Flash! Bob Keeshan reported dead

Flash! Bob Keeshan reported dead

It’s been a sad time for TV-watching Baby Boomers recently.

Not only did we lose Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver) and Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham), we no longer have Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo).

From 1955 to 1984, Captain Kangaroo was a warm and wise (if somewhat bumbling) part of morning TV for kids.  Compared to Sesame Street, the show was glacially paced.  But that was part of the charm…the show was mellow. 

Yes, there were some cartoons…some of you will remember Tom Terrific, who could change shape, and Mighty Manfred (the slow-talking Wonder Dog).

There were puppet characters, even mischievous ones…but the fastest moving things on the show were the ping pong balls that would rain on to the Captain after one of Mr. Moose’s silly jokes.

He read us stories…Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Curious George…picture books.

I remember Bunny Rabbit, and Mr. Green Jeans, and Grandfather Clock.

While Bob Keeshan would return to the character of Captain Kangaroo over the years (including an appearance on Murphy Brown), it wasn’t his first role on an iconic kids’ TV show.  For years, he was Clarabelle the Clown on the Howdy Doody show.  As Clarabelle, he never spoke…until the very last episode of the show, when he said two words: “Good-bye, kids.”

Good-bye, Bob…and thank you for giving the nation a happier childhood.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle.

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