Sunday, August 15, 2010

For those that were too young . . .

. . . or my foreign friends who didn't have the delight as a child of understanding my last post, I thought I'd give a bit of an explanation. Crabby Appleton was a constant in my childhood. Whenever I was sullen or angry, my mom would say, "Don't be a Crabby Appleton." Automatically, this wonderful man and his amazing show would pop into my head and I would have warm fuzzies full of ping pong balls and moose and Green Jeans.

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This is Captain Kangaroo, an American children's show that ran from 1955 to 1984, making it the longest running children's show in television history. Click on the link and you'll hear the theme song that entranced millions of children through out the years.

In the early years, Tom Terrific was a cartoon that was part of the Captain Kangaroo show. Tom Terrific could change shapes into anything to prevent terrible things, like the dates on the calendar changing, from happening.

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Tom Terrific's arch villain was Crabby Appleton, whose nefarious deeds he was always trying to thwart. Crabby Appleton was "rotten to the core" and wanted to make everyone unhappy.

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Bob Keeshan, who played and produced Captain Kangaroo, was in children's television from the advent of television. He played the original Clarabell the Clown on the Howdy Doody show. In developing Captain Kangaroo, he wanted his character to be a warm, grandfatherly person that all children could relate to. From 1955 to 1984, he was. In 1981, Keeshan suffered a severe heart attack and the show was slowly phased out of CBS's children's morning line-up until it's cancellation in 1984. He died in 2004, and is missed by generations of Americans. During his career, he received numerous Emmys, Children's Service Awards, a Peabody Award, The Kennedy Center Honor, was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Alfred College and Dartmouth College.

So there you go. American Pop Culture 101. Take notes, because Captain Kangaroo will Definitely be on the Final Exam.

We miss you, Captain.

13 comments:

Acting Balanced Mom said...

Captain Kangaroo was part of Saturday mornings for me... it came across from the US station to us...
h.

Slipstitches said...

Oh yes, I so loved captain kangaroo throughout the 1970's in the morning that was me parked in front of the TV and in the 80's I had to see my "picture pages" segment of the show featuring Bill Cosby? lol, boy this post sure brightened my day, thanks.

Robin said...

Oh gosh, I loved Captain Kangaroo's show! I don't remember Crabby Appleton, but the other characters sure bring back memories...

Claudia said...

Erin - that was nice and of course i didn't know any of them - watching german television...
But I think it's just amazing how those characters shaped our way of thinking when we were small
The No. 1 hero for my children was sponge bob...

Char said...

i loved him and had the great honor of meeting him a few years before he died. he was the keynote speaker at a function for children's hospital. his speech was so beautiful.

and....he sounded exactly like he did on television (and even made a joke about it)

Dean Spencer said...

Captain Kangaroo, does that bring back memories. I was always tuning into his show. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. :)

Wende said...

I adored Captain Kangaroo. My mom would often let me watch before going to school... and I would just dread the ending because that meant the school bus. For a short while, I could pretend I was in another world that didn't involve kindergarten. :D

Michelle said...

I so grew up watching Captain Kangroo! What a fun post, thanks for the memories!!

Lupie said...

Thank you for this great post. You have put a smile on my face after a stress filled few days.
I use to love the "Today is..." song.

Laurie said...

Thanks for the blast from the past! I loved Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans. I never could get into Mr. Rogers and was a teenager by the time Sesame Street came on, but the Captain ruled!

Michelle said...

ah yes, I remember Captain Kangaroo.
My son and husband had the honor of meeting him in the 80's.
It's so good to reminisce, Thanks for posting!

Sharon said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I loved the Captain, Mr. Green Jeans, Howdy Doody, Clarabelle, and Romper Room and the magic mirror. Of course this dates me.

knitlit kate said...

what a lovely post & blog you have here...total trip down memory lane! after my parents made us go to bed, my brother and i used to yell knock-knock jokes down the hall to each other. invariably the punchline had something to do with ping pong balls. no one but us (and of course, bunny rabbit) would have thought they were funny. thanks for the smile!

p.s. thanks for the link on your blog...much appreciated :)

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