Sanford, Florida might be the last place you would expect to find Howdy Doody. But there he is in a shop window on the corner of East 1st and South Palmetto Avenue.
A large colorful tribute to America’s favorite freckle-faced puppet.
Originally voiced by Buffalo Bob Smith, Howdy Doody was a big radio and television star in the 1940s and 1950s. Kids of that era loved him and, to this day, many older adults have fond memories of this wisecracking block of wood.
While many replicas of Howdy Doody were made over the years, the original marionette resides at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which has one of the largest collections of significant puppets in the world. The replica of Howdy Doody currently on display in Sanford took over 1,500 hours to complete. According to a sign in the window, various heads were sculpted to get the exact image of Howdy.
He stands approximately 31” tall and his boots were sculpted in clay and cast in resin to give weight to the puppet when walking.