R.I.P. Clarabell, Howdy Doody Show
Lew Anderson, who played Clarabell on the Howdy Doody show from 1954 to 1960 has died of cancer at age 84.
Long mute as Clarabell, Anderson broke the clown's silence in the show's final episode in 1960. With trembling lips and a visible tear in his eye, he spoke the show's final words: "Goodbye, kids." Though Anderson was not the only man to play "Buffalo Bob" Smith's mute sidekick, he was the best, Smith said in his memoir.
Occasionally I was fortunate enough to be one of the kids in the Howdy Doody Show peanut gallery. Once, I got to cut the cupcake for Buffalo Bob during the Hostess commerical. But Clarabell is who I remember most. All of the kids would squeal and scream with delight at his antics. He would run up and down the aisle with a seltzer bottle that had a squirt top . One time he sprayed my brand new dress and I cried and cried. But I still went back whenever I could get my mother to take me.
Bob Keeshan, best known as Captain Kangaroo, played Clarabell before Mr. Anderson. He died in 2004, Skippy wrote a nice tribute to him. But he left the show in 1952, which was a few years before I was old enough to go to the show and be in the peanut gallery. Mr. Anderson is the Clarabell I remember.
R.I.P. Clarabell, and thank you for such great childhood memories.
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