Television producer and host Robert James Keeshan was born in Lynbrook, Long Island, New York. As a young man he served in the US Marine Corps Reserve. Starting as a page at the National Broadcasting Company, Keeshan later began his on-air career as the original "Clarabell, the Clown" for the NBC "The Howdy Doody Show" (1947) (aka "The Howdy Doody Show"). He was then the first host/performer of WJZ/WABC TV Ch. 7 NYC's "Time For Fun" / "The Johnny Jellybean Show". Keeshan emceed the show as "Corny The Clown" weekdays at noon from Monday, September 21st, 1953, to Friday, July 29th, 1955. He co-created, co-produced and hosted "Tinker's Workshop" with Jack Miller on WJZ/WABC TV Ch. 7 in New York City weekday mornings from Monday, November 15, 1954 to Friday, September 9, 1955. The show continued without Robert until Friday August 22, 1958. The later hosts of the show were Henry Burbig, Gene London & Dom DeLuise.
When asked to put together a show for children, he leaped at the chance. On Monday, October 3rd, 1955, "Captain Kangaroo" (1955) began its near 30-year run on CBS, until it was moved to Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the 1980s. There was a lot of fun in the "Treasure House", with Bunny Rabbit swindling carrots before lunch from The Captain or Mister Moose finding yet another way to get the Captain to stand still long enough to drop dozens of ping-pong balls down on the ever-unsuspecting Captain's head. Dennis (Cosmo Allegretti) asking so many questions that Mister Bainter would almost always lose his cool. All the while during this, Captain Kangaroo taught us values and gave those with busy or absent fathers a gentle and caring male role model to learn good behavior and manners from. A love of reading was encouraged and the animals that Mister Green Jeans (Hugh Brannum) showed allowed children who had never seen a particular animal to experience it though his fascination with it. During its run in 1964, Keeshan also took on a Saturday morning persona as "Mister Mayor" for a year, but remained the Captain until the end of its run on PBS in 1993. Over the years he and the show won six Emmy's and three Peabody Awards, totaling nine awards, altogether, and he was also elected to the Clown Hall of Fame.
In 1989 he published "Growing Up Happy" and then in October of 1996 he published "Good Morning Captain: 50 Wonderful Years with Bob Keeshan, TV's Captain Kangaroo". Keeshan is also the author of the "Itty Bitty Kitty" children's book series. Widowed in the 1990s, he died in Vermont in 2004.