The Howdy Doody Show

by Don Bell
(Peterborough, Canada)

Howdy Doody 1949

Howdy Doody 1949

What time is it? It's Howdy Doody Time!

Do you remember the Howdy Doody Show?

The show was broadcast on NBC in the U.S. from December 1947, until September 1060. It was one of the first shows produced in color back in 1956.

The kid's show with its "Peanut Gallery" full of enthusiastic children featured Buffalo Bob (Bob Smith) as host, along with a cast of endearing puppets: Howdy Doody, Heidi Doody, Phineas T. Bluster, Princess Summerfall Winterspring, Flub-a-Dub, Dilly Dally, and others including several animal puppets.

Meanwhile, since the Howdy Doody Show was franchised in other countries, it was broadcast on CBC in Canada from November 1954, until June 1959.

The Canadian show with its northern theme featured a forest ranger as host, Timber Tom (Peter Mews), along with Princess Pan of the Forest (Maxine Miller, Toby Tarnow) and a cast of puppets, some that would be familiar to U.S. viewers: Howdy Doody, Heidi Doody, Phineas T. Bluster, Dilly Dally, Flub-a-Dub, along with Percival (a parrot), and Mister X (a time traveler who shared educational snippets from history).

Capt'n Scuttlebutt was played in Canada by live actor Larry Mann, whereas the American pirate character was a puppet. Larry Mann went on to have roles and numerous guest appearances on TV shows such as Dukes of Hazzard (Boss Hickman), Gunsmoke, and How the West Was Won. Movie classics In the Heat of the Night (1967) and The Sting (1973) were two of his more prominent film roles.

The Canadian show's Clarabell the Clown character was played by Alfie Scopp who later played the bookseller Avram in the classic 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof. I got to meet Clarabell at the Simpsons-Sears department store in Peterborough when he once made a promotional appearance. He waved and honked his horn at me! What a thrill for a young boy. He was, though, a little scary.

Ranger Bob was an early character on the CBC Howdy Doody show in 1954. He was played by William Shatner who after an episode or two eventually went on to become Star Trek's Captain Kirk. And, it's rumored that James Doohan (Star Trek's Scotty) was the show's first host for a brief while before Peter Mews was given the permanent role, but that has never substantiated.

Sponsor ads from back in the day revealed that Howdy's favorite treat was Marshmallow Crispy Squares, and he's not alone. Crispy Squares were always a favorite treat at Halloween and Christmas time at our house.

Click the link below for the recipe, along with other recipes for easy no-bake squares that Howdy would love including Nanaimo Bars, Chocolate Cream Bars, Mock Strawberries, Butterfinger® Squares, and more.

Get Retro No-Bake Squares Recipes

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