October 03, 2014

Captain Kangaroo Day!

Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo
Today is Captain Kangaroo Day! If your age is at the half-century or more demarcation, you most likely remember this popular children’s TV show. For the younger folks, let me bring you up to date.  The show aired weekday mornings on CBS for almost 30 years, from October 3, 1955 until December 8, 1984, making it the longest-running nationally broadcast children's television program of its day.
The show was conceived and the title character played by actor Bob Keeshan, who based the show on "the warm relationship between grandparents and children." The “kangaroo” part of his name came from the oversized pockets on his ever-present large coat.
When I was a child, getting to watch Captain Kangaroo was a treat.  We weren’t a TV family so on the rare occasions I saw this show, it was very memorable. My favorite characters were Mr. Green Jeans, Grandfather Clock and the Dancing Bear. And my favorite cartoon character from the show was Tom Terrific, a funnel-capped shape-shifting boy. Magic indeed!
What I remember enjoying the most was when Captain Kangaroo would read a book to “me”.  The book was positioned so it filled the entire TV screen. I was enchanted and mesmerized from the book cover to the last story page. It was the Captain who brought me such classics as Curious George, Make Way For Ducklings, Stone Soup, Caps for Sale and Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.  Who knew then that I would grow up to be a “book sharer” myself and read those very same books to little ones, some fifty years later?! Thank you, Captain for helping head me down the book-loving path!

Kathleen Ahern
Children's Librarian

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