Thursday, August 8, 2013

RIP ~ Captain Kangaroo's Sidekick Cosmo Allegretti

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Left-Cosmo Allegretti as Mr. Bainter the Painter
Middle - Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo
Right - Hugh Brannum as Mr. Green Jeans

One of my earliest memories is eating my cereal - probably in a high chair - while watching Captain Kangaroo. I loved the Dancing Bear and Grandfather Clock. I loved Bunny Rabbit and especially Mr. Moose, who dropped the iconic ping-pong balls on the Captain's head day after day. All of those characters and more were the creation of actor and genius Cosmo Allegretti, who died this week. :( Farewell, faithful sidekick who made Mr. Moose so entertaining, and snarky ~ the boomers will remember you forever!!!

From E-Online
The actor and puppeteer, responsible for such characters as Mr. Bunny Rabbit, Grandfather Clock and Dancing Bear on the classic children's show, died July 26 in Arizona. He was 86 and had emphysema, friend and attorney John Munzel told reporters.
Allegretti was working as a set painter on Captain Kangaroo but ultimately became talent after he volunteered to create a replacement for someone else's puppet.

. . . In addition to creating the hand puppets Mr. Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose, Allegretti was also either the voice or hand (or both) of Dennis the Apprentice, Miss Frog, Mr. Whispers, Dancing Bear, Grandfather Clock and Uncle Ralph. He was also TV Fred, who appeared behind the blackboard in the Captain's Treasure House, and the artist behind the Magic Drawing Board.

. . . "We had a meeting and we were listening to a record that we'd just received," Keeshan said. "Believe it or not, it was a record, not a tape or a CD, but it was a record called the 'Dancing Bear.' We just sat around and said, 'How do we do this?' Somebody said, 'How about Gus in a bear suit?' Gus being Gus Allegretti. Gus said, 'Yeah, I'm game,' and so we had a nice bear suit made that Gus crawled into.

"It was not a lot of fun but he is a great talent. Then we just had him dance to this record, the 'Dancing Bear,' and that was that. Then we got mail. A lot of people said, 'Oh, we love that dancing bear. Let us see him again.'"

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