Howdy Doody - Monday, September 7, 2015

The Music Room here at the American Treasure Tour has far more to offer than "just" music.  Sure there are over 150 mechanical music machines, as well as accordions and other instruments throughout the large room (about 20,000 sq.ft., not including the Toy Box), but there is also a trove of cinematic history and other exceptional surprises.  Today, we will be talking about one of those other surprises - a celebrity head shot for two of the most famous faces in television:  Buffalo Bob Smith and his lifelong companion Howdy Doody, quite possibly one of the stranger duets ever to grace the small screen.

Although television technology was developed before World War II, it wasn't until after the international conflict that it started emerging in any quantity.  One of the earliest programs produced on the NBC television network was Howdy Doody - a children's show that aired first on December 27, 1947 and continued on until its cancellation in 1960.  It was an innovator and a trendsetter, establishing the way for future kid shows with its variety of stories and entertainment and silliness.  It was also the first program NBC ever produced at Rockefeller Center, "The Rock," in New York City, and was a pioneer in early color television as well.

The character Howdy Doody was developed by Buffalo, New York-born radio announcer Bob Smith.  The popularity of Smith and his other personality compelled him to create a marionette to match the voice, which led to merchandising and, of course, the television work.  It's difficult to believe that there are generations of Americans who don't even know who Howdy Doody is, but if you take a close look at the celebrity head shots on display in the Music Room here at the American Treasure Tour, you will see him, sitting on Buffalo Bob Smith's lap, smiling down on you - a great comfort to those who remember him.
QUESTION:  Which of the following characters was not a member of Howdy's family?
A)  Punchy Doody
B)  Mayor Phineas T. Bluster
C)  Heidi Doody
D)  Dilly Dally
ANSWER BELOW

CAR TROUBLES.  The automotive industry is easily one of the most important in the United States.  Thousands of men and women depend upon it for their jobs, and even more depend on their cars to get to and from their jobs.  Today in 1979 was a sad day, as one of the Big Three Automotive Giants, Chrysler (the other two are, of course, GM and Ford) was compelled to ask the American government for a $1.5 billion loan to avoid filing for bankruptcy.  Ultimately, the French Daimler Company took over the Chrysler's debt and their name.

HONORING AN AMERICAN HERO.  America is a country filled with heroes of all sorts and varieties.  Today, we would like to honor the birth of a man whose accomplishments in both war and peace are remembered far less than we feel they should be.  Daniel Inouye won the Medal of Honor for heroism during World War II, then went on to represent the new state of Hawaii in Congress from 1959 until his death in 2012, at which point he was President pro tempore of the Senate - third in line for the United States Presidency.

QUOTE:  Americanism is not a matter of skin or color. - Daniel Inouye

ANSWER:  A)  Punchy Doody