Thursday, June 7, 2012


Howdy Doody #14 [February 1952] hit the newsstand in my birth month
of December 1951.  It was based on the children’s television show
that ran from 1947 to 1960.  Dell published 40 issues of the title
from 1950 to 1957.  Though the Grand Comics Database does not list
writer or artist credits for this issue, a visit to Jerry Bails’
Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928-1999 reveals Mel Crawford
wrote, penciled, and inked at least some of the Howdy Doody stories
published during the earliest years of the title.

Here’s a fun fact from the same source: Stan Lee wrote the Sunday
Howdy Doody newspaper comic strip for United Features Syndicate in
1950.  Art was probably by Chad Grothkopf, who also drew Hoppy the
Marvel Bunny for Fawcett Comics. 

I never bought or read a Howdy Doody comic book because that puppet
just creeped me out as a kid.  I only watched the TV show from time
to time because adults would turn it on and sit us kids in front of
the TV set thinking we all loved the program.  Not me.

Howdy creeped out and, truth be told, every other character on the
show, human or otherwise, also creeped me out.  If I couldn’t leave
the room when the show came on, I would sit against the couch and
just will my mind into some other fantasy world, making up stories
of that non-creepy puppet world in my head.

I didn’t take to puppets until Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop and their
friends debuted on TV.  I was and am in love with Shari Lewis.  If
you aren’t, there’s something wrong with you. 

The only other puppets I’ve ever truly warmed up to are the Muppets
and, if you don’t love the Muppets, there’s something wrong with
you.  This is a true thing I am telling you.

I’ve never seen Child’s Play or any of the other “Chucky” movies,
but I bet he’s less creepy than Howdy Doody.  Chucky might even be
the illegitimate son of Howdy Doody, abused by a wooden father who
never wanted him. 

And, now that I think of it, I don’t hate Pinocchio either.  I wish
I’d had a gorgeous Blue Fairy who could have turned me into a real
boy.  If you know what I mean...

To sum up, Howdy Doody was creepy.  Yet no one condemned his comic
books in the 1950s.  No, they picked on harmless comics like Tales
from the Cryp
t and Weird Science.  No justice.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella


  1. Tony, if Howdy by himself creeped you out, you were lucky to miss the storyline where Mister Bluster got the Golden Touch and turned other characters to gold. Nightmare-inducing creepiness dialed up to eleven!

  2. The first time I saw the teletubbies it spooked me.

    The Mets' mascot Mr. Met freaks me out, too.


  3. "I was and am in love with Shari Lewis. If you aren’t, there’s something wrong with you."

    I was until I found out that she co-wrote "The Lights of Zetar," arguably the worst episode of the original Star Trek series. And it creeped me out more than any puppet show when I was a kid.

  4. I absolutely loved Howdy as a kid. I don't think I ever missed an episode if I was home at the time. One of my great memories was actually seeing "Buffalo Bob" Smith along with the gent who played Clarabelle towards the end, at a presentation at the Museum of Television & Broadcasting in NYC. This might have been mid-'90s and the room was filled with middle-aged men & women who were suddenly school kids again as we listened to Buffalo Bob talk about the show.

    On the other hand, I agree with Martin that some of Mister Bluster's schemes bordered on pure evil.

  5. I still have the occasional Liddsville nightmare.

  6. Howdy creeped me out, too. but the creepiest puppet was Froggie on Andy's Gang. He was a lot funnier than Howdy, too.

    I think Andy Devine never got credit for being a great actor; imagine saying "Pluck your magic twanger!" with a straight face.

  7. For creepy puppets back then you couldn't beat Foodini!