Howdy Doody was a television program for children that was created and produced by E. Roger Muir and broadcast on NBC in the USA from 1947 until 1960. It set the pattern for many similar shows, because itwas a pioneer in children's programming. It was also a pioneer in early color production as NBC used the show in part to sell color television sets in the 1950s.

Howdy Doody himself was a boy marionette (with 48 freckles, one for each state of the union), and was originally voiced by Buffalo Bob Smith.

The Howdy Doody show's various marionettes were created and built by puppeteers Scott Brinker, Velma Wayne Dawson and Rufus Rose throughout the show's run. The redheaded Howdy marionette on the original show was operated with 11 strings: two head, one mouth, one eyes, two shoulders, one back, two hands and two knees. Three strings were added when the show returned - two elbows and one nose.

There were also other marionettes: Flub-a-dub and the brothers of Phineas T.: Don José and Hector Hamhock Bluster.

Other characters in the show

Howdy Doody dolls are/were made by: Danbury Mint, Madame Alexander, Knickerbocker, Ideal and others. There are also Howdy Doody ventriloquist puppets.

As both the character and television program grew in popularity, demand for Howdy Doody-related merchandise began to surface. By 1948, toymakers and department stores had been approached with requests for Howdy Doody dolls and similar items. Macy's department store contacted Frank Paris, the creator of the puppet, to ask about rights for a Howdy Doody doll. However, while Paris had created the puppet, Bob Smith owned the rights to the character. An argument ensued between the two men, Paris claiming he felt he was being cheated out of any financial benefits. After one such disagreement, Paris took the puppet and angrily left the NBC studios about four hours before the show was to air live. It was not the first time this happened, leaving the live program with no "star".

Source and more history: Wikipedia.

Updated: 20 april 2019

Howdy Doody value and price guide

What's your 'Howdy Doody' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA):

Item Title Date sold Price
1940 S Unique Art Bob Smith Tin Wind Up May 2019 $ 500,00
Tall Pez Cookie Jar Porcelain Feb 2019 $ 374,99
Unique Art Bob Piano Wind Up Toy Near May 2019 $ 400,00
Super Deluxe Upgrade Ventriloquist Dummy May 2019 $ 359,99
20 Zip Chimp From Show Plush Monkey In May 2019 $ 373,00

Take a look at all sold Howdy Doody items on eBay for a value indication. If you're not sure what you have, you can post your question below.


Do you want to dive into the fascinating world of collectibles, and want to learn about value and identification? Discover more with these price guides on Amazon.

Howdy Doody forum (4 comments)

: (first name only)
(will not be displayed/shared)

Tom - April 27, 2019

I recently viewed 50's Howdy Doody marionettes on ebay and noticed that on everyone listed the hands were 1 molded piece. I have a 50's marionette from my childhood whose hands have fully separate fingers. Any explanation?
►reply: Good question! Haven't encountered one either! Maybe another visitor has some explanation...

Lauren - April 18, 2019

My brother and I were on the Howdy Doody show in 1952. We each received a Howdy Doody Ventriloquist doll which had 38 freckles. I still have both dolls and there are only 38 freckles on each. I just recounted them!
►reply: That's amazing Lauren! Thanks for sharing. Treasure your dolls!

Yolanda - December 25, 2013

i recieved a puppet with a howdy doody doll the puppet i got was a pig like it had a yellow handle in it the mouth moved big eyes black shoes and the puppet was made in china

Tammy - November 18, 2010

What is 1948 howdy doody doll worth? ex cond.
►reply: Depending on state (also boxed, manufacturer etc.) and demand I guess 100 to 250 USD