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'Captain Kangaroo' character actor Cosmo Allegretti dies at 86

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Boomers, say goodbye to another piece of childhood: The man who created Dancing Bear on "Captain Kangaroo" has died.

Cosmo Allegretti, a set painter who became a puppeteer and voice artist on the children's TV classic, died of emphysema at age 86 on July 26 according to UPI, although the death wasn't widely reported until Wednesday.

Allegretti became a performer by accident, after producers were unhappy with a puppet created for the show and Allegretti offered to design a substitute.

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In addition to Dancing Bear -- who was game to dance but nevertheless uncertain what to make of the music playing around him -- Allegretti voiced many characters such as Mr. Moose and Grandfather Clock.

"Captain Kangaroo" aired on CBS from 1955 to 1984, with Bob Keeshan as the host and title character and Hugh Brannum as his friend Mr. Green Jeans. Keeshan died in 2004, Brannum in 1987.

Kevin Clash -- who later found fame and controversy as the puppeteer behind Elmo -- also worked on the show during the 1980s.

Allegretti was briefly married during the 1950s to Carol Lawrence, a Broadway actress who went on to appear on TV series such as "Saved by the Bell" and "Sex and the City."

Which was your favorite Allegretti character?

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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