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Celebrity Slam - Barkin mad (about kiddie-show hosts)

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Sometimes, we have a distinct plan for this space that is set days ahead of time. We see an item hit over the weekend and we say to ourselves “Yes, this is it. This is our Celebrity Slam story for the week. Let’s go get some wings.” And then we do.

But then, every once in a while, something will pop up just as we’re preparing to go to press. Something that seems to offer more Slammable potential than the item upon which we had previously settled. Even if there’s a good chance that the new story will still be breaking in the days that follow, if it’s good enough, we’ll consider making the change.

This week, we are making just such a change. Our initial plan was to feature New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the weird video he shared of talking his kid into jumping off a cliff or whatever. There was backlash and stuff – The Rock called him out, just as one example – and it seemed like it’d be a perfectly fine story.

But then Ellen Barkin called out beloved children’s television hosts Captain Kangaroo and Shari Lewis of being child-haters on Twitter and, well … how can we not cover this?

With the recent release of the first trailer for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” the Mister Rogers biopic starring America’s Dad Tom Hanks, the idea of potential movies about other childhood icons began to circulate. But then actress Ellen Barkin inserted herself into the conversation by dropping this bomb on Twitter:

“I’m informing you now…Captain Kangaroo told me to go f—k myself. Shari Lewis refused to shake the hand of my then 6yo son. Don’t try to make a movie about those child-hating frauds.”

(There were also three fire emojis, so you know this is serious.)

Now, there haven’t been any major developments beyond this opening salvo as of press time. One imagines that there’s potential for some real fireworks going forward, so don’t be surprised if we wind up coming back to this well again in the next week or two. It’s the sort of item that we can only hope has legs, because talking about this will be FUN.

Here’s the joy of it – it’s already awesome. Just the thought of Captain Kangaroo cursing at Ellen Barkin, the mental image of Lambchop leaving a six-year-old child hanging … it’s magnificent. Just the sort of petty bullcrap that we absolutely adore here at Celebrity Slam.

But while Barkin had yet to elaborate (though she promises to do so soon), plenty of other people on Twitter proved willing to talk about how they too had been wronged by one of the accused. Granted, most of the stories tended toward shots at the Captain – including at least one from someone who claimed to be a former employee and stated that he “wasn’t a very nice man” and another claiming that Captain Kangaroo had testified against her in a court case when she was four. Most of the Lewis/Lambchop stuff revolved around rudeness and/or a perceived inferiority complex regarding the puppet’s success.

Look, we’re not here to ruin anyone’s childhoods, but let’s be real – after we found out that Mr. Rogers was basically on the up-and-up, that he really was that dude we saw on TV, what were the odds that other kiddie-show hosts would be the same? Is anyone really surprised to find out that Captain Kangaroo was kind of a jerk? Or that Shari Lewis was weirdly jealous of her sock? Or that either one of them really didn’t like children very much?

Obviously, we can only hope that the details of just how terrible these people really flow now that the dam has been broken. Sure, we love a story of a guy like Fred Rogers, someone who walks the walk just as he talks the talk. But even more fun is the idea of hearing decades worth of tales from people who are only too happy to tell you just why Captain Kangaroo is the worst and how much Lambchop kinda sucks.

No one could have predicted that Ellen Barkin would be the whistleblower revealing the jackassery of old kiddie-show hosts, but hey – we’re just glad she did it.


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