Share “Bill Howard, longtime Oklahoma City TV...”

Bill Howard, longtime Oklahoma City TV personality, dies at 77

The longtime Oklahoma City TV personality was best known for his witty performance as Ho Ho the Clown's sidekick.
by Brandy McDonnell Modified: January 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm •  Published: January 9, 2013

Former local television personality Bill Howard died Wednesday in Oklahoma City. He was 77.

Although his television career spanned 37 years, Howard was best known for playing Pokey the Puppet, the sock-puppet sidekick of Ho Ho the Clown on KOCO-5's long-running children's program.

“Bill was an integral part of the history of KOCO. Pokey the Puppet is legendary in thousands of kids' lives,” said KOCO President and General Manager Brent Hensley, who worked with Howard for seven years.

After a tour of duty as a photographer in the U.S. Army, Howard started at KOCO in 1960 as a camera operator and soon joined the “Lunch With Ho Ho Show,” according to The Oklahoman Archives. The show aired from 1960 to 1988, making it one of the longest-running children's TV programs in the United States.

“Ho Ho and Pokey are important to baby boomers especially because they were part of our lives ... and they came into our living room every day,” said Bob Blackburn, director of the Oklahoma Historical Society. “Their wit and their relationship were special. You could appreciate it on several levels.”

Howard had cancer, Blackburn said.

Howard played other on-air characters, including the sidekick Pronto in a Lone Ranger spoof and the sarcastic Granny Fern, and worked on the production side at KOCO. He supervised the camera crew for the taping of more than 6,000 episodes of “The Ida B Show,” starring Blackburn's mother, Ida B. Blackburn.

YouTube: Vintage KOCO: Ho Ho the Clown View/sign the guest book for Bill Howard

Continue reading this story on the... has disabled the comments for this article.
by Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment Reporter
Brandy McDonnell, also known by her initials BAM, writes stories and reviews on movies, music, the arts and other aspects of entertainment. She is NewsOK’s top blogger: Her 4-year-old entertainment news blog, BAM’s Blog, has notched more than 1...
+ show more

Trending Now


  1. 1
    Tulsa Jail: Detention officer numbers rise, inmate count at lowest in years
  2. 2
    Coalition will rally at state Capitol to call for moratorium on injection wells, fracking
  3. 3
    Throwback Tulsa: B-47 jet broke apart, raining debris on east Tulsa in '58
  4. 4
    World Bank Admits It Ignored Its Own Rules Designed To Protect The Poor
  5. 5
    Kim Kardashian's new hair color makes headlines
+ show more