Howdy Doody toy marionette

Howdy Doody toy marionette

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This toy Howdy Doody puppet was made by Puppet Playthings, Inc. during the 1950s. Authentically costumed with sliding eyes, a moving mouth, and six-inch strings, Howdy Doody puppets became a popular children’s toy during the 1950s. From 1947 to 1960, The Howdy Doody Show was the leading children’s TV program in the United States. The creator of the Howdy Doody character, “Buffalo” Bob Smith, first performed him as a radio character. When the show transitioned to TV, Frank Paris created the new puppet, but left the show (with the puppet) in 1948 to disputes over merchandising rights. Velma Dawson created the now-ubiquitous Howdy Doody that debuted in 1949. This Howdy Doody became popular spokes character, hawking sponsored products on the show or in print. The show’s characters were also licensed and sold in a variety of products and toys.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
1947 - 1960
Peter Puppet Playthings, Inc.
previous owner
Rollins, Hazelle H.
Peter Puppet Playthings, Inc.
place made
United States
Associated Place
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
plastic (overall material)
wood (overall material)
string (overall material)
cardboard (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 16 in x 5 3/4 in x 3 1/2 in; 40.64 cm x 14.605 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Anne W. and John W. Rollins, Jr.
Radio and television broadcasting
Television broadcasts
Children's television programs
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Popular Entertainment
American Enterprise
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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I loved Howdy Doody so much! Christmas when I was six I got this Howdy Doody marionette. I was really too little for it, I could not hold my hand and arm high enough and so it went on the top shelf of the bookshelves in my room so I could not reach it for fear I would tangle the strings….There it remained for three years apparently forgotten by anyone tall enough to get it down and remained even when the movers came to move us from College Station Texas, to Washington D C. I never got to see or play with my Howdy Doody ever again. I always wondered if the people who bought our house had children and if he was ever played with or cared for….But how nice it is to see these pictures and remember.
I have a Howdy Doody marionette from my childhood. I delighted in your photographs of him and the package. In reading your description of Howdy, I would like to clarify his construction materials. 1. Only his boot tops and belt are a pliable plastic. 2. His head, hands, and feet/boots are molded: coarse sawdust and glue of some sort. 3. The sleeve garters may be plastic or fabric. I do not have Howdy nearby to verify either way. Thank you for publishing and preserving such pure Americana.

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