Howdy Doody debuted on Saturday, December, 1947 on NBC. “When the cameras rolled for the first show, we’d had no rehearsal whatsoever,” Bob Smith (or, “Buffalo Bob”) said in an interview with People magazine. “We didn’t even have a puppet.”
Howdy Doody Was Totally Impromptu at First
Bob hooked the first audience of children by telling them he had a friend they would love, but that he was too bashful to come out and play. “I would tell them, ‘he’s in my desk drawer right here.'”
The unscripted entertainment seemed to be working, because children tuned in for three weeks before Howdy Doody finally made his debut. After Howdy’s introduction to the world, the show remained scripted.