those animals
were a source of wonder and laughter to me. They didn't stick to a
but had their own mind and did their own thing. Instead of cutting to
something else, we saw the animal either misbehave, or sit on Mr.
head, or jump over the Captain, or be chased around the set by Mr.
GreenJeans while the Captain laughed. It was a natural and easy going
place. Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit were there in those early days, but as
the show progressed through the 60's and into the 70's, they grew up a
little and became a satirical reflection of the time. Mr. Moose
tricked the Captain, who fell for his jokes every time and usually had a
batch of ping pong balls fall on him. Bunny Rabbit never said a word but
managed to get his point across with perfect accuracy. Grandfather Clock
was always there to complement the ensemble, and later Dennis appeared, a
neighborhood boy who was a handfull. Magic Drawing Board was a source of
consternation and mystery to me when I was very young; how could a drawing
emerge when no one was standing there drawing it? After I grew up a
I knew how it was done, but that didn't negate the effect. The BananaMan
was strange and wierd and wonderful, and each time he showed up the
Captain's place became surreal; we were introduced to someone who was not
he (or she) appeared. The juggler who frantically balanced plates on poles
was another semi-regular. The Captain and his troup would put on silent
skits; my first introduction to pantomime and how effective a tableau
without words can be. As a whole, the Captain's place was where I wanted
live, and each day the Captain gave me and millions of other kids just
Of course, this show could not last forever, but it certainly seemed like it did. Almost 30 years of the original Captain and his place were broadcast. In later years Cosmo Allegretti, the man behind the puppets and Magic Drawing Board, came out of the darkness to protray Dennis and various other characters, and Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum would play every instrument known to man for us as Mr. GreenJeans. He would evolve into a complete character on his own, aiding Mr. Moose and the others in their tricks on the Captain and sometimes figuring in his own stories. Bill Cosby joined the show for a few minutes each day in the late 70's. Special acts and sometimes actual stars showed up; Magic Drawing Board would paint us a picture to a Barbara Streisand song. Special episodes were filmed, the most interesting of these was "The Missing Paint Mystery", about a small island in the Caribbean that has to paint it's houses once a year or risk bad luck, and how the Captain and his crew helped find the paint that had disappeared and saved the day (I would love to have a copy of this if anyone out there has it). The show has been resurrected in the late 90's with a new, younger captain, but no one can ever take the place of Bob Keeshan, and frankly it seems silly to try.
These characters formed a complete family, and we were a part of that because the Captain made it so. I miss the Captain and his show; I wish all the old shows were being rebroadcast on cable somewhere, because I would watch it still. He and his characters occupy a special place in my heart and I would love to thank him for making my childhood a magical place.
Yes, a very gentle show I grew up on. Note: early name of his residence was not "The Captain's place" as previously mentioned but "The Treasure House". Also left out in some early comments was Grandfather Clock, a very bizarre talking... grandfather clock, bestowing wisdom... Bunny Rabbit was a hand puppet, and wore glasses... a number of classic picture books were read, some in pre-filmed packages, most memorably Mike Mulligan's Steam Shovel. The Captain was ingloriously booted off CBS in the mid-80's, doubtless declared an anachronism by some bright young twerp, especially in the era of multi-media Sesame Street. But what a trusted figure; I remember the Thanksgiving day after Kennedy's assassination, he recited parts of what was to be JFK's Thanksgiving address to the nation (he was killed less than a week before). He also was always on hand for those famous Thanksgiving parades in NYC, Detroit and Toronto. And my black and white TV did not reveal whether Mr. Greenjean's jeans were actually green, but I always loved that his real name was Lumpy Brannum, a nature know-it-all who was another great grown up.
The passing of Robert (Bob) Keeshan , is another Hallmark of a distant
memory... The legacy of Captain Kangaroo, cannot be measured in time, but
Love... of the many Children he has touched, with his honesty, and
self-sacrificing humor...There are not enough words that can express, the
heartfelt appreciation, to this Gentle Giant , of the airwaves... He saw
world for what is was, and tried to make it better, by developing a
designed to reach the HEARTS of Children, as well as their minds,
, politically developed programs , miss by a mile..
So go in peace Captain, Know that your touch was not in vain, for you changed the World , more than you can imgine....
As a child growing up in the 1960's, Captain Kangaroo was a children's program, with good moral values. We are going to miss Bob Keeshan, who played him. Not to mention his farmer friend Mr. Greenjeans, played by Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum. They are both deceased. Captain Kangaroo had other characters. Mr. Baxter, Debbie Weems, Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather clock, Magic drawing board, the old time radio and lets not forget Mr. Moose, who always dropped ping pong balls, on the Captain. I wish they would release the fourth of July program on VHS and DVD Captain Kangaroo Americana. Tells the history about our nation. At the end of the program the Captain would say Have a nice day, be good to your Mother. I like the theme Puffin Billy, better than Good Morning Captain. One time he had Pearl Bailey, on his show. Bunny Rabbit kept playing Won't you come home Bill Bailey, so Pearl would give him a carrot. Overall I enjoyed this show as well as Bozo The Clown. You never can be a child again. We need more children's TV shows like this, with moral values.
