Sunday, July 26, 2009
Damn you, Bunny Rabbit! Damn you to hell!
I was wasting time on Facebook when I noticed that one of my friends had posted two words next to his name: Captain Kangaroo. My first reaction was to shake my fist at the sky and shout, “Damn you Bunny Rabbit! Damn you to hell!”
I loved Captain Kangaroo. As a child, I watched his show religiously. I never knew what he was the captain of, but I didn’t really care. He was the man. I could take or leave Mr. Green Jeans and Grandfather Clock. Mr. Moose had a cool voice and those outstanding ears, so he was all right. Watching old clips of the show on youtube, I now realize how much Mr. Moose was in cahoots with Bunny Rabbit, so my respect for him has gone way down.
While Mr. Moose was a tool, the real villain of the Captain Kangaroo show, in my humble opinion, was Bunny Rabbit. Damn you, Bunny Rabbit! Damn you to hell! See, I still hate that hand puppet.
Captain Kangaroo and Bunny Rabbit had an ongoing routine. The good captain would happen to have a bunch of carrots in his oversized pocket. He was probably going to chop them up later for a nice salad or as a tasty and healthy between meal snack. He would inform us viewers that he was hiding the carrots from Bunny Rabbit.
Bunny Rabbit was a rabbit hand puppet with thick-rimmed glasses who never spoke. According to Captain Kangaroo, the amount of carrots Bunny Rabbit ate in a day exceeded the recommend amount for a hand puppet his size. The good captain was doing Bunny Rabbit a favor by keeping the carrots out of his reach. But Bunny Rabbit was a carrot junky who would go to any lengths to satisfy his addiction.
No matter how cleverly Captain Kangaroo hid the carrots, Bunny Rabbit always found them, stole the entire bunch, not leaving the good captain one measly carrot to garnish a salad, and devoured them all in an orgy of carrot lust. You could hear him munching offscreen, the only noise the rabbit ever made. Then to add insult to injury, Bunny Rabbit would drop a hundred ping pong balls on Captain Kangaroo’s head.
Damn you, Bunny Rabbit! Damn you to hell!
I was a kid and kids get very serious ideas about right and wrong. Bunny Rabbit was doing something wrong to my hero. Of course, I didn’t shake my fist and use words like damn and hell at that age. I probably just pouted at the TV or maybe went so far as to stick my tongue out.
Looking at the show now, it would be easy to see Captain Kangaroo in his quasi-military uniform in a class struggle against Bunny Rabbit whose thick-rimmed glasses and refusal to communicate normally pegs him as an intellectual and an anarchist. Or am I reading too much into a comedy routine about a rabbit stealing carrots because that’s what rabbits do?
Oddly enough, if I had been a teenager when I first saw Captain Kangaroo, I would have been stoned out of my gourd and rooting for Bunny Rabbit to stick it to the man. I might have even shouted, “Damn you Captain Kangaroo. Damn you to hell for not sharing the carrots grown by honest farmers like Mr. Green Jeans with the general population.” I would have assumed that Captain Kangaroo was deliberately overstating the amount of carrots Bunny Rabbit had eaten. He was probably hiding the fact that Bunny Rabbit was starving and was forced by society to steal. Long live Bunny Rabbit!
Instead, I think the best I can do about my hatred of Bunny Rabbit is to remember that neither he nor Captain Kangaroo were what they seemed on TV. That after the show, Bob Keeshan took off his wig and his uniform and Cosmo Allegretti took off the Bunny Rabbit hand puppet, then the two of them probably went out for a beer and discussed the script for the next day’s show. I even imagined what one of their conversations would have been like.
Cosmo: “So I see tomorrow Bunny Rabbit steals the carrots after finding them in the box you hid them in.
Bob: “Whatever. As long as he doesn’t forget the ping pong balls. You gotta have the ping pong balls”
Cosmo: “But don’t you ever get tired of Bunny Rabbit’s antics and getting hit with all those ping pong balls? Aren’t you ever tempted to shake your fist and shout, ‘Damn you Bunny Rabbit. Damn you to hell!’”
Bob: “What the hell are you drinking, Cosmo? This is a kid’s show. The carrot stealing and the ping pong balls are funny. The kids eat it up. Besides, the ping pong balls are light as air. I hardly feel them.”
Cosmo: “I know, I know. But I can’t help thinking that there’s one kid out there who takes it too seriously. That one kid who is upset that Captain Kangaroo is getting screwed.”
Bob: “Maybe. But there are so many children enjoying the show that you really can’t worry about that one kid. I mean, should we worry that one kid might grow up hating rabbits? Or just hating Bunny Rabbit?”
Cosmo: “No, I suppose not. In fact, that would be kinda funny, wouldn’t it? Some grown man shouting ‘Damn you Bunny Rabbit. Damn you to hell!’”
Bob: “Funny, sure, but not as funny as a hundred ping pong balls falling on your head.”