Bob Smith

Children's Show Creator/Host - The Howdy Doody Show


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his nearly three-hour Archive interview, “Buffalo” Bob Smith talks about his early years and interest in music, which eventually led to his vocal group, the High Hatters Trio, being discovered by Kate Smith and brought to New York City to be on radio. He describes his vaudeville act, and his career as a radio announcer when he was known as “Smilin’” Bob Smith. He chronicles the creation and development of the character of “Howdy Doody” from the “Triple B Ranch” on radio, to Puppet Playhouse, and eventually Howdy Doody on NBC television. Smith recounts the creation of the “Howdy Doody” puppet, and discusses the many side characters of the show including “Clarabell the Clown” (first portrayed by Bob Keeshan), Phineas T. Bluster, Dilly Dally, and John J. Fadozzle. He outlines the popularity of the show, the show converting to color in 1955, and the final episode of the show, where “Clarabell” finally spoke. He concludes by talking about his book “Howdy and Me,” and he sings a song written specially for Howdy Doody’s 50th anniversary. Michael Rosen conducted the interview on April 30, 1998 in Flat Rock, North Carolina.

"Kids would come home from school, sit in front of the television, listen to the recorded music and watch the test pattern until I got there. And at five-thirty we'd say, 'say kids, what time is it?' Then the whole world blasted out, 'it's Howdy Doody time!' If they were watching television, they were watching Howdy Doody."

Highlights
"Buffalo" Bob Smith sings the theme song from The Howdy Doody Show
02:28
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the introduction of "Clarabell the Clown", played by Bob Keeshan, on Howdy Doody
05:57
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on hosting various early radio shows
06:42
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on working with a puppet on live television on Howdy Doody
03:06
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his early musical abilities and performances
12:39
On his early interest in sports, and on playing the organ for silent movies; on his early vocal group the High Hatters Trio, and on the trio being hired to be on radio; on Kate Smith bringing his singing trio to New York City, and on New York City in the '30s
15:56

Chapter 2

On his vaudeville act; on appearing on radio on "Boys Club of the Air", and on changing his air name to "Smilin' Bob Smith"
06:30
On his experience with World War II; on the format of his early radio show; on hosting various early radio shows
09:33

Chapter 3

On his radio show which originated from the William Hengerer Company Store in Buffalo, and various other radio jobs; on the show "Triple B Ranch", where "Howdy Doody" was born, and the origins of Howdy Doody; on the first time he saw television, and on early television programming
14:28
On the set of Howdy Doody ; on the first week of production on Howdy Doody, originally known as Puppet Playhouse, and on "Howdy Doody" making his first appearance; on the Howdy Doody theme song, and on the creation of the "Howdy Doody" puppet
15:34

Chapter 4

On the introduction of "Clarabell the Clown", played by Bob Keeshan, on Howdy Doody; on the creation of the second "Howdy Doody" puppet, and how "Howdy Doody" running for president of all kids.; on working with a puppet on live television on Howdy Doody
16:07
On the scripts of Howdy Doody; on the side characters of Howdy Doody including "Clarabell the Clown"; on how the Howdy Doody cameras were placed
12:45

Chapter 5

On the logistics of working with the puppets on Howdy Doody; on the sponsors of Howdy Doody; on Howdy Doody winning the Peabody Award
08:48
On selling the rights to Howdy Doody, and on their 1,000th show; on the popularity of Howdy Doody; on his 1954 heart attack, during his tenure as host of Howdy Doody, and on the show becoming color in 1955
14:35
On Howdy Doody going from daily to Saturday mornings; on the final episode of Howdy Doody; on the 40th anniversary of Howdy Doody
05:11

Chapter 6

On the key to Howdy Doody's success; on his then-current activities, and on his fan mail; on his book about Howdy Doody, "Howdy and Me"
07:49
On the then-current state of children's television, and on what represents the best of television; on various people he worked with in his career; sings a song about Howdy Doody
13:48
On b-roll footage from his career- the cast and crew of Howdy Doody in the studio; the original "Hoody Doody" puppet; with "Howdy Doody"
02:47
Shows

Howdy Doody

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the show "Triple B Ranch", where "Howdy Doody" was born, and the origins of Howdy Doody
04:49
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the set of Howdy Doody
01:37
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the first week of production on Howdy Doody, originally known as Puppet Playhouse, and on "Howdy Doody" making his first appearance
08:31
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the Howdy Doody theme song
02:28
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on E. Roger Muir, producer of Howdy Doody, and on the creation of the Howdy Doody puppet
02:41
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the introduction of "Clarabell the Clown", played by Bob Keeshan, on Howdy Doody
05:57
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the creation of the second "Howdy Doody" puppet, and how "Howdy Doody" running for president of all kids.
07:05
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on working with a puppet on live television on Howdy Doody
03:06
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the scripts of Howdy Doody
03:29
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the side characters of Howdy Doody including "Clarabell the Clown"
08:00
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on how the Howdy Doody cameras were placed
01:14
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the logistics of working with the puppets on Howdy Doody
04:53
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the sponsors of Howdy Doody
02:25
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on Howdy Doody winning the Peabody Award
01:30
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on selling the rights to Howdy Doody, and on their 1,000th show
02:27
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the popularity of Howdy Doody
05:25
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on his 1954 heart attack, during his tenure as host of Howdy Doody, and on the show being in color starting in 1955
06:42
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on Howdy Doody going from daily to Saturday mornings
01:52
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the final episode of Howdy Doody
02:14
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the 40th anniversary of Howdy Doody
00:57
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the key to Howdy Doody's success
03:03
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on his book about Howdy Doody, "Howdy and Me"
02:08
"Buffalo" Bob Smith sings a song about Howdy Doody
02:59
Topics

Historic Events and Social Change

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on his experience with World War II
01:45

Pop Culture

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith sings the theme song from The Howdy Doody Show
02:28

TV Theme Songs

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith sings the theme song from The Howdy Doody Show
02:28

Technological Innovation

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on his 1954 heart attack, during his tenure as host of Howdy Doody, and on the show being in color starting in 1955
06:42

War

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on his experience with World War II
01:45

World War II

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on his experience with World War II
01:45
Genres

Children's Programming

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on hosting Howdy Doody
16:05
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on hosting Hoody Doody
28:52
"Buffalo" Bob Smith on hosting Howdy Doody
27:32
People

Milton Berle

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on Milton Berle, Perry Como, Jack Weinstock, and Mildred Smith
04:29

Perry Como

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on Milton Berle, Perry Como, Jack Weinstock, and Mildred Smith
04:29

Dominick Dunne

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on Dick Smith, Owen Davis, Warren Wade, Velma Dawson, and Dominick Dunne
02:58

Bob Keeshan

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on the introduction of "Clarabell the Clown", played by Bob Keeshan, on Howdy Doody
05:57

E. Roger Muir

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on E. Roger Muir, producer of Howdy Doody, and on the creation of the Howdy Doody puppet
02:41

Kate Smith

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on Kate Smith bringing his singing trio to New York City, and on New York City in the '30s
04:43

Dick Smith

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on Dick Smith, Owen Davis, Warren Wade, Velma Dawson, and Dominick Dunne
02:58

Warren Wade

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"Buffalo" Bob Smith on Dick Smith, Owen Davis, Warren Wade, Velma Dawson, and Dominick Dunne
02:58

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