Release Message: Early in the run, there was a short-lived puppet character called Mr. X (Claude Rae) who traveled through time and space in his "Whatsis Box" teaching children about history.
Description: The Canadian Howdy Doody Show made its debut on November 15, 1954, airing three times a week over CBC Television. 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. Newman oversaw this series while working as head of programming for the CBC. Newman maintained a guiding influence over Doctor Who until he left the BBC in 1967 and was in talks with the BBC in 1986, when the show was foundering, to reformat the show and take the role of executive producer. 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". Among the puppet characters was a "Mr. X," voiced by Claude Rae, who zipped through time and space in a machine called a "Whatsis Box," teaching children about history. Mr X's tenure on the program was short-lived when numerous parents complained that he was too scary. The CBC's Supervisor of Drama Production at the time was one Sydney Newman, who would later move to England to head the Drama departments of ABC-TV and eventually the BBC, where he very likely had Mr X and his Whatsis Box in mind when he formulated the concept of Doctor Who.