There’s so much stuff out on the Web, sometimes it’s hard to tell fact from fiction.
Occasionally folks send me a well-circulated email that starts “You never would have guessed” and purports to reveal the amazing war records of Lee Marvin, Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo) and “wimpy little” Mr. Rogers of the PBS children’s show.
According to this message, which has had a long shelf life, Marvin was a Marine who won the Navy Cross on Iwo Jima. He told Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show he served under Keeshan, “the bravest man I ever knew.” Mr. Rogers “was a U.S. Navy SEAL combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name.”
The writer goes on to say the real heroes “are the ones you’d least suspect.”
His story appears to have amazed and impressed many readers. Several years ago, I heard a Marine veteran mention the Lee Marvin-Captain Kangaroo connection in a speech to a veterans group. He had accepted it as the truth.
Trouble is, it’s all a lot of hooey, to borrow a term from the World War II generation.
You can get the lowdown on myth-buster website snopes.com. Here’s the link to the page that explains the origin of the misinformation in detail and sets the record straight: http://www.snopes.com/military/celebrities/leemarvin.asp
As you’ll see, Marvin and Keeshan didn’t fight together on Iwo Jima. Marvin was a Marine, but he was wounded in the butt on Saipan. He didn’t participate in the Iwo Jima battle and didn’t receive a Navy Cross. Keeshan joined the Marine Corps too late to see any action in World War II. And Rogers never served in the military.
It goes back to this: Don’t believe everything you read on the Web. Make sure you use authoritative sources.