But if you were a fan of Captain Kangaroo and any of those first three staples of the show — Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather Clock — then you are also a fan of Cosmo Allegretti.
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Whether you know it or not.
You will remember the many lovable characters and segments that were created, or voiced, or puppeted by Cosmo Allegretti.
Allegretti started on Captain Kangaroo as a set painter but eventually created and voiced many of the puppets that made the show special.
In an interview with the Miami Herald Allegretti said, “They told me,” ‘You look too tough for a children’s show. You’ll scare the kids.'”
But having studied art in college his artistic skills were too good not to use him fully on the show.
For starters, Allegretti created, voiced, and puppeted Mr. Moose, who amused me to no end as a child! You just knew Captain Kangaroo was going to get ping pong balls dropped on his head whenever Mr. Moose showed up.
It was super good clean fun, and I always waited excitedly to see if the Captain would suffer two ping pong ball droppings in one skit.
Allegrett also created and puppeted Bunny Rabbit (surprise, I know, given the intro here).
Now, I didn’t say he voiced Bunny Rabbit but that is because Bunny Rabbit did not speak. And although he did not speak he was still able to somehow trick Captain Kangaroo out of carrots that he kept in his pocket.
Bunny Rabbit also got Mr. Moose into all kinds of trouble and just plain got away with stuff on the show. For a little fella who did not speak, he sure got others to speak a lot for him. Plus, how cute are his little glasses?
Another ongoing character on Captain Kangaroo was Dancing Bear. Guess who was inside that costume … go ahead, I’ll wait.
No, it wasn’t Marlon Brando, stupid. It was Cosmo Allegretti.
Dancing Bear had all kinds of lessons to teach us, and of course, he danced. Who doesn’t love a dancing bear? (Ranger Smith, maybe? The bear’s human dance partner? I don’t know …)
The Cosmo genius didn’t stop there, either.
Here are some other characters that Cosmo created or voiced: Grandfather Clock, the Magic Drawing Board, Miss Frog, Mr. Whispers, Rollo the Hippopotamus, Cornelius the Walrus, and Uncle Ralph.
In the end, Cosmo did get his face on the show when he created Dennis the Apprentice.
Dennis was sort of a strange little character, but he was a fitting coming-out party for a guy who just wanted to be a quiet and gentle part of a classic television show like Captain Kangaroo.
Given that, I wonder how Cosmo Allegretti felt about all those decidedly unquiet and ungentle ping pong balls!
(If you love Captain Kangaroo, then you probably love our article on Picture Pages, click here.)
Columbia Record CAPTAIN KANGAROO'S TREASURE HOUSE LP 33rpm 50s
Vintage Captain Kangaroo doll 19 inches tall