The Captain - Bob Keeshan What was your favorite television show as a child? For many people, the answer is Captain Kangaroo. So today let's take a look at Bob Keeshan, better known as Captain Kangaroo: first, by explaining the reason for his show's longevity; secondly, by recognizing some of his many achievements; and finally, by examining his ongoing efforts to educate parents.
No other television series has stood the test of time as well as Captain Kangaroo. According to Education Digest, May 1997, the show spanned five decades, nine U.S. Presidents, and over 200 million viewers. Captain Kangaroo wasn't at all slick or glitzy like today's children's shows, but it still managed to last nearly 40 years, and the Captain is still popular. Mr. Keeshan accredits his show's success to his honesty with the audience. Even though most of his audience was under the age of six, he respected them and treated them as intelligent human beings.
While most programming for children today is designed to sell product, Captain Kangaroo promoted self-esteem, nonviolence, values, and standards.
Captain Kangaroo was just one of Bob Keeshan's many accomplishments. According to the Vermont Business Magazine, February 2001, he has won six Emmy Awards, three Gabriels, and two Peabody, among other awards, and 17 honorary degrees. In 1997 he co-founded Corporate Family Solutions of Nashville. Now called Bright Horizons, the company provides quality day care to the children of employees of companies throughout the United States. Since 1984 he's directed the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse. This Committee educates the public about abuse, and has passed legislation in every state requiring professionals such as physicians and teachers to report suspected cases of child abuse.
At 75 years old Bob Keeshan is still hard at work. According to the New York Times, June 14, 1995, he travels most of the year, testifying before Congress, appearing at benefits as the Captain, and lecturing on children's issues. Mr. Keeshan has also written a series of books aimed at encouraging families to spend time together. The Captain sees himself as the child's defender, advocating children's' freedom to develop as individuals. Both his books and his lectures help to spread this idea.
So if Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo had a fight, who would win? In the New York Times, June 14, 1995, Mr. Keeshan said "If we ever do have a difference we wouldn't settle it with our fists. We'd use our words." That's just the type of response you would expect from a great man with great values like the Captain.