- Associated Press - Monday, August 23, 2010

WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, MICH. (AP) - Edward Kean, primary writer of the "Howdy Doody Show" and who is credited with creating the exclamation, "kowabunga," has died at the age of 85, family friend Del Reddy said.

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.

Kean died Aug. 13 at a nursing care facility in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield Township from complications of emphysema, Reddy said.

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," made popular by one of the show’s characters and borrowed by Bart Simpson, the animated problem child on the long-running comedy "The Simpsons."

"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.

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