Blog: Will bankrupt Detroit sell 'Howdy Doody' for cash?

2:48 PM, Jul 19, 2013   |    comments
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The City of Detroit filed for bankruptcy Thursday afternoon, becoming the nation's largest public sector bankruptcy and citing $18 billion in liabilities.

One of the ideas to get some ready cash to pay down the debt is for the museum of the Detroit Institute of Arts, to sell one of its prized possessions -- the original Howdy Doody marionette.

Howdy Doody was the star of his own 1950s-era children's show. It was acquired in 2001, according to the DIA's director of communications, and puppt experts say it could fetch $400,000 to $500,000 at auction.

Howdy Doody was created in the image of a freckled-face boy dressed in cowboy attire. "The Howdy Doody Show" ran on NBC from 1947 to 1960.

One of Muppet creator Jim Henson's Kermit the Frog puppets is also among the DIA's 800-piece puppet collection.

Now an opinion from the state's attorney general says the city can't sell Howdy, but he could still end up being sold, along with many of the other 60,000 DIA items.

The DIA was founded in 1885 and houses more than 100 galleries, a lecture and recital hall, an art reference library, and a state-of-the-art conservation laboratory, according to the museum's website.

DIA's collection is one of the finest in North American and when Detroit's emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, asked for an inventory of holdings, it set off alarm bells among residents.

I mean, it will come down to what the federal bankruptcy court decides is expendable to satisfy the debt.

Also, know that all of the city's creditors have asked about the DIA and whether it has been valued and some creditors have said everything that isn't nailed down should be sold to pay them.


Human actor Buffalo Bob Smith, a native of Buffalo, New York, died in 1998. There was also the mute Clarabell the Clown, who communicated by honking horns on his belt and squirting seltzer. He was first played by Bob Keeshan, who went on to play Captain Kangaroo.

And Chief Thunderthud, head of the Ooragnak -- kangaroo spelled backwards -- tribe of Native Americans and Princess Summerfallwinterspring.

But what will happen will happen and what I really want to know is where Heidi Doody -- Howdy's sister -- and Mayor Phineas T. Bluster, Dilly Dally, Inspector John J. Fadoozle, Sandra the Witch, Capt. Windy Scuttlebutt and Flub-a-Dub are.


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