Thursday, November 24, 2011
Thanksgiving At The Treasure House
Hospitality and welcoming. These qualities were a big part of Captain Kangaroo, the classic TV series that ran for decades every weekday morning on CBS, and I think this photo is an illustration of some of those attributes, in both setting (the most charming, most "real" version of the Treasure House, seen on the show 1965 through 1971) and cast (both people and puppets). Some associate the Thanksgiving holiday with Captain Kangaroo because from 1959 through 1965 (perhaps even later), Captain and his friends hosted the Thanksgiving Day parade coverage on CBS. But in what was an annual tradition for a good number of years, Captain would celebrate Thanksgiving within the show broadcast on that particular November Thursday. The conclusion of the Thanksgiving show was particularly powerful: To illustrate that for which we as a country should be grateful on this national day of thanks, Captain would display Norman Rockwell's famed series of paintings, The Four Freedoms. Then, as the Perry Como version of the hymn "Prayer for Thanksgiving (We Gather Together)" played, the Captain, Mr. Green Jeans, Dancing Bear, Bunny Rabbit and Mister Moose (the very characters seen on this record cover) gathered at a festive Thanksgiving table and reverently bowed their heads in prayer. The hymn ended with Perry and chorus powerfully singing the compelling lyric "Lord, make us free." Silence. Fade to black. There were no closing credits and no closing theme music... just a dramatic reminder of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about: giving thanks.