Howdy Doody and euphemisms

Spinning off this post, something I’ve wondered about Howdy Doody–at the time they named the character “doody” not a child’s word for poop? If the character had never existed, can you see anyone unironically giving a character a name that sounds like a question about someone’s method of defecation? Were the kids back then so sheltered from even euphemistic “dirty words” that they didn’t find the name hilarious? (Of course, the same could be asked about Winnie the Poo.)

“Howdy doody” was was a folksy way of saying, “How do you do?” It was used unironically by Ned Flanders types of folks.

Children I’ve known say: poopy, doo-doo, potty, I knew one kid who said caca. Doody wasn’t a word I heard.

Doody is not that uncommon as a last name.

I googled doody and the first hit was a “yourdictionary” dictionary entry saying “Doody is defined as a slang term for feces. An example of doody is the name a toddler may assign to bowel movements.” The next item up was “a people also ask” of “is howdy a question” and a youtube link of a couple of hyperactive kids reviewing a game called “Doody Head.”

Back in the day, no one could recite the alphabet without giggling hysterically, because P.

I grew up with “Doody” as a slang term for poop. Some people did connect it with Howdy Doody, but it was good for one laugh and then we’d move on.

People thought differently then. Scatalogical humor was not prized.

As mentioned above, “Howdy Doody” derives from the slang term “Howdy Doody”, a phonetic spelling of a slurred :“Howe do you Do” A Google N-gram plot of its usage shows that it had brief blips in the 19-teens and 1930s before really taking off about 1942, during the second World War. Its continued us in the 1950s probably came from the puppet show. I;'m surprised to see tat it died down after the initial run of the show, but picked up again in the 70s and has continued to grow
As for “Doody” as a childish slang for feces, I’ve said before that I suspect it goes back to an adult euphemism, speaking of a child as “doing their duty” – i.e. pooping. I heard this use a lot growing up with regard to diaper changing. As a result “duty” came to refer to the product of such action, which then got phonetically speled as “doody” or “dooty” and even shortened to “doots”.

When I suggested this earlier on this Board, it was met with considerable scorn and derision – many felt that, no, “doody” had some mysterious etymology of its own. it always meant "poop"If so, no one has thus yet produced it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find supporting documentation for the theory I present, either, but it has the advantage of plausibility and the promise of providing a definite origin.

Allison Doody played Elsa Schneider in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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Of course. Haven’t you all even listened to the theme song?

It’s Howdy Doody time
It’s Howdy Doody time
Bob Smith and Howdy, too
Say “Howdy Do” to you

It was also the favorite greeting ofRalph Monroe on Green Acres.

Yes, I’m well aware that it is obviously a derived way to say “how do you do”, but it also sounds like asking the question “How’d he doody?”, which should have been hilarious for the children if “doody” was a word for defecation at the time.

I suspect the use of “Doody” as “poop” wasn’t common when Howdy Doody first aired. Early references to “Doody” gleaned from Google N-gram are all legitimate last names. Of course, “forbidden” slang is less likely to get itself fossilized in print, which is how the Oxford English Dictionary and Google N-gram look for first appearances of words, so this isn’t trivial to localize in time. But I suspect that, even though the phrase “Howdy Doody” was in use (IT was a radio catchphrase, and “fossilized” in Warner Brother cartoons from the 40s), it wouldn’t have been used as the name of a TV character and show if that had been a prominent and well-known meaning.

In fact, the appearance of the word in that TV show name might even have contributed to the use of the term as a secondary use.

People hear what they want to hear. When I hear the words “Howdy Doody”, I think of the kids show, and Princess Summerfall Winterspring. When you hear the words “Howdy Doody”, do you look at the bottom of your shoes?

It wouldn’t hurt, just in case you stepped in some dog doody.

In other words, pinning a naughty meaning on “Howdy Doody” doesn’t mean squat.

In my house in the 1960s my family would refer to it as a BM. I can’t remember what friends said, but I doubt if it was “doody”. Kids say the darndest things. For about six months my brother and sister would giggle if you said “smart, happy, funny or nice”. To them, those words meant “pregnant” and I have no idea how they got that idea. I once told my mother that our 4th grade teacher, in explaining what initials were, had each student say out loud the initials of their name. One said hers was “P. U.” so the class giggled. Mom said back in the 1930s they would giggle if yours were “P. O,” Why? Post Office. I still don’t get it. Post Office boxes are funny?

Funniest use I’ve ever heard of “doody” was on some Jeff Foxworthy show. The rednecks were giving away Ex-Lax for Halloween, and some girl comes home and says,* “I gotta go doody, real hard!”*

It came out so funny, the entire cast lost it and busted out laughing.

FWIW: The classic swimming pool scene in ***Caddyshack ***, one of the little kids screams “Doodie” when they see the Baby Ruth bar in the pool.

No, but “pissed off” might be. When I co-hosted a radio show in the '90s, we used PO’ed all the time as a euphemism: “Whoa! I am very, very PO’ed!”*

*Usually spoken with an Indian (South Asian) accent.

Let’s not forget the Doody character in Grease. According to Frenchy herself, “his nickname stems from the idea that he somewhat resembles Howdy Doody”, not because he’s incontinent.