Cosmo Allegretti died of emphysema on July 26 in Arizona, He was 86 years old.
His greatest claim to fame came from the characters he created, and gave his voice to, in the childrens’ TV show, Captain Kangaroo. Some of his his best known and best loved characters include Grandfather Clock and Dancing Bear.
Allegretti had been trained as a puppeteer but found himself working as a set painter in the early days of Captain Kangaroo. Soon after, he happened to be around when the show found a problem with one of the puppets.
Although the puppet had been made by a professional puppeteer, the producers were not satisfied. Allegretti volunteered to make a replacement. Thus he created the characters Bunny Rabbit, Mister Moose, Rollo the Hippopotamus, Miss Worm, Cornelius the Walrus, Dennis the Apprentice and others.
The show, starring Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo, aired from October 3, 1955 until December 8, 1984, making it the longest-running nationally broadcast childrens’ television program of its day.
But Allegritti’s talents were not confined to puppetteering. He was also the artist behind the Magic Drawing Board, and he was also a professional actor, appearing in a number of films, including Prince Of The City..
Sesame Street, holds the current record for the longest running childrens’ show and is now entering its 44th season. It hired many of its original writers and producers from the Captain Kangaroo crew when it launched in 1969.