Q: I hope you can answer this for me because it’s been plaguing me for years. Way, way back when “Howdy Doody” first went on the air, the puppet had a different look Then he was supposedly in some kind of accident and when he re-emerged several weeks (months?) later he was the iteration we know today. There was, as I remember, a great deal of hoopla and anticipation leading up to his return. No one I’ve ever mentioned this to has any recollection of it, but I know I’m not imagining it. Can you find anything to back this up?

A: When the TV show began in late 1947, the marionette called Howdy Doody did look different. He was designed by Frank Paris who, according to the book “Total Television,” left the show early on in a contract dispute with NBC and took his puppet with him. Other designers created a newer Howdy, who was said to have had plastic surgery.

Life began at 80

Q: I would like some information about the show “Life Begins at Eighty.” I believe it was a quiz show.

A: Not exactly. According to “The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows,” the series had “a panel of oldsters ... posed questions submitted by viewers and given the opportunity to expound on life from the vantage point of their years.” After beginning in radio, the series came to TV in 1950 on NBC and, after some bouncing among networks, ended in 1956. Jack Barry hosted.

 

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