You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Howdy Doody’ headwriter Kean dies

He came up with Bart Simpson's catchword 'Cowabunga'

Edward Kean, headwriter of the “Howdy Doody Show” and who is credited with creating the exclamation, “kowabunga,” died Aug. 13 in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., of complications of emphysema, family friend Del Reddy said. He was 85.

Kean also penned the theme song to which millions of American children sang along each week during the show’s run on NBC from 1947 to 1960. The New York City native wrote the song “It’s Howdy Doody Time,” which was sung during the show’s opening.

He had a major role in developing the characters and their personalities, and created the exclamation, “kowabunga,” which was spelled “cowabunga” when “The Simpsons'” Bart borrowed it.

“He influenced a whole generation of kids through his writing,” Reddy said. “He was a prolific writer. He would take his typewriter, even on the road.”

As for the freckled-face title character, Howdy Doody took on some of Kean’s character traits.

“He created Howdy, kind of in his image, from his background and how he treated people,” Reddy said.

Kean’s run as writer for the show ended in 1954.

Survivors include wife Vivian, a son, two stepchildren, three grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.

More TV

  • '89 Blocks' Set to Kick Off

    TV News Roundup: '89 Blocks' Set to Kick Off Fox Sports Films 'Magnify' Series

    Edward Kean, headwriter of the “Howdy Doody Show” and who is credited with creating the exclamation, “kowabunga,” died Aug. 13 in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., of complications of emphysema, family friend Del Reddy said. He was 85. Kean also penned the theme song to which millions of American children sang along each week during the […]

  • The Chambermaid Ventana Sur Fest Traveler

    Ventana Sur Opens Shop for Latin American Film and TV

    Edward Kean, headwriter of the “Howdy Doody Show” and who is credited with creating the exclamation, “kowabunga,” died Aug. 13 in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., of complications of emphysema, family friend Del Reddy said. He was 85. Kean also penned the theme song to which millions of American children sang along each week during the […]

  • This, photo shows the 21st Century

    Comcast, Disney Keep Focus on 21st Century Fox Assets Despite AT&T-Time Warner Battle

    Edward Kean, headwriter of the “Howdy Doody Show” and who is credited with creating the exclamation, “kowabunga,” died Aug. 13 in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., of complications of emphysema, family friend Del Reddy said. He was 85. Kean also penned the theme song to which millions of American children sang along each week during the […]

  • Nancy Lesser HBO

    HBO Exec Nancy Lesser Sues TV Academy Over Broken Pelvis

    Edward Kean, headwriter of the “Howdy Doody Show” and who is credited with creating the exclamation, “kowabunga,” died Aug. 13 in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., of complications of emphysema, family friend Del Reddy said. He was 85. Kean also penned the theme song to which millions of American children sang along each week during the […]

  • Scorpion-cbs TV Show

    How Scooter Braun Turned Luck With First Series 'Scorpion' Into Prolific TV Business

    Edward Kean, headwriter of the “Howdy Doody Show” and who is credited with creating the exclamation, “kowabunga,” died Aug. 13 in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., of complications of emphysema, family friend Del Reddy said. He was 85. Kean also penned the theme song to which millions of American children sang along each week during the […]

  • Ted Sarandos Harvey Weinstein

    Netflix Won't Host Golden Globes Party With Weinstein Company

    Edward Kean, headwriter of the “Howdy Doody Show” and who is credited with creating the exclamation, “kowabunga,” died Aug. 13 in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., of complications of emphysema, family friend Del Reddy said. He was 85. Kean also penned the theme song to which millions of American children sang along each week during the […]

  • Smilf The Good Doctor Will and

    Can 'SMILF,' 'Will & Grace,' 'The Good Doctor' Break Into Golden Globes Race?

    Edward Kean, headwriter of the “Howdy Doody Show” and who is credited with creating the exclamation, “kowabunga,” died Aug. 13 in West Bloomfield Township, Mich., of complications of emphysema, family friend Del Reddy said. He was 85. Kean also penned the theme song to which millions of American children sang along each week during the […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content