Captain Kangaroo a Marine? Here’s the REAL Story

March 16, 2009

capkDear Sir: I was told that Captain Kangaroo was a decorated Marine who was tough as nails. Could you tell me if that is true? – Mike, via e-mail

Dear Mike: You know, my first clue about this was the memorable episode where the Captain made Mister Moose get a buzzsaw haircut. And then there was the time he pounded those medals into Mr. Green Jeans’ chest, and made Magic Drawing Board police the Treasure House until it was so clean you could eat off the floor.

This is one of those rumors that, as is the case with many rumors, have a small basis in truth. The rumormonger was the late actor Lee Marvin. He appeared on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” in the 1970s and talked about serving in the Marines during World War II and fighting in the battle for Iwo Jima alongside Bob Keeshan, aka the Captain.

But the reality is that Keeshan was a member of the Marine Corps Reserves, and never saw combat. And Marvin wasn’t at Iwo Jima, either, although he was wounded at Saipan and received the Purple Heart.

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