Claremore Daily Progress

Community News

June 21, 2014

Hey kids, what time is it?


It’s Howdy Doody Time,
It’s Howdy Doodle Time
Bob Smith and Howdy too
Say Howdy-Do to you
These were magic words to hear if you were a child growing up in the early 1950’s and fortunate to have a television in the home.  It meant the young viewer was on his or her way to Doodyland.  
The Howdy Doody Show was one of the earliest and by far most popular children’s television shows.  It featured a combination of slapstick, broad comedy and fantasy geared for the young viewers, but enjoyed by adults alike.
Headed by the 17-inch tall string puppet, Howdy, the cast wonderfully combined puppets with humans.  At the beginning the 30-minute show was on five times a week.  It later switched to Saturday mornings only.  In both cases the program offered fun-filled entertainment.
It all started the last week of December 1947.  Bob Smith, a Buffalo, New York radio children’s show host, was asked to come up with a puppet show for television.  At the time there were barely 20,000 TV sets.  He had one week to prepare for the first broadcast.
A puppet was quickly obtained, but it didn’t fit the style of an all-American kid.  As a result Howdy Doody didn’t appear on the first three shows.  Now known as Buffalo Bob, the host explained his young pal Howdy was bashful.  
He hid in a desk drawer.  The viewers at home and the kids seated in the Peanut Gallery on the set could hear Howdy talking, but didn’t see him.
The new Howdy puppet was perfect.  Red hair, freckles, a wide smile, and decked out in a cowboy outfit, Howdy quickly recovered from being shy.  It can be noted here that Howdy had exactly 48 freckles; one for each U.S. state.  Remember this was before statehood for Alaska and Hawaii.

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