I am so sad -- this is my first hero.
Bob Keeshan, 'Captain Kangaroo', dies at age 76
CTV.ca News Staff
Bob Keeshan, the friendly face of Captain Kangaroo, has died at the age of 76. He died in Vermont, where he lived.
The man with the bushy mustache and big pockets was a hit with children for 30 years as Captain Kangaroo. He produced and acted in the show, which ran from 1955 to 1985.
Upon his retirement, he became a lobbyist on behalf of children's issues and favoured tighter controls on the tobacco industry.
Keeshan was born on Long Island, N.Y., on June 27, 1927. He served as a marine in World War II, and had planned to become a lawyer. But after the war, he worked at NBC as an assistant to radio personality Bob Smith.
Smith had a radio program for adults at night and children during the day. With the advent of television, he was asked to adopt his children's program to TV, Puppet Playhouse, and Keeshan followed along.
The show was later renamed after the main character, Howdy Doody, which is where Keeshan began his on-screen career as Clarabell Hornblower, a silent clown. The show ran from 1947 to 1952.
Keeshan also appeared as Corny the Clown from 1953 to 1955, and Tinker the Toymaker from 1954 to 55 before starring in Captain Kangaroo.
He married in 1950 and had three children.