Friday, June 26, 2009

“Play is the work of children. It is very serious stuff.” - Bob Keeshan

The more I learn about Bob Keeshan, the more I like him. Bob Keeshan, of course, is better known as Captain Kangaroo. He would be celebrating his birthday tomorrow, and I thought it would be a fine time to write about him.

We all remember the image of Captain Kangaroo and the Treasure House from television from the 50s through the 80s. Grey haired, mustached older man putting around with Mr. Green Jeans, Lumpy, and the puppets, Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose. But, did you know that he did not permit a studio audience as it interfered with his relationship with the viewer? He truly wanted the child at home to feel he or she was important and he performed for them. Keeshan was a staunch supporter of quality children programming and despised violence portrayed to children. During the Captain Kangaroo years he denied many sponsors if they supported or showed violence in their advertising. I wish more programming today followed his ways and understood that violence is not necessary, more so showing kindness and love. Mr. Keeshan was once quoted as saying, “Violence is part of life, and there is no getting away from it. But there is also gentleness in life, and this is what we have tried to stress on our shows.”

To read more about Mr. Keeshan and children’s television programming, check these items out:

Good morning, Captain : fifty wonderful years with Bob Keeshan, TV's Captain Kangaroo by Keeshan, Robert.

Family fun activity book by Robert Keeshan

Growing up happy : Captain Kangaroo tells yesterday's children how to nurture their own by Robert Keeshan

Into the minds of babes : how screen time affects children from birth to age five
by Lisa Guernsey

The elephant in the living room : make television work for your kids by Alexander Christakis

Television by Jamuna Carroll

Sesame Street and the reform of children's television
by Robert Morrow

Of course, you can check out our databases, I read about Mr. Keeshan in Biography Resource Center + The Complete Marquis Who's Who, one of our fabulous databases

(image from the Life archives)

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