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Peanut Gallery - The nickname of the "forty fortunate" children (originally eight kids) who got tickets to sit in the (ground-level) audience of the popular children's puppet live-action program HOWDY DOODY/NBC/1947-60.

Peanut Gallery Sign from Howdy Doody Show

The show featured a man dressed in a buckskin costume named Buffalo Bob Smith who lived and worked in a circus town of Doodyville with a freckled face marionette boy named Howdy Doody.

At the start of each program, Buffalo Bob asked the children of the Peanut Gallery the popular question "Say, Kids, What time is it? to which they boisterously replied, "It's Howdy Doody Time! (see theme song lyrics below).

"It's Howdy Doody Time.
It's Howdy Doody Time.
Bob Smith and Howdy too,
Say 'Howdy Do' to you.
Let's give a rousing cheer
For Howdy Doody's here.
It's time to start the show,
So kids let's GO!"

Howdy Doody Theme Song Lyrics
-- by Edward Kean

Because the HOWDY DOODY program was a cult happening, the rush for tickets to be a member of the Peanut Gallery was overwhelming. It was rumored that the waiting list for the show was so long that pregnant mothers sent in ticket requests for their unborn children to be sure to get a spot on the show in the future

Unfortunately, the studio audience was limited to forty-fifty members due to a fire department safety rules. So, with some of the seats always going to friends of the staff and notable celebrities with connections, not all the seats went to the tots who requested membership in television's most exclusive club.

On September 24, 1960 (after 2,343 programs) the kids of the Peanut Gallery bid a fond farewell to the program. In 1971, the syndicated revival THE NEW HOWDY DOODY SHOW had a short run.

In 1987, The Howdy Doody 40th Birthday Special reunited the original cast members as well as grown up men and women who had been a part of the Peanut Gallery in years past.

Peanut Gallery Kids Wish Howdy Doody Happy Birthday
The Peanut Gallery Kids Wish Howdy Doody Happy Birthday

TRIVIA NOTE: The United Feature comic strip called "Li'l Folks" created by cartoonist Charles Schulz was renamed to "Peanuts" in honor of the kids in the Peanut Gallery.

The term 'Peanut Gallery' is American slang dating to the 1880s. It refers to the upper tier balcony section of a theater (the cheap seats where "noisy and irreverent" people watched the performance and ate peanuts). In Britain, the top tier theatres seats are called “the gods” because they are so high up (seemingly near heaven).


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