Captain Kangaroo Hasn't Lost Any Bounce in More Than 40 Years

By , Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

For nearly 40 years, Bob Keeshan entertained children every weekday morning as one of TV's most beloved characters: Captain Kangaroo. Mr. Keeshan created the long-running television show for CBS in 1955.

After CBS canceled the popular program to start its morning news program in 1987, "Captain Kangaroo" moved to public television. And in 1993, after nearly 10,000, the longest-running children's show went off the air.

Several generations of children and parents fondly recall the Captain and his Treasure House friends.

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There was Mister Moose with his shower of ping-pong balls; Dancing Bear with his goofy soft-shoe routines; and, of course, animal-loving sidekick Mr. Green Jeans. Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum, the one and only Mr. Green Jeans, died in 1987.

When the show debuted, Keeshan was a twenty-something actor who donned a Dutch-boy wig, walrus mustache, and padding for every performance. Through the decades, he matured naturally into the part of the grandfatherly Captain Kangaroo.

Since hanging up the Captain's distinctive red jacket with the oversized pockets, Keeshan has stepped into the role of child advocate and author.

He gives about 30 speeches a year before groups of all kinds and has testified before Congress on the effects of TV on children.

Keeshan hopes to bring the Captain back to life on television, but he sold the rights to the character back in the 1960s.

Negotiations are in process for an updated version of the classic program.

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