Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Captain Kangaroo

I was sad to hear this week of the death of Bob Keeshan, better known as "Captain Kangaroo." His program was a significant part of my childhood, partly since in the early years we only got one channel, which was the CBS affiliate. It wasn't that CK was thrilling, rather, as I gather Keeshan intended, gentle and comforting. It was always a friendly and reliable program: you could depend on seeing Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit plotting their transparent schemes, Mr. Green Jeans and his animals, grandfather Clock, and an assortment of other characters. Appearances of "Fred on Channel One," or "Tom Terrific" (with "Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog")were special occasions. In these debased times, it's rare to see a public figure of whom no one has an ill word to say. Like his good friend, Fred (Mr.) Rogers, Keeshan's goal in life was to make the world a better place for children, and to prepare children to make the world a better place.

As a reminisence, I recommend his book, "Good Morning, Captain." Besides jogging memory, I was croggled by the sheer number of characters portrayed by Keeshan, Hugh Brannum (Mr. Green Jeans) and the show's single puppeteer, who did all the hand puppets and Grandfather Clock, plus was Dancing Bear, Fred, the Magic Drawing Board, and showed his own face as "Dennis the Apprentice." I was also surprised by the number of celebreties ranging from classical actors and musicians to Elvis, who appeared on the show. (But who was the Bananna Man?)
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