People we love: Bob Keeshan

Robert James “Bob” Keeshan, a.k.a. “Captain Kangaroo”, June 27, 1927 – January 23, 2004

Or, as we remember him, Captain Kangaroo.

Bob Keeshan was born in New York in 1927. During World War II he enlisted in the Marines but was still in the U.S. when Japan surrendered. He attended Fordham University on the GI Bill.

Keeshan began his work in network programming for children as “Clarabell the Clown” on the Howdy Doody show. Later he appeared as Corny the Clown on ABC’s Time for Fun. He also began Tinker’s Workshop a program designed for preschoolers. There he and his long-time friend Jack Miller submitted the concept of Captain Kangaroo to the CBS network.

Captain Kangaroo premiered on October 3, 1955 and continued for nearly 30 years. In 1981 Keeshan suffered a heart attack. Later CBS reworked the show moving it to an earlier time slot. In 1984, just nine months prior to the show’s 30th anniversary, Keeshan left at the end of his contract, tired of CBS’s revisions to the show.

In 1982, 1983 and 1984, Keeshan received Emmy awards for Outstanding Performer. A primetime special in 1985 gave Captain Kangaroo and friends a chance to say goodbye.

Keeshan died on January 23, 2004 at the age of 76.


  1. He taught me how to tie my shoes.

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