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Marc Mason is a freelance writer based in Tempe, AZ.

Friday, January 23, 2004  
Childhood's Dead


Completing a sadness that just about every kid in my generation can feel, Bob Keeshan, known to us as the great Captain Kangaroo, passed away today. Following last year's loss of Fred "Mr." Rogers, our icons are now gone, a gaping void left in children's entertainment. There is no more safety, and precious little joy left in the what children now consume on television.

Don't get me wrong- I love SpongeBob, and a good chunk of what Nickelodeon puts on the air is entertaining for young and old. But there's no real flavor or character to the shows beyond the animation, and the most high profile kids TV that feature real humans, Out Of The Box and The Wiggles, are creepy. The humans lack the capability to speak to kids the way Keeshan and Rogers did, and they come across as condescending and trite.

Keeshan, Prince Valiant haircut and all, was a man who seemed to have a limitless patience and compassion for youth and how they felt. He had an honesty that most young kids feel like adults lack; young Bobby and Susie have a bullshit detector that sniffs out Mommy's nonsense very easily, but Captain Kangaroo never set off that detector. He inspired trust in kid and parent alike. You knew he wouldn't lead you wrong.

So, thanks Captain. You left an indelible mark on my youth and made things just a bit better every day that I tuned in. I hope that Heaven' children are sitting in a studio waiting for you. The show, as always, must go on.


3:58 PM

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