Capt. Kangaroo bear costume dances its way to $207,019

LOS ANGELES — The Nate D. Sanders auction house reports that memorabilia auctioned from the “Captain Kangaroo” television program recently generated worldwide interest, and a Dancing Bear costume stole the show in a last-minute bidding frenzy.

Nate Sanders, owner of the auction house, announced that a handcrafted, screen-worn Dancing Bear costume from the popular American television series “Captain Kangaroo” brought $207,019 during the May 21 auction and is now on its way to the home of a Tennessee collector.

Screen-worn Dancing Bear costume from Captain Kangaroo. $207,019. (Photo courtesy Nate D. Sanders Fine Autographs & Memorabilia, www.natedsanders.com)

Screen-worn Dancing Bear costume from Captain Kangaroo. $207,019.
(Photo courtesy Nate D. Sanders Fine Autographs & Memorabilia, www.natedsanders.com)

“Captain Kangaroo” aired on weekday mornings from Oct. 3 1955 to Dec. 8, 1984 — nearly 30 years — which made it the longest-running national children’s show in history.

Prior to the auction, collectors speculated that the prize item would be the famous keys to Captain Kangaroo’s Treasure House. The keys were a beloved part of the show’s opening as Captain Kangaroo unlocked the door to his Treasure House and then hung the keys on their hook near the door. The music would then stop and the show would start. While the keys put on a strong performance during the auction, eventually selling for an impressive $27,971, it was the Dancing Bear costume that made the night one to remember forever.

“We knew Dancing Bear was incredibly popular, but everyone thought the keys would be the big ticket item of the night,” said Sanders. “The results show you can never predict what will happen during a celebrity auction of this magnitude.”

The colorful Dancing Bear costume includes a one-piece body suit and a felt and velour plush head accessorized with a black bowtie. For the majority of the Captain Kangaroo program’s airtime, the Dancing Bear character was played by the show’s creator: Cosmo Allegretti.

Sanders said the three main characters of the program were Mr. Moose, Bunny Rabbit and Dancing Bear. The value of Dancing Bear’s costume increased due to the fact that the Mr. Moose and Bunny Rabbit puppets had already been donated to the prestigious Smithsonian Institute in Washington and will never be for sale.

Ironically, both the Dancing Bear costume and the keys — along with several other Captain Kangaroo items up for auction — were purchased by the same collector. Sanders would only reveal that the items were being shipped to Tennessee.

For more information on Nate D. Sanders Autographs & Memorabilia, visit www.natedsanders.com or call 310-440-2982.

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