In the annals of televison, few children's programs ever made as much impact as this show. Hosted by Robert Keeshan (at one time, he played Howdy Doody's friend, Clarabell) from the appropriately-named Captain's Place, the Captain was so named because he always wore an overcoat with large, kangaroo-like pouches. Each show featured stories, skits, vaudeville acts, songs, games, and other educational activities. Captain Kangaroo's friends were Mr. Green Jeans (who always brought an animal to the show); Dennis, an apprentice handyman and do-it-all person; and Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit. Bunny was always mute, but made his point ever-so-cleverly, while Mr. Moose always tricked the Captain into allowing him to stand under a shower of pingpong balls. As the show got on in years, new features were added, including Uncle Backwards (a tape of some simple action, such as peeling an orange or building a doghouse, shown in reverse); "Picture Pages", a matching activity hosted by Bill Cosby; and ...Written by
Brian Rathjen <email@example.com>
Good news for parents! (and for children) Starting tomorrow at 8, CBS Television presents the gentlest children's show on the air as the kindly Captain Kangaroo recreates the private wonderland of childhood in his Treasure House. It is a "live" and enthralling hour-long program.
One of the show's long-running gags was the "Ping-Pong Ball Drop", instigated by the telling of a joke (usually a knock-knock joke) by Mr. Moose, in which the punchline included the words "ping-pong balls". At the mention of those three words, a shower of ping-pong balls was released from above on the Captain. See more »
When the series was cancelled from CBS in 1984, the show found a new home on Public Television. From September, 1986 to November, 1992, 65 episodes from the 70's and 80's of the show played on PBS in severely altered re-runs. Altered in the sense that everything except the running storyline of the episode was cut, resulting in the running time dropping from one hour to 12 to 17 minutes. To fill the running time, elements from the 1981-1982 "Wake up" version (none of which were made into PBS versions), and other late episodes, such as Bill Cosby's "Picture Pages" segments, and scenes with Kevin Clash's troupe of puppets, making each episode around 28 minutes on PBS. These versions also featured a new theme song (the much more upbeat "Here Comes Captain Kangaroo!" theme replaced the CBS "Good Morning, Captain" opening) and opening credit segment, showing clips from the series rather than the previous, partly animated opening. One of the many hour-long videos released in 1984-1986 (when the show was between homes) was "Captain Kangaroo and His Friends". This tape featured PBS-like versions of the episodes featuring Joan Rivers, Phil Donahue, and Dolly Parton, as well as scenes with Town Clown and the Bananna Man. New intro's with the Captain were also inserted. Reportedly, this has been aired as a special on PBS during pledge drives while the show was on the air. See more »
Some of my earliest memories of television are watching Captain Kangaroo. It was entertaining and educational. The thing is, the talents of Bob Keeshan made it work. You learned without knowing you were being taught. And they were practical lessons. Things like self esteem, respect, and dedication. All rolled up in a children's format in ways they could understand. It was a pioneer in children's programming that would effect other educational shows for decades to come. I started watching when I was a child, and grew up to see my children discover "The Captain" and watched it with them. If you look at later children's programs like Sesame Street, you can clearly see the influence of the Captain Kangaroo show. It is a program that had enough of an influence to receive recognition by the Smithsonian Institute. Though Bob Keeshan is no longer with us, his spirit and love of children, will be with us as long as there are children's educational programs.
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