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RIP, Captain Kangaroo

Bob Keeshan, aka Captain Kangaroo, has passed away at the age of 76.

Keeshan, who lived in Hartford, Vt., died of a long illness, his family said in a statement.

Keeshan’s “Captain Kangaroo” premiered on CBS in 1955 and ran for 30 years before moving to public television for six more. It was wildly popular among children and won six Emmy Awards, three Gabriels and three Peabody Awards.

The format was simple: Each day, Captain Kangaroo, with his sugar-bowl haircut and uniform coat, would wander through his Treasure House, chatting with his good friend Mr. Green Jeans, played by Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum.

He would visit with puppet animals, like Bunny Rabbit, who was scolded for eating too many carrots, and Mr. Moose, who loved to tell knock-knock jokes.

But the show revolved about the grandfatherly Captain Kangaroo, whose name was inspired by the kangaroo pouch-like pockets of the coat Keeshan wore.

“I was impressed with the potential positive relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, so I chose an elderly character,” Keeshan said.

In a statement issued by his son Michael, Keeshan’s family said: “Our father, grandfather and friend was as passionate for his family as he was for America’s children. He was largely a private man living an often public life as an advocate for all that our nation’s children deserve.”

Rest in peace, Captain Kangaroo.

UPDATE: Avedon is correct – the obit you really need to read comes from Mark Evanier.

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  1. Mike Thomas says:

    I wrote a column a few years ago about the good Captain’s unfortunate removal by CBS which I have posted here.
    Children’s televsion programming has never been the same since then.

  2. Beldar says:

    Scores of ping-pong balls should fall from the sky at his funeral!

    RIP indeed, gentle Captain.