Howdy Doody NBC Children's TV Series 1947-1960 props/costumes

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HowdyCHM4760

New Member
Howdy everybody. I'm honored to be a part of the "Replica Props Forum" and I wanted to share some of the props I made for myself. Since I was little I have been fascinated by puppets. One of my early influences when I was 9 was the TV show "Howdy Doody" and I have been a major fan/collector/historian of the show ever since. I have a lot of stuff related to the production of the show (scripts, photos, tapes, etc.) and have become friends with other collectors who knew Howdy cast and crew members and have original props, costumes and marionettes from the show. This led me to my journey of building prop replicas of things I've seen on the show (since realistically, acquiring them is a very expensive/rare process). At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, I built myself a replica of Clarabell the Clown's horn box. This is the box that he would wear on the front of his costume with a "Yes" horn and a "No" horn to communicate. I found one of the same types of horns Lew Anderson (the 3rd and final actor to play Clarabell) used on his box: a 1950's bulb bicycle horn from "Sound Devices Inc" in Kentucky in decent shape. I then reached out to a friend who has 2 original Clarabell boxes that he got from Lew and gave me measurements and close up photos. I use the box to display the horn (and a resin replica yellow horn for the other side gifted to me by a friend). Now I'm in the process of building a replica Howdy marionette. I was gifted a marionette body, hands, boots and clothes by the same friend that gave me the prop horn and now I'm working on getting an accurate Howdy head. I can't wait to share my process on here with all of you, I hope you enjoy seeing how a millennial who shouldn't know anything about Howdy or early television does in recreating one of the most iconic TV puppets of all time.
 

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Wolfsburg

Sr Member
Howdy everybody. I'm honored to be a part of the "Replica Props Forum" and I wanted to share some of the props I made for myself. Since I was little I have been fascinated by puppets. One of my early influences when I was 9 was the TV show "Howdy Doody" and I have been a major fan/collector/historian of the show ever since. I have a lot of stuff related to the production of the show (scripts, photos, tapes, etc.) and have become friends with other collectors who knew Howdy cast and crew members and have original props, costumes and marionettes from the show. This led me to my journey of building prop replicas of things I've seen on the show (since realistically, acquiring them is a very expensive/rare process). At the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, I built myself a replica of Clarabell the Clown's horn box. This is the box that he would wear on the front of his costume with a "Yes" horn and a "No" horn to communicate. I found one of the same types of horns Lew Anderson (the 3rd and final actor to play Clarabell) used on his box: a 1950's bulb bicycle horn from "Sound Devices Inc" in Kentucky in decent shape. I then reached out to a friend who has 2 original Clarabell boxes that he got from Lew and gave me measurements and close up photos. I use the box to display the horn (and a resin replica yellow horn for the other side gifted to me by a friend). Now I'm in the process of building a replica Howdy marionette. I was gifted a marionette body, hands, boots and clothes by the same friend that gave me the prop horn and now I'm working on getting an accurate Howdy head. I can't wait to share my process on here with all of you, I hope you enjoy seeing how a millennial who shouldn't know anything about Howdy or early television does in recreating one of the most iconic TV puppets of all time.
Awesome! And welcome!
 

HowdyCHM4760

New Member
Here is the base wooden marionette body I am working with that a friend gifted me. He used to make Howdy replicas and has since retired from doing so and had some parts and pieces left over that he let me use for my replica. It is exactly the same dimensions as the real Howdy marionette. I plan to modify it with adding drilled holes in the upper thighs and the ankles so I can string him exactly the way Rufus Rose (the puppeteer and puppet builder for Howdy starting in December 1952 and all the way until the end in September 1960) would string his marionettes. He would put a sting through the thigh, out the back of the "knee", through the back of the ankle, through the front on the ankle and to the top of the foot to give a more natural walk to the marionette.
 

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ALLEY

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Sweet mother of mercy...

That’s the stuff of nightmares, right there.

Tonight, I’ll be sleeping with all the lights on in my room, with the covers pulled up over the top of my head.

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HowdyCHM4760

New Member
Sweet mother of mercy...

That’s the stuff of nightmares, right there.

Tonight, I’ll be sleeping with all the lights on in my room, with the covers pulled up over the top of my head.

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LOL.....fair that you're not a fan of clowns, a lot of people aren't.....but Lew Anderson (who played Clarabell here) was the sweetest, most soft-spoken person in the world....not to mention one of the best Jazz musicians/arrangers in New York from the mid 1950's-2006.
 
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Snowtrooper

Active Member
Good job on the horn box. The howdy doody marionette will be an interesting build. Are you going for a brand new look or a weathered aged look for it?
 

HowdyCHM4760

New Member
Good job on the horn box. The howdy doody marionette will be an interesting build. Are you going for a brand new look or a weathered aged look for it?
Weathered all the way. Maybe not so much on the clothes since they were a gift and I don't want to mess them up too much, but I'm working on weathering the control bar I have and will scuff up the bottoms of the boots and the head (which another friend is working on for me, I'm the luckiest person in the world) will have an aged paint job.
 

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