December 27, 1947
The children’s TV show Howdy Doody debuts on NBC. “Say, kids, what time is it?” It was the first nationally-broadcast TV program for children.
Howdy Doody was originally a “voice only” character and there was no puppet. But, the response was so great to the character that they hastily had puppeteer Frank Paris create a puppet for the character. As popularity for the character and demand for merchandising increased, a battle ensued since Buffalo Bob Smith owned the character, but Paris owned the puppet. Feeling he was being cheated out of revenues, Paris took off with the puppet during a live broadcast of the show. The producers then concocted a story where Howdy Doody decided to have plastic surgery to make him more handsome for the electorate while he was running for “President Of All Kids Of the United States”. A new puppet was created to replace Paris’ puppet. This is the puppet most people associate with the show.