I was looking up “French antique folding chairs” when I came upon the picture on the left of Captain Kangaroo. It was from a blog post from 23 January 2004, the day that Bob Keeshan (AKA Captain Kangaroo) died. The picture caught my eye not because of the Captain but because of the little guy he’s holding: Mr. Bunny Rabbit.
It is a sad statement that Marcel Proust warned us about, coming up on 100 years ago: we lose the past. And something I had lost but regained from the picture is the memory that Mr. Bunny Rabbit wore horn-rimmed glasses. I guess the idea was that he was farsighted. In reality, there were no lenses in the glasses, so I think it was a fashion statement.
What I did not forget was all the larceny that Bunny Rabbit committed. Carrots were not safe around him. Whether via the con or the sneak, carrots would soon be his.
Thus, the first thing I created in the “Post-Postmodern Comedy Hour” was Wordsworth—a carrot-stealing, rabbit hand-puppet who is an homage to Mr. Bunny Rabbit. Of course, he’s more well-rounded than Bunny Rabbit; he also writes poems, because he’s the reincarnation of his namesake. Because it’s written by me.
When I was a kid, I hated Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood because the puppets were awful. And I was none too keen on Captain Kangaroo, because I only liked Mr. Bunny Rabbit and Mr. Moose. Unfortunately, they were on screen too little of the time. I don’t require much: hand puppets without wooden heads. If only I ran a studio, the world would be a brighter place.
We’ll always have Bunny Rabbit. We didn’t have—we lost him until finding that picture. Next 23 January, buy a carrot for Mr. Bunny Rabbit.