One of my first TV memories is that of a wooden marionette named Howdy Doody. I think that was probably the reason that I begged my folks to buy one of those new TV thingies. At a time when TV was just beginning to become a fixture in American homes, kids across the country would stop whatever they were doing and be transported into another world.
The show began in 1947 and ran until 1960. A revival of the show appeared in 1976 and produced 130 episodes. Characters like Clarabell the Clown, Heidi Doody (Howdy's sister), Mayor Phineas T. Bluster, Dilly Dally, Princess Summerfall Winterspring, and Flub-a-Dub became instant friends with America's tykes. But it was Buffalo Bob Smith who held the whole thing together, and the 40 kids or so who made up the "peanut gallery" were the envy of every child limited to watching it on the box.
On the final show, it was Clarabell the Clown who stole the show when he said "Goodbye, kids" as tears rolled down his face. It was the first time he had spoken in the show's 13-year run.
Waxing Nostalgic Over Classic TV