Bob Keeshan

Children's Show Creator


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Bob Keeshan (1927-2004) talks of his experiences as an NBC page before going to work for "Buffalo" Bob Smith. He talks about the early days of Smith's Howdy Doody Show and how he was eventually transformed into the beloved "Clarabell the Clown." He discusses starring in two local New York children's programs before creating and starring in Captain Kangaroo. He remembers "Captain Kangaroo's" friends: "Mr. Green Jeans", "Mr. Moose" and "Bunny Rabbit" and the men who played them. He recalls the program's long run and the effect it had on several generations of children. He describes his post- Captain Kangaroo projects, including a guest spot on Murphy Brown and talks about how children relate to television and what television can do for them. Karen Herman conducted the interview on October 19, 1999 in Queechee, Vermont.

"Everybody has individual memories of me. Different people tell me different things and almost always, they're very positive and I'm very happy with them. I'll be remembered in many different ways and that's fine. I am whatever you wanted to make me, whatever you wanted to take from me."

Highlights
Bob Keeshan on remaining in character as "Clarabell the Clown", and his opinion on the Howdy Doody  finale where "Clarabell" spoke for the only time
01:26
Bob Keeshan on how much of his "Clarabell the Clown" moves were scripted on Howdy Doody
04:09
Bob Keeshan on the origin of Captain Kangaroo
04:42
Bob Keeshan on Captain Kangaroo's switch from black and white to color
04:32
Bob Keeshan on the industry's responsibility to children
01:40
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on radio and books he enjoyed as a child; on his high school years
On working at NBC as a page; on his service in World War II; on returning to college after World War II

Chapter 2

On the early days of television at NBC; on how he came to be "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
On playing "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody; on Howdy Doody's mission and sponsors

Chapter 3

On playing "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody and working with the cast; on rehearsal for Howdy Doody and his opinion of the finale; on how much of "Clarabell" was scripted
On the cast and crew of Howdy Doody; on the limitations of his talents

Chapter 4

On "Buffalo" Bob Smith's feelings toward him; on being fired from Howdy Doody; on his memories of Howdy Doody
On playing "Corny the Clown" on Time For Fun; on playing "Tinker the Toymaker" on Tinker's Workshop

Chapter 5

On the origin and pilot of Captain Kangaroo; on the character of "Captain Kangaroo"
On Hugh Brannum playing "Mr. Green Jeans" on Captain Kangaroo; on Cosmo "Gus" Allegretti playing "Mr. Moose" and "Bunny Rabbit" on Captain Kangaroo; on the writing of the show 

Chapter 6

On the main elements of Captain Kangaroo; on the cartoons, format, and music of Captain Kangaroo
On Captain Kangaroo's sponsorship over the years; on Captain Kangaroo's switch from black and white to color; on his 1964 Saturday show Mr. Mayor

Chapter 7

On his show Mr. Mayor; on how Captain Kangaroo changed over the years and the end of the show; on Captain Kangaroo's move to PBS
On "Captain Kangaroo" appearing on other shows; on the impact of Captain Kangaroo and what represents the best of television; on how he'd like to be remembered
Shows

Captain Kangaroo

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Bob Keeshan on the origin of Captain Kangaroo
04:42
Bob Keeshan on the pilot of Captain Kangaroo and early critical reaction
03:24
Bob Keeshan on the character of "Captain Kangaroo"
04:20
Bob Keeshan on Hugh Brannum, "Mr. Green Jeans" on Captain Kangaroo
07:14
Bob Keeshan on Cosmo "Gus" Allegretti, who played "Mr. Moose", "Bunny Rabbit", and "Grandfather Clock" on Captain Kangaroo
07:30
Bob Keeshan on the writing of Captain Kangaroo
01:14
Bob Keeshan on the main elements of Captain Kangaroo
03:38
Bob Keeshan on the character of "Tom Terrific" on Captain Kangaroo
01:31
Bob Keeshan on the format of Captain Kangaroo, and reading stories on air to viewers
03:42
Bob Keeshan on the music in Captain Kangaroo
03:39
Bob Keeshan on the sponsorship of Captain Kangaroo
05:55
Bob Keeshan on the network and Captain Kangaroo and the Hollywood Blacklist
03:12
Bob Keeshan on Captain Kangaroo's switch from black and white to color
04:32
Bob Keeshan on how Captain Kangaroo changed over the years
03:03
Bob Keeshan on the end of Captain Kangaroo
04:08
Bob Keeshan on Captain Kangaroo's move to PBS
02:55
Bob Keeshan on the impact of Captain Kangaroo
01:43

