“The Howdy Doody” television show first aired in 1947. Howdy was a marionette and he and Buffalo Bob Smith were the stars of the show. Howdy Doody had red hair and 48 freckles, one for each state in the union. Howdy was always smiling.
Children loved Howdy and all the other marionettes on the show. Buffalo Bob talked and reacted to them as if they were real, and the children watching did the same.
Some of the other characters in Doodyville were, Phineas T. Bluster, the mayor and Howdy’s arch nemesis. Dilly Dally was Bluster’s side-kick. Dally would wiggle his ear when upset. Flub-a-dub was a mixture of several animals. There were also Native Americans Chief Thunderthud and Princess Summerfall Winterspring. The Princess started as a puppet but was then played by live actress Judy Tyler.
Chief Thunderthud of the Ooragnak tribe (Kangaroo spelled backwards) was the first to introduce the word “Kawabonga” in the American vocabulary.
Another character in the show was Clarabell Hornblow the clown. Clarabell and his mischievous ways usually caused problems in Doodyville. But these were usually in for form of fun-loving slapstick. He never spoke but honked a horn and pantomimed to communicate. One of the most famous moments of the show was in the final program when Clarbell said, “Goodbye Kids”. It was the only time he spoke in the history of the show. Clarabell was played by Bob Keeshan who later became Captain Kangaroo.
Eddie Kean wrote the scripts and songs until 1954. After that, Willie Gilbert and Jack Weinstock were the writers.
There were always technological wonder on the Howdy Doody show. These included the Electromindomizer that read minds. The Honkadoodle translated the honks of Mother Goose into English.
Howdy Doody ran for president of kids in 1948. They offered campaign buttons and gave away 60,000. This offered an educational element to the show as it taught children how government works and how elections are held. The producers used the educational aspect of the show to not only promote the program, but to sell television sets. No one wanted their child to be the only one missing out on the educational benefits of television!
In 1955 “The Howdy Doody” show became the first NBC daily show to be shown in color. The show also had a popular Cuban and Canadian version using local actors. The Canadian included Timber Tom played by Robert Goulet.
The show ended in September, 1960 after 2,343 programs.
Not only was Howdy Doody a popular television show, but he was also in comic book, on record albums, wind-up toys, t-shirts, lunch boxes and numerous other items.
For those interested in collecting pieces of American Icons, Howdy Doody should be first on the list. Howdy Doody can now be purchased at the Ventriloquist Store. These are working figures with a string to operate the movement of the mouth. They’re wonderful for those wanting to learn the art of ventriloquism. They’re also perfect for collectors. Many people like to decorate media or game rooms with these dolls. Start your collection today and own a piece of American Television History.