If You Remember This Man, You Probably Had An Awesome Childhood!
My earliest memories of children’s TV programming was Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo!
The Captain, Mr. Greenjeans, Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose and Dancing Bear, were all regular characters that kids could enjoy and learn moral lessons.
Captain Kangaroo is an American children’s television series which aired weekday mornings on the American television networkCBS for nearly 30 years, from October 3, 1955 until December 8, 1984, making it the longest-running nationally broadcast children’s television program of its day. In 1986, the American Program Service (nowAmerican Public Television, Boston) integrated some newly produced segments into reruns of past episodes, distributing the newer version of the series until 1993.
The show was conceived and the title character played by Bob Keeshan, who based the show on “the warm relationship between grandparents and children.” Keeshan had portrayed the original Clarabell the Clown on TheHowdy Doody Show when it aired on NBC. Captain Kangaroo had a loose structure, built around life in the “Treasure House” where the Captain (the name “kangaroo” came from the big pockets in his coat) would tell stories, meet guests, and indulge in silly stunts with regular characters, both humans and puppets.
The show was telecast live to the East Coast and the Midwest for its first four years and broadcast on kinescope for the West Coast, as Keeshan would not perform the show live three times a day, and was in black-and-white until 1966. The May 17, 1971 episode saw two major changes on the show: The Treasure House was renovated and renamed “The Captain’s Place” and the Captain replaced his black coat with a red coat. In September 1981, CBS shortened the hour-long show to a half-hour, briefly retitled it Wake Up with the Captain, and moved it to an earlier time slot; it was later moved to weekends in September 1982, and returned to an hour-long format. It was canceled by CBS at the end of 1984.
In the early years of the series, Keeshan wore make-up in order to look suitably old for the character, but the show ran for so long that by the end, he was wearing make-up to look younger. – Wikipedia
If you had these characters with you growing up, you were fortunate indeed. Bob Keeshan was a veteran who served as a Marine during WWII bur enlisted to late to see any service apart from the States.
Keeshan received many awards, including:
- Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Alfred University, 1969
- Five Emmy Awards (1978, 1981–1984)
- Three Peabody Awards (1958, 1972, 1979)
- National Education Award, 1982
- Induction into the clown hall of fame, 1990
- American Medical Association Distinguished Service Award, 1991
- Induction into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, 1998
His manner and personality always made the kids feel like they were with a trusted friend and mentor. The only other man to come close was decorated war veteran, Mr. Fred Rogers.
So, if these people formed your childhood, you probably turned out ok.
Watch this clip from the Captain Kangaroo Show:
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