Originally created 05/30/97

Captain Kangaroo returns



TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The new Captain Kangaroo has a picturesque black beard, a background in children's educational theater and a passion for collecting bow ties.

"If I'm the captain of anything, I'm the captain of the Treasure House," John McDonough said today, pointing around him at the colorful set where the show will be filmed, a makeshift house decorated in bright purples, reds and yellows.

The stout, bearded McDonough, 43, was dressed in a bright blue suit with yellow piping, a yellow bowtie wrapped around his neck, for his introduction at Tampa's public television station, WEDU.

The Hartford, Conn., native was chosen after a nationwide search in which over 1,000 candidates were considered. He has recorded over 40 book titles and appeared in several feature films.

"In the end, it was a gut feeling. John clearly shone. He is magical," said Barry Stagg, spokesman for Saban Entertainment, which bought the rights to Captain Kangaroo years ago.

Saban, the producers of the "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers," teamed up with beer-maker Anheuser-Busch to revive the popular kids show that aired nearly 40 years before signing off in 1993.

It is scheduled for 26 half-hour episodes, starting sometime in September. It is being syndicated to commercial television, and stations covering 90 percent of the country already have signed up, Stagg said.

Longtime Captain Kangaroo Bob Keeshan isn't involved with the new show, but McDonough said he hopes to meet him someday. Keeshan has said he doesn't want to be associated with a show if he has no artistic control.

He also introduced some familiar old characters who will appear with him on the show, including a new Mr. Green Jeans, Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit - and a brand new character, Joey the Kangaroo.