View Full Version : 'Captain Kangaroo,' Bob Keeshan, Dies at Age 76

lucky wilbury
01-23-2004, 02:36 PM

'Captain Kangaroo,' Bob Keeshan, Dies at Age 76

(New York-WABC, January 23, 2004) Bob Keeshan, the television producer who created and ultimately became beloved children's personality Captain Kangaroo, has died. Keeshan, who was born in Lynbrook, Long Island, was 76.

Keeshan began his career by creating the character of Clarabell the Clown for the 'Howdy Doody Show.' He used that children's show experience to mold Captain Kangaroo, winning over generations of children and their parents through innovative approaches to interesting topics.

As the easy-going Captain with his big pockets and his bushy mustache, Keeshan lured children into close engagement with literature, science and especially music, adopting an approach which mixed pleasure and pedagogy.

Keeshan's approach represented a rejection of pressures towards the increased commercialization of children's programming as well as a toning-down of the high volume, slapstick style associated with earlier kid show hosts.

Keeshan was working as a receptionist at NBC-Radio's Manhattan office when Bob Smith started offering him small acting parts on his NBC-TV show, 'Triple B Ranch,' and then subsequently hired him as a special assistant for 'The Howdy Doody Show.'

Though Keeshan's initial responsibilities involved supervising props and talking to the children who were to be program guests, he was soon pulled on camera, bringing out prizes.

After appearing in clown garb on one episode to immense response, he took on the regular role of Clarabell, the mute clown who communicated by honking a horn.

Leaving the series in 1952, he played a succession of other clown characters, such as Corny, the host of WABC-TV's 'Time For Fun,' a noontime cartoon program, where he exerted pressure to remove from airplay cartoons he felt were too violent or perpetuated racial stereotyping.

While at WABC-TV, he played an Alpine toymaker on 'Tinker's Workshop,' an early morning program which served as the prototype for Captain Kangaroo.

The CBS network was searching for innovative new approaches to children's programming and approved the Kangaroo series submitted by Keeshan and long-time friend Jack Miller.

The series first aired in October 1955 and continued until 1985, making it the longest running children's series in network history. Keeshan not only vividly embodied the Captain, the friendly host of the Treasure House, but also played a central creative role on the daily series, supervising and actively contributing to the scripts and insuring the program's conformity to his conceptions of appropriate children's entertainment.

Wayne L.
01-23-2004, 02:51 PM
I grew up watching Captain Kangaroo during the late 60's/early 70's so it's a sad day for generations of kids who grew up watching him with the death of Bob Keeshan.

01-23-2004, 07:39 PM
Remember the fuckin hail of ping pong balls that rained on that rabbit??

01-23-2004, 07:46 PM
RIP Cap, but I didn't even know he was still alive!!

01-23-2004, 08:16 PM
I thought he ws a lot older than 76.

Sweet Irony
01-23-2004, 08:57 PM
Originally posted by Igosplut
Remember the fuckin hail of ping pong balls that rained on that rabbit??

HA! Didnt that have something to do with Mr Moose??


01-24-2004, 01:22 AM

01-24-2004, 02:12 AM
Sad day, Captain Kangaroo was probably the last innocent thing to watch on TV.