Howdy Doody was a kids TV show about Buffalo Bob and his friends (who were both live characters and marionettes) at a circus for the first two seasons, and then, in the town of Doodyville. There was a live audience section that regularly allowed the at home audience to see the reactions to Buffalo Bob and Howdy Doody's antics on the faces of delighted children. It was the first nationwide broadcast of a children's TV show!
Howdy Doody Show Cast
Bob Smith .... Buffalo Bob
Bob Keeshan .... Clarabell (1947-1953)
Bobby "Nick" Nicholson .... Clarabell (1953-1955) / Cornelius Cobb
Lew Anderson .... Clarabell (1955-1957)
Gil Lamb .... Clarabell (One Episode Only in 1953)
William Shatner .... Ranger Bob (1954)
Bill LeCornec .... Chief Thunderthud
Dayton Allen .... Chief Thunderchicken
Judy Tyler .... Princess Summerfall Winterspring #1 (1949-1953)
Linda Marsh .... Princess Summerfall Winterspring #2 (1953-1957)
Ted Brown .... Bison Bill
James Doohan .... Timber Tom
Larry Mann .... Cap'n Scuttlebutt / Flub-a-Dub
Rhoda Mann .... Flub-A-Dub
Jean Cavall .... La Touke / Papa
Robert Goulet .... Trapper Pierre
Eric House .... Willow #1
Barbara Hamilton .... Willow #2
Caryl McBain .... Princess Haida
Peter Mews .... Timber Tom
Maxine Miller Gerrard .... Princess Pan of the Forest
Mary Anne Heartline .... Herself
Claude Rae .... Howdy Doody #1 / Phineas T. Buster / Mr. X
Jacqueline White .... Howdy Doody #2
Dayton Allen .... Phineas T. Bluster / Inspector John J. Fadoozle / Ugly Sam the Wrestler
Dayton Allen .... Lanky Lou the Cowhand / Pierre the Chef / Sir Archibald the Explorer
Bill LeCornec .... Dilly Dally / Oil Well Willie
Norma MacMillan .... Heidi Doody
Donna Miller .... Prunella Bluster / Heidi Doody
Jack Mather .... Various characters
Howdy Doody Show Trivia
Buffalo Bob Smith first introduced Howdy Doody on the radio show titled, "The Triple B Ranch Show". On that show the character was called "Elmer" and he would say hello by exclaiming, "Howdy Doody"!
The Howdy Doody Show was originally called "The Puppet Playhouse" with a circus-type theme. In 1949, the theme was changed to a group of characters who lived in a town called "Doodyville. Many new characters were added, some were dropped, Princess Summerfall Winterspring was changed from a marionette to a real live person and the name of the series became The Howdy Doody Show. The series has also been popularly referred to as simply "Howdy Doody" and "The Buffalo Bob Show".
The Howdy Doody Show was the first TV show to be aired in color (starting in 1955!). It was the first children's series to be broadcast nationwide. It was the first NBC series to air five days per week. And finally, it was the first with more than 1,000 continuous episodes for a total of 2343 episodes during its 13-year run!
There were several Howdy Doody marionettes. Buffalo Bob kept one on display in a glass case in his home until his death. There is on in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. that's called "Double Doody". Double Doody was actually Howdy's evil twin brother on the show. Another one called "Photo Doody" was in the office of a former executive producer of the Howdy Doody Show when, in 1983, vandals broke in and chopped off its head!
Howdy Doody did not make an appearance on the first show because the marionette had not been finished in time. Instead, Buffalo Bob Smith pretended that the puppet was in a box!
When the owner of the Howdy Doody marionette demanded that he get all rights to merchandising of Howdy Doody products, NBC said NO WAY! The following month, a new marionette appeared with a somewhat different look!
Bob Keeshan who was the first "Clarabell the Clown" on the Howdy Doody Show went on to become the first "Captain Kangaroo"! Bob started in show business as a page at NBC when he was still in High School. He served in the Marine Corps during World War II. After leaving his role as Clarabell, Bob tried an apprenticeship as an undertaker for a while but quickly gave that up when offered the role of Captain Kangaroo!
His role as Ranger Bob on the Howdy Doody Show was William Shatner's second acting role! Who would have guessed that his acting credits would grow to nearly 200 by 2010! Since that day Shatner has also starred on five additional TV series: "Barbary Coast", "Star Trek", "Tekwar", "T.J. Hooker", "Boston Legal" and "$#*! My Dad Says"!
In 1954, Buffalo Bob Smith suffered a heart attack in 1954. Bison Bill and Gabby Hayes took his place as hosts for a short time until his return in 1955.
Clarabell never spoke on the show until after the closing credits of the very final episode! Even then, while nearly in tears, all Clarabell said was, "Goodbye, Kids". Clarabell would communicate on the show by using two horns. Honking one of them meant "Yes" and honking the other meant "No".
Unlike many of the series of that day that had only one sponser, companies were begging to sponsor the Howdy Doody Show! Among them were Blue Bonnet Margarine, Colgate, Continental Baking, Ideal toys, Kellogg's cereals, Luden's, Mars candy, Nabisco cereals, Ovaltine, Palmolive, Poll-Parrot Shoes, Royal Pudding, Welch's Grape Juice, an Wonder Bread.
Dayton Allen who besides playing the part of "Chief Thunderchicken", also did many of the Howdy Doody Show's puppet's voices, went on after the series to do the voices for Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, and Deputy Dawg ... to name a few!
Judy Tyler (Princess Summerfall Winterspring) left the Howdy Doody Show in 1953. She went on to star in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, "Pipe Dream". That role got her on the cover of Life Magazine. She barely completed the movie, "Jailhouse Rock", where she co-starred with Elvis Presley when she was killed in a car accident along with her second husband whom she had become married only 17 days prior to her death. Elvis Presley is rumored to have become infatuated with Judy Tyler while filming "Jailhouse Rock" and could not bring himself to watch the film because of her death!
The area where the live audience sat was referred to by the cast as "The Peanut Gallery".
By 1957, The Howdy Doody Show was becoming somewhat dated. Newer, more up-to-date shows like the "Mickey Mouse Club" were drawing away its juvenile audience. Sponsors left, one-by-one, and the series was canceled.
In 1976, "The New Howdy Doody Show" came to the airwaves as a syndicated series. It again starred Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody and ran two seasons for 130 episodes!
Title: "Howdy Doody"
Written By: "Edward Keane"
Performed By: "Buffalo Bob Smith"
(Buffalo Bob): "Say kids, what time is it"?
(Kids): "It's Howdy Doody Time"!
It's Howdy Doody Time.
It's Howdy Doody Time.
Bob Smith and Howdy Do
say Howdy Do to you.
Let's give a rousing cheer,
'cause Howdy Doody's here,
It's time to start the show,
so kids let's go!
1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000+
Action Comedy Drama Fantasy/Horror For Kids
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