Captain Kangaroo

Welcome to this Captain Kangaroo tribute page at www.captainkangaroo.org.

Bob Keeshan as the Captain The Captain's real name was Bob Keeshan. He was born June 27, 1927 in New York City, and passed away January 23, 2004 in Vermont. He was the first Clarabell the Clown on the Howdy Doody Show. While Captain Kangaroo's show (first called the Treasure House and then the Captain's Place) ran for almost 30 years, Bob Keeshan appeared on many other shows. The Captain's TV show premiered October 3, 1955, the same day as the Mickey Mouse Club show. We remember the magic drawing board that kept us guessing until the picture was almost finished. We remember it raining ping pong balls with Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose laughing nearby. We remember Town Clown and Grandfather Clock and Dancing Bear. But we just don't remember any potty humor.

The part of Mr. Green Jeans was played by Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum. Lumpy was born in Sandwich, Illinois on January 5, 1910 and died in Sailorsburg, Pennsylvania on April 19, 1987. He was a musician and storyteller, and contrary to rumor was not related to musician Frank Zappa.

The theme song was taken from a recording of "Puffin' Billy", a short piece composed by Edward White that had been used as theme music for a BBC radio program in Britain. A recording happened to be in the CBS library when the Captain went looking for a theme. A "Puffing Billy" is an early style steam locomotive, and the music was written for such a locomotive seen on the Isle of Wight. Olson Computers provided a MIDI file and Gerry Marshall provided an MP3 of the original BBC recording. Javascript required.

In 1999, Karen Herman interviewed Bob Keeshan for over three hours, now in 7 video segments. These touch on Bob Keeshan's life and career and were produced by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation ... 1 - Growing up, military service, Fordham U ... 2 - TV is born, Bob develops Clarabell ... 3 - Clarabell and Howdy Doody details ... 4 - Bob leaves Howdy Doody, joins Time for Fun, creates Tinker's Workshop ... 5 - Origins of Captain Kangaroo ... 6 - Lots of C.K. details. Advent of color TV ... 7 - Mr. Mayor. PBS. Bob's opinions - lots of good TV, but not enough for kids.

We can't speak for The Captain, but it's appropriate to remember him in these ways: Put your kids on your lap and read to them. (Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel would be a good one!) Watching television isn't all bad, as The Captain proved! But I think it was The Captain who encouraged moderation in all things. (Well, no, that was Ben Franklin, but he was a good guy, too.) Also, Support your kids' school activities and teachers.

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Contact Gary the webmaster. I am not aware of commercially available recordings of the original TV shows. I enjoy emails from readers, but I just don't have the material. There are some kids' song recordings for sale at the usual internet music sites. There are a few interesting videos on YouTube (search for Captain Kangaroo).

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