Captain Kangaroo’s death reminded me of Adam Sandler. No, really.
At Christmas time, Sandler sings his tongue-in-cheek “Hannukah Song,” identifying famous people no one knew were Jewish. This is a trait of small ethnic groups — any Parsee will tell you that Queen singer Freddy Mercury was one of them, and Albanians proudly (?) claim the late comedian John Belushi.
The reason I thought of this today is that Armenians have always claimed Bob Keeshan, the actor behind Captain Kangaroo, as one of ours, since the name sounds like an Americanization of “Keshishian,” a common Armenian name. I believed it too, since there are plenty of famous people who really are Armenian — Cher (half, Cherylin Sarkissian), Mike Connors (Krikor Ohanian) of Mannix fame, billionaire Kerk Kerkorian, the late Alex Manoogian (inventor of the Delta faucet), singer Charles Aznavour, chess master Gary Kasparov (half), tennis star Andre Agassi (half), children’s singer Raffi, even Principal Skinner from the Simpsons, whose real identity is Armen Tamzarian. I could go on and on and on, but I won’t.
Imagine my surprise when I read in today’s New York Times at Keeshan was actually Irish on both sides. Oh well, I’ll have to settle for the Colombosian family, that started Colombo Yoghurt, and David Hedison of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.