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Return to Doodyville

A Guide to Howdy Doody Books and Video

For a show that ran for 13 years and was one of the mainstays of Baby Boomer culture throughout the entire 1950’s, there are surprisingly few ways we can relive those memories today.

There have been books and DVDs about The Howdy Doody Show released over the years, but few remain in print as of this writing. Nevertheless, here’s a rundown on what’s been produced.

Read more: Return to Doodyville

You Can’t Keep a Good Puppet Down

The Life & Times of Howdy Doody -  Part 5

We all know that childhood can’t last forever (unless your name is Bart Simpson). So too, for our favorite childhood television shows. The last network telecast of The Howdy Doody Show took place on September 24, 1960. The following Saturday on NBC, many of us were entertained by Shari Lewis, Lamb Chop and Charlie Horse.

But whatever happened to Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob? Keep reading and find out.

Read more: You Can’t Keep a Good Puppet Down

Love That Bob!

Imagine a TV series where Miss Hathaway from Beverly Hillbillies, Alice from The Brady Bunch and Dobie Gillis all hung out together. There was such a series in the 1950’s, originally called The Bob Cummings Show, but better remembered due to the name it adopted for its far longer tenure in syndication, Love That Bob!

Bob Cummings starred as Bob Collins (continuing the long-standing but frankly puzzling sit-com tradition where the lead actor uses their real first name but a fictitious last name).

Cummings played a glamour photographer who was always surrounded by stunningly gorgeous models, many of whom he loved and left. Back then, he was a rakish playboy. Today, we’d call him commitment-phobic. Bob’s character was also interested in aviation.

In real life, photography and flying private planes were two of Cummings’ major interests. We suspect dating beautiful women was also an interest as he was married five times.

Read more: Love That Bob!

Ski Party (1965)

Beach Party movies, why limit them to summer? That must have been the thinking among the brain trust at American International Pictures. Apparently, nobody in the room said, “Because most of the drive-ins in America are closed during the winter!”

That’s how we wound up with this unalloyed gem of a movie, a combination of Some Like It Hot  and Beach Blanket Bingo – only in parkas – called Ski Party.

The 6th entry in the Beach Party series has everything – except Annette. Or at least Annette is only around for two quick scenes in the beginning. She is there in the beginning of the movie as a college sex ed professor (!) who gets into some inappropriate behavior with one of her students.

Her replacement on this ski trip is Deborah Walley, who clearly lacks two of Ms. Funicello’s major attractions. I mean Annette’s singing voice and big helmet of black hair (really, get your mind out of the gutter).

Read more: Ski Party (1965)

Who Remembers Francis the Talking Mule?

Every Baby Boomer remembers Mister Ed, the talking horse who caused trouble for his owner Wilbur Post. But Ed was actually a rip-off, a cheap TV imitation!

Before Ed ever opened his mouth there was Francis the Talking Mule!

Frances was created by U.S. Army Captain David Stern III. He was in charge of an Army newspaper during WWII. Bored by a lack of news one afternoon, Stern wrote four pages of fanciful dialogue between a U.S. solider and a stubborn Army mule. Intrigued, he expanded the idea into a series of short stories that were subsequently published by Esquire magazine. Stern wrote the stories in the first person and adopted as a pen name, Peter Stirling, the 2nd lieutenant who Francis befriended in the stories.

Read more: Who Remembers Francis the Talking Mule?

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