Does anyone remember Howdy Doody?
Howdy was a puppet on early TV. And us kids,
we sat there in the Peanut Gallery – at home, or in the studio –
and watched, watched Clarabelle the Clown running up and down
the aisles squirting Buffalo Bob with his seltzer bottle.
They were the only two humans on the show. I don’t know,
maybe he was trying to wake him up.
And remember the banker, Mr. Bluster and how flustered he got?
And what about Flub-a-Dub? I was never sure what he was supposed
to be. I think it was a duck.
And then Howdy was in Mad Magazine and they called him
Alfred E. Newman.
Uncanny, how the media tries to warn us sometimes
and from the Titanic to Three Mile Island – they warned us.
Howdy began to multiply in the eighties; he even became
President of the United States and he began bombing countries
and people for no reason. ‘What, Me Worry?’
His successors are still at it and a lot of those little kids
who grew up with him are still cheering.
He was on two or three late night shows for a while: Ted Koppel and
Letterman retired, but Conan’s still there. Sometimes I wonder
what his next incarnation will be.
There was only one character on the show I really loved –
the only girl puppet, Princess Summer-Fall-Winter-Spring.
And the thing I wonder most about now, is,
who was back there, pulling all those strings?