Captain Kangaroo

Captain Kangaroo

Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show

The longest running network children’s show of all time, Captain Kangaroo left an indelible mark on the minds and hearts of children during its 30 years on television.

The host was a gentle man whose jacket had large pockets much like a kangaroo. He entertained home viewers from his Treasure House with stories and lessons in morality. Other lessons were provided by Mr. Green Jeans, a farmer who brought animals to the show and taught kids about their habits.

The show featured several other regulars, including the mischievous Mr. Moose, bespectacled Mr. Bunny Rabbit, sleepy Grandfather Clock (who spoke in rhymes), curious Miss Frog, quiet Mr. Whispers and Dennis, the bumbling handyman.

In addition to the live-action and puppet segments, Captain Kangaroo broadcast several Terrytoons animated shorts, including Tom Terrific, the adventures of a boy who could turn himself into anything, and his partner Mighty Manfred the Wonder Dog.

In the 1970's the characters Mr. Baxter and Debby were added to the show. Also at this time, the first ever cartoons from the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare appeared on the show. Titled "The Most Important Person," these shorts taught kids about health and happiness. Later in the decade, the show featured an animated series on dental hygiene called “The Toothbrush Family."

Throughout the years, the Captain had visits from such celebrity guests as Dick Shawn, Imogene Coca, Alan Arkin, Pearl Bailey, Carol Channing, Marlo Thomas, Andy Williams, Doug Henning and Eli Wallach. Beginning in 1980, Bill Cosby became a regular contributor to the program, and the beloved comedian ended up taking over the Captain's duties on one of the show's many popular segments, "Picture Pages."

Originally broadcast live and in black and white on a daily basis, Captain Kangaroo added a sixth day (Saturday) in 1956, lost the sixth day and went to videotape in 1959, and was broadcast in color by the end of the 1960's. Other than that, very little changed on the show. The formula held up for over three decades, and in the end, it was CBS’s pressure to compete with NBC’s The Today Show that doomed Captain Kangaroo. The network kept pushing the the show to an earlier and earlier slot in the morning and demanded shorter broadcast time in order to accommodate an expanded CBS Morning News.

In 1982, the show, which had been fiercely defended by parents and educators alike, was moved to weekends (a new show on Saturday and a repeat on Sunday). Two years later, Captain Kangaroo was off the air permanently.

Bob Keeshan, who played Captain Kangaroo, got his start on children's television playing Clarabell the Clown on Howdy Doody from 1948-52. After Captain Kangaroo, Keeshan hosted CBS Storybreak before being replaced by Malcolm Jamal Warner.

See also: Howdy Doody, CBS Storybreak, Tom Terrific, The Adventures of Lariat Sam, Picture Pages

Release History

10/3/55  - 12/8/84 CBS

TV Sub Categories


TV Studio

Frantel Productions

Television Cast

Captain Kangaroo Bob Keeshan
Mr. Green Jeans Hugh Brannum
Dennis the Handyman Cosmo Allegretti
Mr. Moose Cosmo Allegretti
Mr. Bunny Rabbit Cosmo Allegretti
Grandfather Clock Cosmo Allegretti
Miss Frog Cosmo Allegretti
Mr. Whispers Cosmo Allegretti
Word Bird Cosmo Allegretti
Dancing Bear Cosmo Allegretti
Mr. Baxter Larry Wall
Debby Debby Weems

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