On October 3, 1955, Captain Kangaroo opened the door to his Treasure House for the first time. Created and produced by Bob Keeshan, who also starred as the grandfatherly Captain, the show ran 5 days a week (some years it was on the Saturday morning schedule as well) on CBS, and when the program left the network (after being cut back to a weekend-only schedule) in 1894, it aired on PBS until 1993, an incredible run of 38 years. Uniquely low-key and sophisticated, the Captain Kangaroo program was the result of Bob Keeshan’s guiding philosophy: “Everyone involved with the show believed that our audience was composed of intelligent human beings worthy of our respect and with potentially good taste.” Millions of children tuned in, and more than one adult viewer valued the clever writing and the warm, humorous interplay between Captain and the other players, both people and puppets. This much honored show (6 Emmys, 2 Peabodys) still lives large in the memory of millions even though it's had extremely limited home video releases. Fortunately, YouTube has a number of clips, so celebrate the show's 52nd anniversary by checking it out—you'll see what it was like when Captain Kangaroo held the key to gentle, intelligent children’s programming.
October 3, 1955, was truly a red letter day in television programming. See the next post for more evidence.