20081024

CAPTAIN KANGAROO - The Ultimate Classic Kiddie Show

I am in the process of writing and illustrating a comic book style graphic novel on growing up as a baby boomer and this week I was writing about growing up as part of the television generation.

We baby boomers were the first generation to be really influenced by this new medium. We watched cartoons and western serials on Saturday mornings and ran home from school to watch the now classic kiddie shows like Howdy Doody and Soupy Sales. Our older siblings were dancing to the tunes on American Bandstand while we were laughing at the antics of White Fang, Black Tooth, Clarabell, Flub-a-dub and Dilly Dally.

I had my favorites that I watched on a regular basis, including Howdy, Soupy, Mighty Mouse, and others, but my favorite by far was Captain Kangaroo. I loved that show and was particularly fond of Mr. Moose, Mr. Green Jeans and Bunny Rabbit. The Treasure House (later renamed The Captain's Place) served as a wonderful fantasy world where animals talked, there was always a carrot in the Captain's giant pockets for Bunny Rabbit (who was always tricking the Captain into handing them over), there was a Magic Drawing Board, and Mr. Moose's knock knock jokes always brought down a rain of ping pong balls on the Captain's Head!

The original Captain Kangaroo show ran from 1955 to 1984 on CBS, starting out in black and white (my era) and turning to color in 1968. The first four years - my viewing years - the show was live. For the first three months Captain Kangaroo aired only on weekday mornings, after that it aired on Saturday mornings as well. Hugh Brannum was Mr. Green Jeans, Cosmo Allegretti was the voice/actor of Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose, Dancing Bear, Grandfather Clock and of course, Bob Keeshan was Captain Kangaroo.



Some fun trivia about Captain Kangaroo:
Those giant pockets on Captain Kangaroo's suit were the basis for his name - Kangaroo!
Bob Keeshan (The Captain) was the original Clarabelle the Clown on Howdy Doody!
The first show premiered October 3, 1955 - the same day as The Mickey Mouse Club!

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7 comments:

  1. Actually, one of your favorite shows has special meaning for me. Howdy Doody and I were born on the exact same day! And we both turned 60 this year wearing the same frozen grin and glassy-eyed expression!

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  2. I was a Captain Kangaroo fan as well. It's interesting how television shaped our opinions and images of who were were back then.

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  3. Eileen - LOL at frozen grin and glassy eyes! Wow Howdy Doody is 60!!! I can't imagine that puppet with wrinkles and gray hair instead of red!

    Beverly - Yes, we grew up in more innocence than children now. Remember twin beds in the bedrooms of the parents on family shows back in the 50s? No wonder we all thought we came from the stork!

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  4. I loved these shows, too, along with The Little Rascals, Fury, Dale Evans & Roy Rogers, the list goes on and on. When you think about it, what a blessed generationw we were to have seen TV for the first time, and usher in Rock n' Roll, too.

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  5. Pam - yes, we were lucky in many ways. Though we didn't have the fancy toys that kids have now I think, somehow, we had a richer adolescence in many ways.

    We had many years of childhood, now it seems kids are forced to grow up too fast.

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  6. I remember Captain Kangaroo do you remember Shari Lewis and Lambchop? Back in the day Lambchop was just a sock puppet.....she was around for a long time My children loved Lambchop and even my Grandchildren loved her. Some things are just timeless I guess.

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  7. ARLENE - Yuppers, I am old enough to remember Lamb Chop as a sock puppet!! I also remember Miss Maryanne on Romper Room, remember Romper Room and the Magic Mirror?

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