Howdy Doody

View Show Page
Bob Keeshan on how he came to be "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
10:31
Bob Keeshan on playing the character of "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
02:01
Bob Keeshan on "Lucky", the puppet before "Howdy Doody" and "Howdy Doody" running for President
04:54
Bob Keeshan on Howdy Doody's sponsors
02:01
Bob Keeshan on the mission of Howdy Doody's producers
03:34
Bob Keeshan on playing "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody, and working with the cast
04:14
Bob Keeshan on rehearsing for Howdy Doody and the "Peanut Gallery"
03:31
Bob Keeshan on remaining in character as "Clarabell the Clown", and his opinion on the Howdy Doody finale where "Clarabell" spoke for the only time
01:26
Bob Keeshan on how children responded to "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
00:39
Bob Keeshan on how much of his "Clarabell the Clown" moves were scripted on Howdy Doody
04:09
Bob Keeshan on "Buffalo" Bob Smith from Howdy Doody
06:10
Bob Keeshan on Howdy Doody producer Roger Muir
02:11
Bob Keeshan on Howdy Doody writer Eddie Keane
01:09
Bob Keeshan on Rhoda Mann, the operator of the "Howdy Doody" puppet on Howdy Doody
01:15
Bob Keeshan on Judy Tyler, "Princess Summerfallwinterspring" on Howdy Doody
01:15
Bob Keeshan on Bill LeCornec, "Chief Thunderthud" on Howdy Doody
00:56
Bob Keeshan on the limitation of his talents on Howdy Doody
02:05
Bob Keeshan on "Buffalo" Bob Smith's attitude toward him
05:14
Bob Keeshan on being fired from his role of "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
05:24
Bob Keeshan on his replacement as "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
01:57
Bob Keeshan on his favorite Howdy Doody memories
01:47

Murphy Brown

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Bob Keeshan on "Captain Kangaroo" appearing on Murphy Brown
01:45
Topics

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on playing "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
23:08
Bob Keeshan on playing the character of "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
02:01
Bob Keeshan on Hugh Brannum, "Mr. Green Jeans" on Captain Kangaroo
07:14
Bob Keeshan on Cosmo "Gus" Allegretti, who played "Mr. Moose", "Bunny", and "Grandfather Clock" on Captain Kangaroo
07:30
Bob Keeshan on the character of "Captain Kangaroo"
04:20
Bob Keeshan on the character of "Tom Terrific" on Captain Kangaroo
01:31

Classic TV series episodes

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on remaining in character as "Clarabell the Clown", and his opinion on the Howdy Doody  finale where "Clarabell" spoke for the only time
01:26

Criticism of TV

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on what represents the best in television
03:44

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on the network and Captain Kangaroo  and the Hollywood Blacklist
03:12

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on the network and Captain Kangaroo  and the Hollywood Blacklist
03:12

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on "Lucky", the puppet before "Howdy Doody" and "Howdy Doody" running for President
04:54
Bob Keeshan on remaining in character as "Clarabell the Clown", and his opinion on the Howdy Doody  finale where "Clarabell" spoke for the only time
01:26

Pop Culture

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on playing the character of "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
02:01
Bob Keeshan on remaining in character as "Clarabell the Clown", and his opinion on the Howdy Doody  finale where "Clarabell" spoke for the only time
01:26
Bob Keeshan on Hugh Brannum, "Mr. Green Jeans" on Captain Kangaroo
07:14
Bob Keeshan on Cosmo "Gus" Allegretti, who played "Mr. Moose", "Bunny Rabbit", and "Grandfather Clock" on Captain Kangaroo
07:30
Bob Keeshan on the character of "Captain Kangaroo"
04:20
Bob Keeshan on the character of "Tom Terrific" on Captain Kangaroo
01:31

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on Captain Kangaroo's switch from black and white to color
04:32

Television Industry

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on the network and Captain Kangaroo  and the Hollywood Blacklist
03:12
Bob Keeshan on what represents the best in television
03:44
Bob Keeshan on the industry's responsibility to children
01:40

War

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on his experiences in World War II
03:08

We Cried

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on remaining in character as "Clarabell the Clown", and his opinion on the Howdy Doody  finale where "Clarabell" spoke for the only time
01:26

World War II

View Topic
Bob Keeshan on his experiences in World War II
03:08
Genres

Children's Programming

View Genre
Bob Keeshan on playing "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
23:08
Bob Keeshan on his time on Howdy Doody
27:24
Bob Keeshan on "Buffalo" Bob Smith's feelings toward him; on being fired from Howdy Doody; on his memories of Howdy Doody
15:24
Bob Keeshan on Captain Kangaroo
28:24
Bob Keeshan on creating and starring in Captain Kangaroo
26:09
Bob Keeshan on how Captain Kangaroo changed over the years
07:11
Bob Keeshan on the industry's responsibility to children
01:40
People

Milton Berle

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Bob Keeshan on how much of his "Clarabell the Clown" moves were scripted on Howdy Doody
04:09

Hugh Brannum

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Bob Keeshan on Hugh Brannum, "Mr. Green Jeans" on Captain Kangaroo
07:14

Eddie Kean

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Bob Keeshan on Howdy Doody writer Eddie Kean
01:09

Bill LeCornec

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Bob Keeshan on Bill LeCornec, "Chief Thunderthud" on Howdy Doody
00:56

Bob Smith

View Interview Page
Bob Keeshan on how he came to be "Clarabell the Clown" on Howdy Doody
10:31
Bob Keeshan on the mission of Howdy Doody's producers
03:34
Bob Keeshan on "Buffalo" Bob Smith from Howdy Doody
06:10
Bob Keeshan on "Buffalo" Bob Smith's attitude toward him
05:14

Judy Tyler

View Person Page
Bob Keeshan on Judy Tyler, "Princess Summerfallwinterspring" on Howdy Doody
01:15

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