Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Captain Kangaroo!

Bob Keeshan was born on this day in 1927. A successful producer and actor, he is best known as the title character of the Emmy Award winning children's television show, Captain Kangaroo. For thirty years, Keeshan entertained baby boomers with an assortment of songs, cartoons, jokes and puppets. His supporting cast included Mr. Green Jeans (actor Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum), Bunny Rabbit (who always managed to trick the Captain into giving him a carrot), Mr. Moose (who's jokes would inevitably lead to a rain of ping pong balls) and Grandfather Clock.

In 1984, tired constant changes to the program's format and recovering from a heart attack, Keeshan left the show months short of it's 30th anniversary. Post-Captain Kangaroo, Keeshan hosted CBS Storybook, wrote his memoirs (Good Morning, Captain) and spent the remaining years of his life as a children's advocate. He died in 2004.

Captain Kangaroo Fun Facts:

Prior to his role of Captain Kangaroo, Keeshan originated the character of Clarabell the Clown on The Howdy Doody Show.

The title of the show's familiar theme song is "Puffin Billy".

One of the show's lesser know character's, Mr. Schwinn Dealer, was a shill for one of the Captain's sponsors, the Schwinn Bicycle Company.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (as Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock) appeared in one episode the show to wish the Captain "good morning".

Another children's television icon, Fred Rogers, visited the Captain in 1975.

While recovering from a heart attack in 1981, Keeshan received over 5000 get well cards from fans (both children and adults).

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