Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Original Howdy Doody

an anonymous blog viewer came across a previous post about Howdy Doody and offered to send along an image of his original Howdy Doody button:
This is the Howdy Doody button I got in 1947 or 1948, showing Howdy’s original appearance. The original marionette was designed and owned by Frank Paris who operated the puppet on the show. After 6 months there was a contract dispute between Paris and NBC, and Paris left the show with the puppet. Smith’s lawyer said the puppet could not be replaced with a look-alike, although Smith did own the rights to the puppet’s name. The next day the show opened with Howdy’s head swathed in bandages. Bob Smith explained to the TV audience that Howdy was having his face lifted and in a few weeks the bandages would be removed. This gave Smith time to have a new puppet designed by a former Walt Disney artist. In March 1948 the bandages came off and the new Howdy was revealed to the world as an all-American boy with red hair and 48 freckles – one freckle for each state of the union. I am sure you and your Knickerbocker Village blogsters will enjoy this bit of old-time trivia that hardly anyone seems to remember.


Marie S said...

David I am so happy to see this article on the "Original" Howdy Doody. I am 70 years old, and always watched HD in the 40's. I remember him when he got his face changed. I was thrilled to see the photo of the HD button with his original hair and face! I try to tell people that the current face is not his original, and they don't believe I can prove it. Thank you so much, I am glad I found this article!!!

Ronald Goldwyn said...

I still have my original button, while my wife was a one time visitor to the Peanut Gallery.
The oldest Kid TV show was the Small fry Club on TV Channel #5 (WABD) Allen B. Dumont 1946 sponsored by Fisher's Buttercup Bread. I was member #1902.

Anonymous said...

I also totally remember that Buffalo Bob told us that Howdy was having a facelift, which as a small child I found to be a basically insane idea!
Though I don't remember him originally looking like the button pictured, I would have said he looked a bit blander and more "normal"and came back from his facelift markedly worse-looking.

For the record, I never really warmed up to him either way.

Virginia in NY

Anonymous said...

Wow - I just posted on Eastern Parkway Memories that i could just barely remember this original face but couldn't find a picture of it. THANKS! BTW I am from Crown Hts but my aunt and uncle (still alive) lived in KV and later my grandma moved there from Ludlow St.