Out of the Vault: Howdy Doody

Posted on December 10, 2021 by Michael Grauer in

Welcome again to “Out of the Vault.” This is our blog series where we take you behind-the-scenes to show off our newest acquisitions and why we think they are an important addition to the Museum’s mission to tell you the diverse stories of the West.

From 1947 to 1960, The Howdy Doody Show was the leading children’s television program in the United States. Howdy Doody puppets became a popular children’s toy during the 1950s. Velma Dawson created the Howdy Doody puppet that debuted in 1949. Howdy Doody also advertised many products on the show or in print.

WHAT IS THIS?

From 1947 to 1960, The Howdy Doody Show was the leading children’s television program in the United States. Howdy Doody puppets became a popular children’s toy during the 1950s. Velma Dawson created the Howdy Doody puppet that debuted in 1949. Howdy Doody also advertised many products on the show or in print.

WHERE DID WE GET IT?

In 1981, at the suggestion of art dealer Ron Feldman, Andy Warhol devoted himself to an exploration of American myths. Warhol selected Howdy Doody for this Myths group as an image that would be familiar to and resonate with a large potential audience. Art critic Arthur Danto confirmed the wisdom of Warhol’s choice in an essay that described a large group of socially conscious college students taking a break from protesting the Vietnam War and social injustice to sing along with Howdy Doody during an appearance on the campus of Columbia University in 1968.

We purchased the marionette and its original carton from an online vintage toy dealer.

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About Michael

Michael Grauer, McCasland Chair of Cowboy Culture / Curator of Cowboy Collections and Western Art