Well, another month is coming to a close so I'm having to make my final puppet/muppet FFC selection. There were a lot of them I considered; The Count from Sesame Street, Lambchop, Owl X from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, and Beaker from The Muppet Show were just a few of them running through me head. They may still show up later on down the road, but for this one I decided to go with someone I remember watching as a really little kid. I had to go back to Captain Kangaroo for this character, so please welcome Mr. Moose.
First of all, I just want to say that I wish I was able to find a better picture of him, preferably in color. Since I couldn't, this one will have to do. I wanted he color picture because that's how I remember him. I never watched Captain Kangaroo in black and white, so it's just not the same. In the long run though, it really doesn't matter. Whether in B&W or color, Mr. Moose was one of the funniest things on TV, at least for someone my age.
From what I remember, Mr. Moose's goal in life was to make as many ping pong balls fall on the head of the Captain, as often as possible. He was very fond of telling knock-knock jokes whose solution would bring a cascade of ping pong balls, pelting poor Captain Kangaroo. To be honest, I blame Mr. Moose for my habit of telling knock-knock jokes as a kid. I always felt a little let down though because when I told them, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get a single ping pong ball to fall out of the air. I think my mom was relieved that Mr. Moose had more than those jokes up his sleeve. Heaven knows she could only take so many of them. Occasionally he would throw out a rather funny riddle or trick the Captain into saying something that would cause the balls to fall. I was never very good at remembering riddles, at least not enough to tell them correctly. So for those episodes, people were safe from my mimicing of Mr. Moose's behavior.
Mr. Moose didn't change my life or cause me to look at situations in a different light. What he did do, and superbly if I do say, was entertain me. To me, that's what puppets should do. They should make you laugh so hard your sides are ready to bust. They should allow you to forget the nasty peanut butter and jelly sandwich your mom made you eat, or the stupid kid next door that tried to steal your Tonka dump truck, or even the really cool dinosaur that your grandma wouldn't let you get. Puppets are bare bones entertainment. They have one goal in life and that is to make you smile. Mr. Moose was one of the best.
As a quick side note, Mr. Moose now resides in The Smithsonian. Even as a 6 year old, I knew Mr. Moose was going places.