Captain Kangaroo and I were born in the same year - 1955. I watched him religiously as kid and learned so much from this show. So much I didn't appreciate or realize I was learning until much later. For instance, my love of art I now attribute to the Magic Drawing Board doing his stuff to kids' songs. I also became a great reader, I think, mostly because of the Captain reading books to us kids. "Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel" was always one of my favorites, and I got a copy of it for myself when an anniversary edition was published a few years ago. Bob Keeshan as the Captain was always kind and wonderful, polite and intelligent. As an adult, I can't remember that he ever talked "down" to us kids. With Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit, Dancing Bear, Mr. Greenjeans, Grandfather Clock, the Magic Drawing Board, the Banana Man, and all of those that I'm probably forgetting, the show was truly "awesome" (a word I never use unless I *really* mean it).
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.
If you were a child during the 50's,60's,and 70's,and part of the early
80's there was one show in particular that had children waking up
before going to school at 8:00am to catch the continuing escapades of
the Captain,Mister Moose(my all time favorite),Bunny Rabbit,and of
course good ole Mr. GreenJeans.
What can I say about Captain Kangaroo? I was one of those kids that caught one the episodes before heading off to school and in the process humming the theme song along the way. Arguably,it will be one of the best children shows of all-time and it was one of the best shows ever! By the way,who can remember Mr. Moose playing tricks on the Captain with a batch of ping-pong balls,and Grandfather Clock,and everyone participating with The Dancing Bear,and those short cartoons they used to have....
In the world of what's on TV today that destroys kids' minds and their ideas of creativity,wouldn't be really nice if they brought back the Captain to take us into a magical land where we can relive our fantasies and our wildest dreams to come true.
It would be really nice. Kudos to the father of children's TV for making my childhood a magical place and putting a special place in my heart----Here's to you---Mr. Bob Keeshan!!!! For allowing us and millions of children into your homes each morning!
This was a show that ran for an impressive five decades on television. CBS ran "Captain Kangaroo" from 1955 until 1984. Then the show went into public television from 1984 until 1990,ending an impressive run on children's television. However,after the sudden death of actor Bob Keeshan,they(the producers) decided to bring out a new version of "Captain Kangaroo"(with the same lovable characters and a new actor in the Bob Keeshan who didn't have his heart into it like the original) that was on CBS for one season(on Saturday Mornings),and the next season went into syndication.
When oh when is the complete Captain Kangaroo series going to be
available on DVD? The series spanned nearly 30 years and is a treasure
trove of positive family values programming. Long before Sesame Street
was even a glimmer in Jim Henson's eye, the Captain was entertaining
young children with a world filled with healthy family values,
imagination and creativity.
We are what we eat, what we watch, who we surround ourselves with, and what we aspire to be. Captain Kangaroo is, in my opinion, the finest young children's' television programming EVER to grace the television screen.
Bob Keeshan, a hero of WWII, is my hero as well. Do yourself a favor and introduce a child to the wonderful world of Captain Kangaroo.
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.
Rare in all time is one placed upon this earth who truly makes glad the
heart of childhood. The Captain is most assuredly one of these most
special people. Captain Kangaroo was a dear friend to me growing up.
Captain Kangaroo stayed true to the core convictions of promoting
positive self esteem, placing high value on education and stressing
humane ideals of caring in childhood. Captain Kangaroo lived his lofty
honorable child mental and physical health centered ideals his entire
When networks tried to modernize or update (Bastardize) the honorable core values and morals of the original Captain Kangaroo shows he rightly had the gonad's to tell the people he would have nothing to do with the new mess they were creating. Captain Kangaroo was not just some lame dude doing a children's show. Captain Kangaroo really cared about the young people he spoke to. Captain Kangaroo always behaved as if the children watching his shows were placed directly in his care during the time spent together via Television. Captain Kangaroo's ship was both a ship of state advocating on issues affecting young people and a battleship that fought to protect the hearts and minds of young people from the perverse things this society exposes its children to in the name of generating huge profits. Captain Kangaroo dared stand up for the children and in my heart that gives him the heart of a real captain as such he has my undying respect.
Few people with the possible exception of Mr. Fred Rodgers had a honest respect for children that was the equal of that held by Captain Kangaroo. Captain Kangaroo gave all his children a moral anchor that if used properly insured they would grow up to be fine honorable upstanding people. There really are not enough words to define exactly how much I thank Captain Kangaroo for making my heart glad in childhood so I will just say thank you Captain Kangaroo, Mr Moose, Grandfather Clock, Dancing Bear and Mr Green Jeans and others for being part of my life in the 1960's.
Thank you Captain!
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