Captain Kangaroo – the children’s TV show you forgot about…

It’s morning in America, and you turn on the TV. Today, the mornings are populated with a plethora of news and talk shows. But just imagine a time when, at 8:00 every weekday morning, there was an hour-long children’s show. With a genial host. And cute puppets. And entertaining and informative short segments.

Welcome to the world of Captain Kangaroo.

The good captain, who was nicknamed “Kangaroo” because of the large pockets on his coat, would take kids through a gentle hour of comedy and entertainment. He would do this alongside his good friend Mr. Green Jeans (a farmer-like character), a talking grandfather clock, a dancing bear, and sidekick puppets Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit.

This show was extremely popular. Think about this. Cable television wasn’t as prevalent in the 1960’s or 1970’s as it is today, so this was considered true children’s entertainment at the time. Right on a broadcast network.

Now, as a kid, there were usually two things I expected from a Captain Kangaroo episode. I would expect Bunny Rabbit to filch the Captain’s stash of carrots, which was almost inevitable. And then I also expected Mr. Moose to drop about 500 ping pong balls on the Captain’s head. Never fails.

Heck, by the late 1970’s, the Captain Kangaroo show even had an intro that featured various people – including stars from various TV shows – wishing the Captain a good morning.

The show lasted into the early 1980’s, and here’s a complete episode from that time.

However, eventually the show was rescheduled for earlier and earlier time periods, to make room for CBS to add a full-length morning news program. At one point in time, the show was trimmed down to a half an hour, and scheduled so early in the morning that nobody could find it. Ugh.

Eventually the show was repurposed for a syndicated audience, with a new actor playing the good Captain, and this reboot was … well … painful.

No. Just, no.

See, it’s TV shows like this that I miss today. I wish there was an opportunity to have good quality children’s television on a major network, instead of it being shuffled off to some pay cable channel or the like.

But, at least, for the time period that we have, I’m glad we still had several decades of the good Captain and Mr. Green Jeans and Dancing Bear and Grandfather Clock and Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit and all the rest.

Okay, now I’m REALLY feeling old. 😀