Nov 21, 2014

Howdy Doody Had Plastic Surgery

Howdy Doody had plastic surgery.  I learned this fact while watching Jeopardy!  So I looked it up.  As it turns out, the original Howdy Doody was made by a  puppeteer named Frank Paris, and apparently bore no resemblance to the one which we grew up to love.  He (Frank) had a dispute with the network and departed, taking the original Howdy with him.  The new freckle faced Howdy Doody was created by two artists (Margo and Rufus Rose) who were alums of Walt Disney Studios.  When some kids asked  how come Howdy’s appearance had changed, they were told he’d had plastic surgery.  Which he hadn’t.  So they lied.  And Jeopardy! was wrong.

In the process of learning about Howdy Doody’s “plastic surgery” I learned that in 1948, the year before I was born, Howdy ran for “President of All Boys and Girls,” and that year the show received 250,000 requests for “Howdy for President” buttons.  The show flourished, Howdy’s popularity blossmed and it ran five days a week until 1954 (when air time had become too expensive to run a children’s show five days a week), was moved to Saturdays, and went off the air in 1960.  Clarabell, who never talked (I do not remember this), gave up his series long silence to say “Good Bye” at the end.

This little exercise got me thinking about two things:  elections and plastic surgery.  First of all, this year’s election turnout was the lowest in 72 years.  Maybe if Howdy was running for Congress or Senate, more people would have come out.  Depending on how you feel about Howdy Doody, maybe several Howdy’s did run (and win) in this election.  As an Obama fan, I will not conjure a Howdy Doody president — though some of you might.  As for plastic surgery, in 2012, there were more than 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgeries done in the United States.  Several of them may have been on the Howdy’s running for office.

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Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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