Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Our good friend (and excellent-but-occasional puppeteer) JACK ROTH threw a convention for the HOWDY DOODY CLUB in White Plains. NY. The dates were Friday October 1--Sunday October 3, 2004. He (they) put together a fun event with a chance for fans to get celebrity autographs (SOUPY SALES was there!) as well as purchase memorabila. But mostly they assembled from far-and-wide to collude with like-minded denizens of DoodyVille.

The event culminated with a once-in-a-lifetime performance featuring a Buffalo Bob impersonator yes, but the pulse-racing stars of the evening were spot-on replicas of the ORIGINAL HOWDY DOODY MARIONETTES, built to perfection by puppet craftsman RIC LILJEBLAD (Ric has worked with Flexitoon on and off for several years as well.)
(from left: Graphic Artist Dan Tremblay, Olga Felgemacher, Pady Blackwood, puppet-maker Ric Liljeblad, light and sound technician Alex Bartosh, and me directing sans riders crop, though Ric would probably disagree.)

Jack wrote a broadcast-worthy script and brought in the one-and-only-and-legendary marionette-manipulator PADY BLACKWOOD to spring Howdy to life once again (Pady has been Howdy's main puppenspieler since the early 1970's. See OLDER POSTS for more of Pady's storied career.) Jack also asked OLGA FELGEMACHER to puppeteer. Pady and Olga hadn't worked together since his days at the BIL BAIRD THEATER in Manhattan, so it was a wonderful reunion to witness, both off-stage and on.

Olga & Pady

When Jack called and asked me to direct, Mike Campbell and I were in the middle of editing the Flexitoon series THE HAMPTOONS . . .

. . . but I couldn't say no to Jack.

The performance was a real crowd-pleaser and went off amazingly smoothly. However, I offered the assembled a curtain-raiser caveat just in case it didn't - -

"If something goes wrong, we meant to do it."

This trip down MemoryLane also signaled the very last performance ever by the magical Lew Anderson.

Lew who?

How about CLARABELLE himself!

We re-costumed our Didi The Drummer marionette (from Shining Time Station) as PRINCESS SUMMERFALL WINTERSPRING.

Above are four of the actual original marionettes built for the Howdy Doody Show by RUFUS ROSE: MAMBO THE ELEPHANT, TOMMY TURTLE, and HIDE AND ZEKE.

JOHN J. FADOOZLE is brought to life once again by Olga!

Even BUFFALO BEE and the FLUB-A-DUB were there!

Jackson Roth? You done DOODY good!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Craig,

    Great shots of the puppets,Pat Blackwood,Olga,Rick,Jack

    and Alex at Jack Roth's "Howdy Doody"puppet show back in

    the fall of 2004.

    I enjoyed seeing the photos of Lew Andersen..in and out of

    character in what is..sadly his last appearance as"Clarabelle The

    Clown" and as himself.

    Thanks For Sharing these rare pieces of tv puppetry and

    "Howdy Doody"History with all of us,