Posts Tagged ‘Howdy Doody’

Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob

The Meaning of Words

I came across the word cowabunga recently, and it brought Howdy Doody memories floating through my head. For those of you a bit younger than me, Howdy Doody was a puppet with his own television show, which my children loved to watch.

 Howdy was created by Bob Smith – known as Buffalo Bob on the show –when Smith was a radio announcer, and later given a puppet’s body for the television screen.

The children’s show was pure corn – and I sometimes silently groaned when my children turned it on – and sometimes laughed along with the craziness.

But it wasn’t Howdy Doody who first uttered cowabunga. It was a character on the show in 1953, one called Chief Thunderthud, who used the then non-existent word.

Cowabunga, like the frabjous words made up by writer Lewis Carrol, took root, and today’s dictionaries define it as an exclamation used to express delight or satisfaction.

 Surfers adopted the word as slang for a great ride, and the word was also adopted by the Cookie Monster and the Mutant Ninja Turtles. These are all fun memories.

  The word, however, holds yet another memory for me, one closer to my heart. It was the favorite saying of my oldest grandson David, who is now in his mid-40s. As an adorable young boy, he used to stomp around shouting the word when he was excited about something — or wanted attention.

Years have taught me that the meaning of words has more to do with the people speaking them, or listening to them, than a formal definition. Because of David, my mind translates cowabunga as meaning joyful.

I also like the feel of how the word cowabunga rolls off my tongue. What’s one of your favorite words?

 Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.” – Mel Brooks

The original Howdy Doody on exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Pupper Art, -- Wikimedia photo

The original Howdy Doody on exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Pupper Art, — Wikimedia photo

Pufnstuf was the zaniest, and rumors went around that he was a "weed" eater.

Pufnstuf was the zaniest, and rumors went around that he was a “weed” eater.













 And the Brain Starts Rolling

Rocky and Bullwinkle

Rocky and Bullwinkle

           I came across the phrase “Happier than Howdy Doody” this morning, and it sent reams of pictures scampering through my little grey cells.

The always smiling puppet, and his mouthpiece, Buffalo Bob Smith, were one of my first introductions to television. And he stuck around, transforming from black and white to color, long enough for my first child to briefly get acquainted with, too.

But Captain Kangaroo, Bullwinkle and Pufnstuff were the stuff of all my children’s television viewing


Captain Kangaroo and friend.

Since I was a stay-at-home-mom until my oldest child was almost 12 that meant they were a part of my life, too.


I miss those cartoon characters, and am sorry for all who never got to see them. It was a simpler, gentle time for children’s cartoons.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Migrating wood-warblers http://tinyurl.com/k4k8923  For my birder readers, and others who enjoy a reason to smile like Howdy Doody, take a closer look at those little birds flying around. They’re not all the same.

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