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|10-26-2008, 03:54 PM||#1|
I Love Susie
Join Date: Oct 18, 2005
Location: South Carolina
HOWDY DOODY SHOW Biographies
O.K. Here's one more Howdy Doody-related thread. I thought it would be
interesting to post some little-known facts about the people behind both the
live-action characters and the puppets on the show.
DAYTON ALLEN, born in 1914, was hired in 1949 to operate and speak for the Phineas T. Bluster
marionette. He went on to play the live characters Sir Archibald, Ugly Sam, Pierre the Chef, and
also was the voice and puppeteer of Flub-a-Dub, Inspector John J. Fedoozle, and others. He was
also the voice of Terrytoon cartoon characters Heckle & Jeckle and Deputy Dawg and was one of
the regulars on Steve Allen's TV show ("Whyyyy not?" was his popular catch phrase on that show).
He passed away in 2004, at age 85.
LEW ANDERSON was the third and last Clarabell the Clown, from 1955 on. He was also the voice
of Tommy the Turtle. Lew was a member of the Honey Dreamers, appearing on the Dave Garroway,
Bob Smith, Kay Kyser, and Steve Allen shows. He was the director of the Lew Anderson All-
American Band and appeared as Clarabell in malls and parades. He died in 2006, at age 84.
MARTI BARRIS, born in 1938, played Peppi Mint, a vivacious teenager, starting in December 1955.
She also appeared as a regular on Comedy Tonight and Bert Convy's show. She was the daughter
of song writer Harry Barris and sang with Bing Crosby and Paul Whiteman's Orchestra in the '50s.
ARLENE DALTON played the Story Princess and was the voice of Heidi Doody. She died in 1986.
GINA GENARDI, born in 1938, replaced Judy Tyler as Princess Summerfall Winterspring. She was
initially introduced as Papoose Gina Runningwater on Jan. 26, 1954. She left the show in 1955.
GEORGE "GABBY" HAYES (1885-1969) substituted for Buffalo Bob (after his heart attack) and
was a frequent guest on the show. Most of his career he was a sidekick for cowboys like Roy
Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and John Wayne. He had his own NBC Saturday morning
BOB KEESHAN (1928-2004) began working as an NBC pageboy in 1944. He met Buffalo Bob
after two years of military service. He ran errands for Buffalo Bob and was eventually assigned to
carry props on stage. Buffalo Bob decided to dress him as a clown in 1948, and he was the first
Clarabell (1948-1952). He became Captain Kangaroo on the long-running CBS show, in 1955.
BILL LeCORNEC (1915- ?) was hired to operate Dilly Dally and be his voice in 1949. He also
played the live characters Chief Thunderthud, Dr. Singasong, and Oil Well Willie.
PINKY LEE (1908-1993) substituted for Buffalo Bob after his heart attack. He also starred in his
own popular NBC Saturday morning show (1954-1956).
ROBERT "NICK" NICHOLSON (1918-1993) was a musician hired in October 1952 to assist with
the music for the TV and radio programs and was introduced as the second Clarabell, a role he
played from 1953 to 1955. He also played storekeeper Cornelius Cobb and voiced puppets
Sandra Witch, Flub-a-Dub, Mr. Bluster, Capt. Scuttlebutt and John J. Fedoozle. In 1976, he
helped write The New Howdy Doody Show.
ROBERT E. SMITH (1917-1998), musician/actor, radio personality, played piano, organ, drums,
and most brass and reed instruments. In 1946 he was hired by NBC to emcee his own early
morning radio show. He created the Howdy Doody character on the Triple B Ranch radio show
on Saturday mornings in March 1947. On Dec. 27, 1947, he hosted the first
Puppet Playhouse TV show--later called The Howdy Doody Show. The character Elmer was Bob's friend who was so
shy, he hid in his desk. He developed the Howdy Doody character successfully into the TV
phenomenon it later became. Smith retained the rights for the Buffalo Bob character [which may
explain his conspicuous absence from the comic books, Little Golden Books, and most other
merchandise]. After the show was cancelled in 1960, he appeared at over 300 colleges (from
1970-1976), where the Howdy Doody alumni wanted to "relive their happy, carefree, childhood
days." From 1972 he appeared with Clarabell (Lew Anderson) in shopping malls. Later he
appeared at antique shows, malls, TV commercials, and in parades throughout the country.
ALLEN SWIFT, born in 1924, replaced Dayton Allen as the voices of Mr. Bluster, Flub-a-Dub,
and others from 1952 to 1956. During Buffalo Bob's absence from his heart attack in 1955, he
even voiced Howdy Doody. He left the program in May 1956 and subsequently hosted The Popeye Show, in New York City. Known as "the man of 1,000 voices," he has done several
TV commercials and cartoon voiceovers (including Odie Colognie, Itchy Brother, Tooter
Turtle, Simon Bar Sinister, and Riff Raff for Total TV and several voices in Rankin/Bass TV
specials). He has also written Broadway plays.
JUDY TYLER (1934-1957) was the live character Princess Summerfall Winterspring, from 1951 to
1953. She left the show to star in Richard Rogers' Broadway musical "Pipe Dream" and co-starred
with Elvis Presley in "Jailhouse Rock." She died tragically in an auto accident at age 23. Her
newlywed husband and their dog were also fatalities in the wreck.
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