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"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
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.
The words to the Howdy Doody song went like this:
It's Howdy Doody time, It's Howdy Doody time, Bob Smith and Howdy, too, Say, "Howdy Doo" 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!!!
Flub-a-dub was a strange little character, shaped more or less like someone's slipper. Flub's song went something like this:
Meatballs, meatballs, meatballs, meatballs, I love some meatballs, meatballs, meatballs and spaghetti, I'm always ready, to eat spaghetti.
Phineas T.Bluster had a brother or cousin who lived in South America, whose name was Don Jose Bluster. Don Jose introduced a mystery on the show--the mystery of L.L.L.L.L., which eventually was revealed to refer to the Lucky Left Leg of the Lima Llama.
Several have made comments here that pertain to the US version, which
is listed in the IMDb as "Puppet Playhouse," though I do not recall it
ever being called that.
Its host, Robert Goulet, passed away this week, and according to "Buffalo Bob" Smith, before his passing 1998, they had remained good friends although their careers took different paths.
It is interesting to see that other stars sprung from the series, on both sides of the border.
The original Clarabell, the clown, on the US side was, of course, Bob Keeshan, who moved on to become the beloved, "Captain Kangaroo."
Upon Keeshan's passing a few years ago, the one remaining recognizable star from the franchise, is, of course, William Shatner.
He seemed to have made his television debut in this series, playing to the "peanut gallery," but soon became established as a "serious" actor from the "Golden Age" of live television in the 50's, through, of course, the Star Trek series, until his award-winning, though not-so-serious, performances on "Boston Legal," today.
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