MIGOSH! WHERE DO we begin? It's truly incredible to think of how much we really do recall about a series of so long ago. It is even more unbelievable when one considers that when we viewed much of this, the age was about 4 or 5 years old!
IT WAS AN important part of the afternoon routine at the Ryan household of 1950 (when we got our first TV set) to 1952 (we moved into our won house) and beyond. Because of this early and elementary introduction, the show and its characters had a very profound effect on our development.
ODDLY ENOUGH, DUE to our family's explanation of things, we understood that all we saw on the show was make believe. Our Mom and Dad, as well as older Sister Joanne, clued us in as to the fact that the people we saw were Actors, who portrayed the participants of the festivities on the show.
AND WHAT A GRAND cast of characters it truly was! In addition to the marionette main character, Howdy Doody, himself, there were a number of other supporting puppets. The action was provided by: Mr. Phineas T. Bluster (Howdy's elderly nemesis), Flubadub (a crazy-quilt of an animal*), Dilly Dally (a lackadaisical boy), Captain Scuttlebutt (Dilly Dally's uncle and Tugboat Operator) and others.
LIVE ACTION REAL actors who were featured mainly consisted of some whom portrayed multiple roles. For example, we have: Judy Tyler** as Indian Princess Summerfall Winterspring, Robert Keeshin (Future Captain Kangaroo) as the original Clarabelle the Clown and Chief Featherman of the Tinka-Tonka tribe (the Princess'father), with Bill Le Cornec taking the versatility honors with a triple assignment of renegade Chief Thunderthud (of the Ooragnak tribe & often ally of Mr. Bluster), Dr. Singasong (visiting 'trubador' and look alike for Mandrake the Magician) as well as Oil Well Willie (old coot of a Prospector).
THERE ARE CERTAIN incidents that we well remember, without benefit of any refresher. There was a continuity called "The Search for the Golden Goat" (a treasure hunt).
THE SHOW'S MOVING from the original Howdy Doody Circus setting to "Doodyville" was particularly memorable, if mean spirited. In it, Howdy said that Mr. Bluster could have the Circus for his own. But as that day's show was closing, a wrecking crew was "tearing down" the set! Can you say "CRUELTY?"
THE CREATOR, ONE 'Buffalo Bob' Smith served as host and did have some time off for recuperation from a heart attack (when he was temporarily replaced with one 'Bison Bill') Although Bob (born Robert Schmidt) sported a costume that was patterned after a buckskin outfit, he was not truly a man of the Old West. He derived the name from having been born and raised in Buffalo, NY!
THE ENTERPRISING AND versatile Mr. Smith also provided the voice for the wooden-headed Howdy!
NOTE: * The "Flubadub" was a combination of many animals; having the ears of a cocker spaniel, flippers of a turtle, etc. It was sort of like a fictional version of a Platypus!
NOTE ** Judy Tyler was killed in a car accident in 1957. At age 24 she was just embarking on a promising career; having just co-starred with Elvis in JAILHOUSE ROCK!
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