Howdy Doody (1954)

Run Time - 30 min.  |   Countries - Canada   |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Every baby boomer worth his salt is familiar with the classic NBC puppet series Howdy Doody, which ran from 1947 to 1960. But how many of those "boomers" outside the continental United States are aware that a second version of Howdy Doody existed? This one was produced in the Toronto, Ontario studios of the CBC. Telecast three times a week beginning November 15, 1954, the Canadian Howdy Doody bore a few similarities to the American original, with its own Clarabell the clown (played by veteran voice-over artist Alfie Scopp) and the familiar puppet lineup of Howdy and Heidi Doody, Mayor Phineas T. Bluster, Dilly Dally, the Flubadub, and Captain Scuttlebutt. What set this version apart was its uniquely Canadian setting (the "great north woods," courtesy of a studio backdrop) and such above-the-border characters as Papa La Touke and Princess Haida (human) and Percival the Parrot (marionette). And instead of the American version's Buffalo Bob Smith, the Canadian Howdy Doody was emceed by a quasi-Mountie character named Timber Tom. TV trivia buffs may be curious to know that Timber Tom's occasional fill-in substitute, Ranger Bob, was played by none other than future Star Trek captain William Shatner. The CBC edition of Howdy Doody was telecast until June 26, 1959.