Good Morning Captain

As I’ve mentioned before, I try to avoid politics and other controversies here except when I don’t. Which is pretty much how most of my personal rules work. When I make an exception, it’s likely when something or someone has pushed me past worrying about the fallout, said fallout almost never materializing, but that’s my issue.

Obscurity has its advantages.

Nevertheless, one such incident arose recently when I was forced to defend one of my childhood heroes, one I’m guessing most people here have either never heard of or never experienced directly. I’m talking about Bob Keeshan aka “Captain Kangaroo.”

The TV show of the same name (mostly, there were slight variations) ran for almost thirty years, from 1955 to 1984. It was a kid’s show with puppets, animation, and sketch comedy. Gentle humor, mostly, though Bunny Rabbit did have a habit of dropping buckets of ping-poll balls on the Captain at the slightest provocation. Or for no apparent reason.

Anyway, recently someone too young to know better posted a picture of Keeshan in his Captain Kangaroo persona with a caption something like “This is the character they allowed to influence children?”

Yes, it’s a little jarring in a more modern context. Yes, It was a more innocent time. Not quite so world-weary or cynical as now. Had its own issues, heaven knows, but not others. I couldn’t let it pass.

“Let’s see… decades in television without a hint of scandal, close friend of Mr. Fred Rogers?

Yeah. We could do worse.”

Forgot to add: ex-marine, several honorary doctorates, five Emmys, three Peabodys, a National Education Award, and inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Oh, and his original Captain costume on display at the Smithsonian.

Yeah, we really could do worse.