Celebrity DEEP DOODY By People Staff Published on March 30, 1999 12:00 AM Share Tweet Pin Email A custody battle has erupted over Howdy Doody, the freckle-faced ’50s TV puppet star. The Detroit Institute of Arts is wrangling with the family of Howdy’s late puppeteer Rufus Rose over who owns the marionette. The Institute infers that Rose’s three sons stole the 27-inch puppet (which is appraised at $500,000 and resides in a Rose family safe deposit box in Connecticut) after Rufus and Howdy Doody’s TV sidekick, the late “Buffalo Bob” Smith, promised Howdy to the museum. The Rose brothers say that their dad made no such provisions for Howdy, and they have no plans for him (it?), either.