The Canadian Howdy Doody Show made its debut on November 15, 1954, airing three times a week over CBC Television. Originating from the network's Toronto studios, the Canadian version of the show starred James Doohan and later Peter Mews as forest ranger Timber Tom, who corresponded to Buffalo Bob in the U.S. version. CBC's Clarabell was played by Alfie Scopp. Robert Goulet is sometimes erroneously credited as Timber Tom (even by Goulet's official website and Buffalo Bob Smith), although he may have been an occasional fill-in host. William Shatner, the future Captain Kirk of Star Trek, also filled in for Timber Tom occasionally as "Ranger Bob".
The Canadian show appeared more low-budget than its American counterpart and seemed watered-down, with less raucous plots and less villainous villains, as well as a more educational orientation. Some of the stories were evocative nonetheless, almost stepping into high fantasy, and often featured Dilly Dally as an everyman hero who muddled through and did the right thing. Early in the run, there was a short-lived puppet character called Mr. X (no relation to a puppet of the same name who appeared on the American show) who traveled through time and space in his "Whatsis Box" teaching children about history. However, Mr. X was removed from the show due to parental complaints that he was too scary. It has been suggested that the Mr. X sequence may have inspired the creation of the long-running British science fiction series Doctor Who. In its earliest days, the series was likewise designed to teach children about history and, throughout the series, it has featured an alien known only as the Doctor who travels through time and space in his TARDIS, which is permanently in the shape of a police box. The series' creator, Sydney Newman, oversaw the production of the Canadian version of Howdy Doody while working as head of programming for the CBC.
The Canadian Howdy Doody Show ended on June 26, 1959.
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“Were definite in Nova Scotiabout things like ships ... and fish, the best in the world.”
—John Rhodes Sturdy, Canadian screenwriter. Richard Rossen. Joyce Cartwright (Ella Raines)