Captain Kangaroo

The cast of Captain Kangaroo - Dancing Bear, Bunny Rabbit, Captain Kangaroo, Grandfather Clock, Mister Moose, and Mister Green Jeans
Captain Kangaroo Colorforms Toy, 1960

Weekday mornings were not complete for American kids unless Captain Kangaroo aired. This American TV series for kids aired from October 3, 1955, to December 8, 1984, on CBS. It is known to be the longest-running children’s TV program for kids of its time. Now known as American Public Television, Boston, the American Program Service started to incorporate some new segments into some of the program’s reruns in 1986. This enabled PBS to air an updated version of the show until 1993.

Bob Keeshan played the title role. The theme of the show was the tender relationship between children and their grandparents. Captain Kangaroo was about a captain performing stunts with other characters, telling stories, and meeting guests in his Treasure House. His guests were both puppets and humans. Keeshan portrayed Captain Kangaroo for at least 9,000 times during the show’s almost 30-year run.

There were significant changes made on May 17, 1971. The show’s Treasure House was improved and then renamed as The Captain’s Place. During this time, Captain Kangaroo also removed his navy blue coat and started to wear a red one. When September 1981 came, CBS deducted the airtime to half an hour, instead of continuing with the hour-long broadcast. The company also moved it to an earlier airing schedule and retitled the program to Wake Up with the Captain. The show was also changed into a weekend show in September of 1982, returning to its one-hour airtime.

Captain Kangaroo’s format was not strict. Other segments of it changed except for the part where Captain Kangaroo interacted with guests, puppets, and other members of his community in the Captain’s Place. The viewers didn’t really know what would happen next. The dynamism of the show kept viewers hooked, making Captain Kangaroo a well-loved part of their youth.

Captain Kangaroo Opening Theme, 1960s

Interview with Captain Kangaroo (CBS)

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