Fred was a character who appeared over the fictional Channel One on a TV set behind the Captain Kangaroo's blackboard in the Treasure House. Puppeteer Maury Bunin created Fred utilizing Hank Stohl's Aniforms concept. Aniforms utilized rubber outlines of the character, contained in a special case, that were manipulated by the puppeteer off camera using levers attached to the case. This was then caught on camera and chroma-keyed over a plain background and fed live into the TV set. Fred first appeared on the Saturday morning Captain Kangaroo show in 1965. Cosmo "Gus" Alligretti provided the voice of Fred. Using the Aniforms process, Fred was able to interact live with the Captain and others.
Captain Kangaroo, Fred from Channel One, Mr. Green Jeans
October 3, 1955 through December 8, 1984 (CBS-TV); 1984 through 1990 (PBS)
Robert Keeshan Associates
The Captain Kangaroo Theme Song - "Puffin' Billy" by Edward G. White (music) and Mary Rodgers (lyric)
Bob Keeshan - Executive Producer
Co-Executive Producer: Marvin Josephson
Producers: Jack Miller, Jon Stone, Bob Clauer, Dave Connell, Sam Gibbon, Al Hyslop, Jim Hirschfield
Writers: Clark Gesner, Lucien Kaminsky, Jack Spear, and Phyllis Spear
Bob Keeshan - Captain Kangaroo
Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum - Mr. Green Jeans, The Professor, Greeno The Clown, The Old Folk Singer, Mr. Bainter The Painter
Cosmo "Gus" Allegretti - Dancing Bear, Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit, Miss Frog, Grandfather Clock, Fred, The Magic Drawing Board, Flora and Albert, Dennis The Apprentice, Uncle Ralph
Debbie Weems - Debbie, Phoebe Beebee
Doug Anderson - The Magic Barn Painter
Kevin Clash - Kevin, Dunk, Pfeiffer, Artie
Jane Connell - Aunt Maude
Terry Kelly - Orville the Dragon
Chuck McCann - Sailor Clyde
Bill McCutcheon - Dudley Dudley
Carolyn Migninni - Cathy
Sam Levine - A. Robins, Banana Man
James E. Waif, Larry Wall - Mr. Baxter
Captain Kangaroo made it's debut in 1955. It went on to become one of the longest running children's program in television history.
Bob Keeshan played the gentle, warm-hearted Captain wearing his trademark jacket, whose large pockets are full of unexpected goodies. The series, always low-key, stressed gentleness, with the emphasis on entertainment and education. The show changed little over the years, offering charades, sketches, puppets and cartoons. Guest stars have included Alan Arkin, Carol Channing, Marlo Thomas, Imogene Coca, Doug Henning, Eli Wallach and Pearl Bailey.
Mr. Green Jeans (Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum, who passed away in 1987) was with the series from the beginning. He introduced animals, while portraying a good-natured and innovative farmer who loves to invent things. Cosmo "Gus" Allegretti portrayed Dennis, the bumbling apprentice, who is everyone's unwitting thorn-in-the-side. As chief puppeteer, Allegretti was also responsible for the voices and manipulation of such other characters as Bunny Rabbit, Mr. Moose, Miss Frog, Mr. Whispers and Word Bird. Cartoons that aired over the years were Sam Singer's The Adventures of Pow Wow, Bill Cosby's Picture Pages, Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings, and two cliff-hanging cartoons produced by Terrytoons, Tom Terrific and Lariat Sam.
Prior to Captain Kangaroo, Keeshan had played Clarabell on the hit children's show Howdy Doody (1947/48). He also hosted two local New York shows, Time For Fun and Tinker's Workshop. During the 1964-65 season he played the lead in another children's show, Mister Mayor.
In the fall of 1981, against much opposition from parents, educators and children, CBS shortened and rescheduled Captain Kangaroo. The series was re-titled Wake up with the Captain and was moved to an earlier slot to make way for the CBS Morning News.
In 1982, the show left CBS' weekday morning schedule and moved to Saturday and Sunday Mornings. In 1984, CBS cancelled the Captain, and Bob Keeshan moved the show to PBS where it ran through 1990.
Bob Keeshan spent his last years as a public speaker and children's advocate, passing away on January 23, 2004.
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