Howdy Doody marionette


This is one of the three original Howdy Doody marionettes used in production of Howdy Doody, one of the most popular and influential children’s television series in American history. In its original run from 1947 to 1960, each episode opened with the voiceover question "Say, kids, what time is it?" Resounding from the peanut gallery—and from millions of television-watching kids around the country—came the reply, "It's Howdy Doody time!"

The creator of Howdy Doody, “Buffalo” Bob Smith, first performed the character on his WNBC radio show. When the show transitioned to TV, puppet builder Frank Paris created a marionette to match the voice. In 1948, a dispute over merchandising rights led Frank Paris to leave the show and take the original puppet with him. Velma Dawson created this new style of Howdy Doody puppet that debuted on June 8, 1948 after a break for “plastic surgery.” Throughout the series run on NBC, Bob Smith voiced the puppet, usually through recordings made before the show, while Margo and Rufus Rose were primarily responsible for building, maintaining, and performing the marionettes.

This particular Howdy Doody was known as "Double Doody" - being the second of this type made for the production. This marionette was most often used as a stand-in for the main marionette when needed, and in long shots. The marionette's body is made of pine and the head is made of plastic wood. Howdy's face is painted with 48 freckles - one for each state in the union at the time of his creation.

Date Made: 1949

User: Rose, RufusNBCSmith, BobDesigner: Neil, MiltUser: Rufus Rose MarionettesMaker: Rose, RufusRose, MargoDawson, VelmaRufus Rose Marionettes

Place Made: United States: New York, New York City

General Subject Association: PuppetryTelevisionSubject: Radio and television broadcastingTelevision broadcastsChildren's television programs


See more items in: Culture and the Arts: Entertainment, Popular Entertainment, Puppets, American Enterprise

Exhibition: Entertainment Nation

Exhibition Location: National Museum of American History

Credit Line: Gift of Margo Rose

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1980.0123.01Accession Number: 1980.0123Catalog Number: 1980.0123.01

Object Name: puppet

Physical Description: wood, pine (overall material)plastic (overall material)paint (overall material)fabric (overall material)string (overall material)Measurements: overall: 34 1/2 in x 8 in x 7 in; 87.63 cm x 20.32 cm x 17.78 cm


Record Id: nmah_670111

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