"Tra la la boom de ah" became "It's Howdy Doody Time" and millions of kids tuned in to watch Buffalo Bob Smith and the Peanut Gallery. I was ten years old when I first watched the show. Many characters and shows I vaguely recall. There was Chief Thunderthud and a later impostor Chief Thundersuds who turned out to be Chief Thunderchicken, once exposed by Buffalo Bob. Princess Summerfall Winterspring added class and beauty to the show. Clarabell with his honking (no speech)-maybe inspired by Harpo Marx- was usually mischievous and sometimes downright mean with his seltzer bottle. The cantankerous Phineas T. Bluster never had a happy day. The old salt Cap'n Scuttlebutt could spin a yarn or two. Howdy's friend Dilly Dally was usually around. I was never quite sure about the Flub-a-Dub. The combination of real people and marionettes was inventive and creative for the early days of television.
Kids of all ages were also introduced to the magic world of silent comedy. Buffalo Bob tended to favor Charlie Chase. Maybe his silents were cheaper and easier to obtain. "Old Time Movie Time" was a special feature of the show, worthwhile and educational. In the absence of sound, Buffalo Bob served as narrator and commentator. He explained what was taking place and pointed out different comics who appeared.
Buffalo Bob would begin by saying to the camera, "Hey kids what time is it?" and the Peanut Gallery would shout, "It's Howdy Doody Time." Then the theme song would be sung by all. At times Buffalo Bob would sit with the Peanuts and interview some of them. Later on in life after "Howdy Doody Time" was but a memory, Buffalo Bob made a good living touring the country and telling stories (a few of them apocryphal) about the show and what went on behind the scenes. For us kids growing up in the 50's, "Howdy Doody" was an afternoon delight indeed.
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