Cosmo Allegretti, the man behind a number of characters on the iconic children’s TV show Captain Kangaroo, died July 26 in Arizona after suffering from emphysema. He was 86. While working on Captain Kangaroo as a set painter, the actor and puppeteer got a chance to show his real talent when the kiddie show was dissatisfied with a puppet created by a professional and Allegretti volunteered to design a substitute. He wound up creating Dancing Bear and many other characters for the show, including Bunny Rabbit and Mister Moose. He was the artist behind the Magic Drawing Board and the voice of TV Fred, who appeared behind the blackboard in the Captain’s Treasure House. The show, which starred Bob Keeshan as the Captain, debuted on CBS in 1955 and aired until 1984. Interesting fact: Kevin Clash, who later found fame and controversy as the puppeteer behind Elmo, worked on the show during the 1980s. Allegretti was briefly married in the ’50s to Broadway and television star Carol Lawrence.
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