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

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Comments (5)
Heather - October 25, 2019
I have a Flub-a-Dub marionette in it's original box and both are in really good condition. No chips on paint, cloth is all in perfect condition, and even the strings are fine and original. I am interested in finding out its value and would like to sell it. Do you know anyone that might be interested? I would appreciate any information you could provide.
Can't find much info, sorry. One box was sold (without marionette) on eBay for 15 USD and I found this page.
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?
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!
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.
Depending on state (also boxed, manufacturer etc.) and demand I guess 100 to 250 USD