Bob Keeshan

Bob Keeshan


6/27/1927, Lynbrook,Long Island New York



Birth Name

Robert James Keeshan


out of 10
User Rating
8 votes


Television producer, host; born Robert James Keeshan in Lynbrook, Long Island, New York on June 27, 1927. As a young man he served in the reserves of the United States Marine Corps. Starting as a page at the National Broadcasting Company, Robert Keeshan later began his on-air career…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • In 1991 he received the Distinguished Service Award from The American Medical Association.

    • His memoirs, entitled Good Morning, Captain, were published in 1995.

    • Keeshan had high standards for his programming. In a time when advertisers wielded heavy influence, Keeshan stood fast against any ads which he felt were inappropriate for children.

    • It is an urban legend that actor Lee Marvin fought alongside Bob Keeshan in Iwo Jima.

    • The 1970's saw many changes to Keeshan's Captain Kangaroo. The programming became much more fast-paced to reflect the shorter attention spans of children.

    • He was married forty years to Anne Jeanne Laurie, until her death in 1990.

    • Bob Keeshan turned down an offer to become Captain Kangaroo again on a revised version of the show in 1995.

    • Keeshan has two daughters, Laurie and Mave, and a son named Michael.

    • Britton Keeshan, Bob's grandson, posed atop Mt. Everest with photos of his famous grandfather, whom he credited as the source of his inspiration.

    • His grandson, Britton Keeshan, became the youngest person ever to scale The Seven Summits in May 2004.

    • Bob Keeshan appeared as Captain Kangaroo for a Schwinn bicycle advertisement.

    • Keeshan served in the United States Marine Corps.

    • He was made Honorary Fellow at The American Academy of Pediatrics.

    • Keeshan won the Emmy Award five times.

    • In 1980 Keeshan was awarded "TV Father of the Year."

    • Unlike most other children's programming, Keeshan did not include children as part of his regular cast.

    • He believed that the easiest and fastest way children learned was to make education delightful.

    • Keeshan's approach to television embodied a rejection of pressures towards the increased commercialization of children's programming as well as a toning-down of the high volume, slapstick style associated with earlier kid show hosts.

    • Much of the slapstick humor and pie-in-the-face antics of The Howdy Doody Show Keeshan actually loathed.

    • Bob Keeshan was a sharp critic of much of contemporary children's television programming.

    • Upon his retirement, Keeshan became an active lobbyist on behalf of children's issues and worked in favor of tighter controls over the tobacco industry.

    • Keeshan did not use studio audiences when filming, as he did not want anything to come between him and the children in his television audience.

    • He exerted pressure on one station for which he worked to remove from airplay cartoons he felt were too violent or perpetuated racial stereotyping.

    • In 1996, Keeshan published a children's book entitled Hurry, Murry, Hurry.

    • Bob Keeshan was a news commentator for Up to the Minute on CBS News in 1981 and 1982.

    • He played an Alpine toymaker on Tinker's Workshop, an early morning program, which served as the prototype for his character of Captain Kangaroo.

    • Keeshan personally supervised which commercials could air on his program Captain Kangaroo, and promoted products which he saw as facilitating creative play, while avoiding those he felt were purely exploitative.

    • Keeshan was fired from his role as Clarabell the Clown by fellow cast member Buffalo Bob Smith, and replaced by a Clarabell who was more musically inclined.

    • Keeshan founded Corporate Family Solutions In 1987, with former Tennessee Republican Governor Lamar Alexander. The company provided day-care programs to businesses.

    • Keeshan worked for a brief time in the early 1950s for his father-in-law, who was an undertaker.

    • Bob Keeshan was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1990 for his portrayal of Clarabell the Clown.

    • Bob Keeshan was a strong opponent of video game violence, and even took part in congressional hearings against it.

  • Quotes

    • Bob Keeshan: I think the cumulative effect of programs like that solve problems with violence is showing up in our society in disturbing ways.

    • Bob Keeshan: Children don't drop out of high school when they are 16, they do so in the first grade and wait 10 years to make it official.

    • Bob Keeshan: The children should never be excluded from what I am doing and should never have the feeling of being part of an audience.

    • Bob Keeshan: It requires more strength to be gentle, so it's the everyday encounters of life that I think we've prepared children for and prepared them to be good to other people and to consider other people.

    • Bob Keeshan: It is my contention that most people are not mugged every day, that most people in this world do not encounter violence every day. I think we prepare people for violence, and I think just as importantly we prepare people for the definition of being gentle.

    • Bob Keeshan: Play is the work of children. It's very serious stuff.

    • Bob Keeshan: One of the big secrets of finding time is not to watch television.

    • Bob Keeshan: Parents are the ultimate role models for children. Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent.

    • Bob Keeshan: TV is a convenient baby sitter, and parents too often use it that way. By the time a child starts school, he has seen about 5000 hours. That's time taken away from peers and parents at a crucial period of development. The effect has to be negative.

    • Bob Keeshan: The responsibility of parents is to raise children who do not need parents.

  • Warm Memories of The Captain's Grandfatherly Wisdom

    As a kid, I thought I knew Captain Kangaroo personally. Every morning I would wake up and quietly slip downstairs to watch Captain Kangaroo while the rest of the house slept. (If I turned on the station too early, the prism of colors and high-pitched beep indicated dead-air time, and how relieved I remember being when the familiar station identification was finally announced). Each morning, Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo brought his own gentle humor and vignettes of wisdom to little kids across America. He did so with the help of a cast of characters, including Mr. Green Jeans, Dennis, Bunny Rabbit, and (my favorite) Mr. Moose. I remember being "read to" by Captain Kangaroo, and I recall learning about nutrition and exercise by Slim Goodbody, whose exo-circular system suit I always envied. Bob Keeshan as a man was an advocate of wholesome and quality television programming for children. He was a contemporary and friend of Fred Rogers, and encouraged responsible parenting. Although he passed away nearly three years ago, he will forever stand out in my mind as one of television's greatest, and a rare individual whom you could admire off-screen as well.moreless