Kowabunga! Staging a '50s-Style Freckled Face-Off, Milwaukee Tells America It's Howdy Doody Time Again
updated 07/20/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 07/20/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Nor has he died for their kids. Marking the show's 40th anniversary (Howdy debuted Dec. 27, 1947, on NBC), King Features is releasing a slew of new merchandise, including Doody jeans, radios and lamps. Joining in the celebration, Milwaukee recently staged a throwback to the '50s—a Howdy Doody look-alike contest. With Buffalo Bob in attendance, the affair drew a Peanut Gallery's worth of contestants, who competed in two categories, child and adult. Timmy Dobrinska, 6, vanquished the rest of the small-fry division, winning a Howdy doll and an outsize chocolate-chip cookie. In the absence of Ted Koppel, Gary Wallendal, 37, was the victor among the putative grown-ups, winning a doll and a framed photo of the puppet inscribed with the Doody byword, "Kowabunga." A policeman in nearby Waukesha, the ruddy-faced Wallendal is always being ribbed by other cops for his resemblance to Howdy. "Now," he said after his victory, "I'm going to pay for this dearly."