Howdy Doody

Howdy Doody

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From 1947 to 1960, The Howdy Doody Show was the leading children’s TV program. Each episode opened with the 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 the Howdy Doody character, “Buffalo” Bob Smith, first performed him as a radio character. When the show transitioned to TV, Frank Paris transformed the voice into a puppet. In 1948, disputes over merchandising rights led to Frank Paris taking the original puppet with him. Velma Dawson created this new style of Howdy Doody puppet that debuted in 1949 after a break for “plastic surgery.” NBC retained the rights to the Howdy Doody name, and Bob Smith continued to voice the puppet. This object was one of three puppets made for the show.
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Rose, Rufus
Smith, Bob
Neil, Milt
Rufus Rose Marionettes
Rose, Rufus
Rose, Margo
Dawson, Velma
Rufus Rose Marionettes
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
wood, pine (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
paint (overall material)
fabric (overall material)
string (overall material)
overall: 34 1/2 in x 8 in x 7 in; 87.63 cm x 20.32 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Margo Rose
Radio and television broadcasting
Television broadcasts
Children's television programs
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Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Popular Entertainment
American Enterprise
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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To learn more about Howdy Doody, the TV and the radio shows, and collectibles and to view rare Video footage of the TV program and rare audio of the radio show, visit “The Doodyville Historical Society” on Facebook. The organization was founded in 1978.

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