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Captain Kangaroo - A Children's Television Show

Updated on September 29, 2015
ThelmaC profile image

Thelma Raker Coffone is an award winning writer who enjoys writing on a variety of topics. She is working on her first fiction novel.

Captain Kangaroo and Bunny Rabbit puppet
Captain Kangaroo and Bunny Rabbit puppet | Source

Captain Kangaroo - Favorite Children's TV Show for 30 Years

If you were a child between 1955 and 1984, you more than likely watched Captain Kangaroo on morning television. For 30 years, generations of youngsters across America woke up on school days and were entertained by the "Captain" and his friends while getting ready to head out the door to school.

Captain Kangaroo and Friends

The star of the show was the character Captain Kangaroo, the grandfatherly gentleman named after the big pockets in his jacket. Played by Bob Keeshan, children and adults alike adored the jolly man. His sidekick was Mister Green Jeans, appropriately dressed in overalls and a farmers hat, portrayed by Hugh Brannum. Watchers loved the puppets and their silly antics, especially Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose and there was even a talking grandfather clock! Bill Cosby and Dr. Joyce Brothers both had recurring roles portraying themselves.

The list of guest stars appearing on Captain Kangaroo reads like a "who's who" list of performers from the time period. Celebrities such as Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, Lorne Greene, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in their Star Trek costumes, Pearl Bailey, Andy Williams and even Dolly Parton were visitors to the set.

Did You Watch Captain Kangaroo as a Child?

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Many Changes in Captain Kangaroo Show

CBS executives evidently weren't aware of the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" After many successful years, the network changed much of the format of the show such as changing the name of the Captain's house from the Treasure House to the Captain's Place. The theme song was changed a few times and even the color of Captain Kangaroo's jacket with the big pockets was changed from blue to red. The time slot for the program was changed several times, even airing it as early as 6:30 am. When the length of the show was decreased to a half hour, Bob Keeshan had enough. It was a slap in the face for the three time Emmy award winner. Keeshan refused to renew his contract when it expired in 1984 and CBS cancelled the show.

Bob Keeshan Before He Became Captain Kangaroo

As early as 1945, Bob Keeshan had a claim to fame in the area of children's television programming. One of the earliest programs aimed at younger viewers was the Howdy Doody Show on NBC. Keeshan played the popular character, Clarabell the Clown.

Life After Captain Kangaroo for Bob Keeshan

Keeshan moved to Norwich, Vermont and spent the rest of his years doing what he did best ... working for the well being of children. He was a strong advocate against video game violence. He worked with parent groups that were protesting the violent nature of some of the cartoons of the time. Keeshan received an honorary doctorate degree from Middlebury College for his work surrounding children's literacy.

He passed away in 2004 at the age of 76. But not before writing several children's books as well as his memoirs, Good Morning, Captain.

In keeping with his persona as a kindly and lovable grandfather, he would normally end his Captain Kangaroo programs by encouraging parents to spend quality time with their children each day. Millions of adults today remember fondly the quality time they enjoyed each morning with the Captain.

Did You Know ...

Bob Keeshan was only 28 years old when the show first aired in 1955. He had to be heavily made up to appear as the grandfatherly Captain Kangaroo!

Captain Kangaroo reading from "Treasure Island" while Mr. Green Jeans looks on
Captain Kangaroo reading from "Treasure Island" while Mr. Green Jeans looks on | Source

© 2015 Thelma Raker Coffone

Please Share Your Memories of Watching Captain Kangaroo

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    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 2 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Thank you to my new follower, Mel Carriere

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      I grew up watching this show. Fascinating facts on the Captain and his crew. Great hub.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 2 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      drbj thanks for the nice deja vu comment and for taking the time to read my article. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 2 years ago from south Florida

      I was too old for Captain Kangaroo and Green Jeans but I loved the way he kept my kids entertained with his show. Thanks, m'dear, for the well-done deja vu.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 2 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Patty I miss the characters also. I grew up watching the show and it meant a lot more than just funny characters ... I learned a lot of from the Captain!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 2 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I miss Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose as well as the theme song Puffin' Billy. Whenever I hear it, I am lifted up for at least a week!

      We don't have anyone like the characters in the Treasure House now, but the Captain liked Pee-wee Herman and his Play House and coincidentally, so did I. When I see Pee-wee Herman, I think of the Captain. I saw Pee-wee host the Tonight Show in character and he was awesome!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This brings back memories. I didn't know he started so young -- as a 28 year old!? He really grew into his role.