Stephen M. Silverman
January 27, 2004 01:45 AM

Captain Kangaroo, adored by generations of children and their parents, will not be forgotten. A private service is being planned for Bob Keeshan, to take place this spring, his son, Michael Keeshan, tells the Associated Press.

The elder Keeshan, 76, whose “Captain Kangaroo” premiered on CBS in October 1955 and was a TV fixture for nearly 40 years, died Friday in Vermont after a long illness.

Michael Keeshan says a private service for family and friends is being planned for March or April, with a location still to be determined.

Not that one service could handle the outpouring of feelings for the man who was such a presence in people’s lives. A separate local service for Keeshan, possibly at the Children’s Hospital of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., also is being considered, Michael Keeshan said.

Keeshan moved to Vermont in 1990 and was active as a children’s advocate, writing books, lecturing and lobbying on behalf children’s issues, notes AP. Of course, his most famous creation was the captain, an avuncular friend who never talked down to children.

For his efforts, Keeshan’s show — which ran on CBS for 30 years before moving to PBS, where it ran alongside the show of a great friend of his, Fred Rogers’s “Mr. Rogers’s Neighborhood” — won six Emmy Awards, three Gabriels and three Peabodies.

And the hearts of generations.

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