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Before There Was Pee Wee Herman, There Was Pinky Lee! See This Powerhouse Sing, Dance & Entertain The Kids In The Manic Manner That Lead To His On-Air Collapse! 90 Minutes Of Vintage Television Presented In The Highest DVD Quality MPG Video Format Of 9.1 MBPS As An Archival Quality All Regions Format DVD, MP4 Video Download Or USB Flash Drive! #PinkyLee #TV #Television #TVShows #TelevisionShows #TVInTheUS #TelevisionInTheUS #TVHosts #TVKidShows #TVKidShowHosts #ChildrensTV #ChildrensTVShows #Burlesque #Slapstick #LiveTV #GoldenAgeOfTV #GoldenAgeOfTelevision #ClassicTV #DVD #VideoDownload #MP4 #USBFlashDrive
As years go by, often things of great importance go by the wayside in the memory. Pinky Lee was that to the early history of TV kids shows. When Pinky lead into The Howdy Doody Show from 1954 to 1955 on the NBC Television Network, wearing plaid in both hat and coat and tap dancing with frenetic speed and energy, he insisted himself into historical territory on a number of different levels, some that have been overly and repetitively trafficked, others that have rarely ever been visited. First there's his voice, with a lispy childlike wonderment about it, that has been heard many times by such fellow kid show practitioners as Pee Wee Herman and others. A consummate vaudvillian, his especial attention was fixed on providing powerhouse entertainment at a speed common to the kids while practicing his craft on a high level. It was not until The Electric Company years later that this vaudvillian craft was again fully brought before the eyes of a young audience, and even then, cast member Rita Moreno was warned against doing the show by those who specifically cited Pinky Lee as a lesson in what would happen to her career if she took the job. Then there's the audience participation that filled up his shows - for all the necessities of a performer having to interact with a studio audience in the early days of television, Pinky Lee is all over them, and he makes certain he gets them onto the stage at one point or another. But most important of all, Pinky Lee did all of these things. It is sad that such versatility resulted in his on-air collapse in 1955, a tragedy that cost him a year's invalidation and lost him his show. When he did come back to TV for a short stint on The Gumby Show With Pinky Lee, though he still had the magic, his soul was in pain. When that show was canceled, it effectively ended his career as a kid show host, in spite of another short stint on KABC's The Pinky Lee Show in 1965. For this brief span of time, however, a legacy has been left that, for all its brevity, is nevertheless a greatly important landmark in the history of childrens programming, and it deserves to be so recognized, celebrated, and enjoyed.
01: The Pinky Lee Show (Black/White, 1954, 30 Minutes.)
02: The Pinky Lee Show (Black/White, 1954, 29 Minutes.)
03: The Gumby Show With Pinky Lee In The Fun Forest (Black/White, November 1957, 30 Minutes (Last Pinky Lee Show))
Pinky Lee, American comedian and television host (May 2, 1907 - April 3, 1993) was born Pincus Leff in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Pinky Lee was an American burlesque comic and host of the children's television program The Pinky Lee Show in the early 1950s. Lee worked as a comic of the "baggy pants" variety on stage, becoming an expert at the slapstick, comic dancing and rapid-fire jokes of the burlesque style. During the 1940s, he was heard on Drene Time and other radio programs. Easily recognized by his trademark lisp and high-energy antics, his signature costume was a loud plaid suit with baggy checkered pants and an undersized hat. During his routines, whenever anybody irritated him (which happened frequently) he would unleash his catchphrase: "Oooooh! You make me so mad!". In 1950, he had his own 30-minute primetime variety television series on NBC, The Pinky Lee Show, featuring vaudevillians and burlesque comics. In 1951-52 he starred with Vivian Blaine in a 15-minute sitcom, Those Two. He returned in 1954 with The Pinky Lee Show, sponsored by Tootsie Roll. An Emmy-nominated afternoon children's program that spawned later imitators such as Pee-Wee's Playhouse, it was followed each day by the popular Howdy Doody Show. Lee opened each show with his trademark theme song, "Yoo Hoo, It's Me!". In 1955, Lee collapsed on camera due to an infection. His normal antics were so energetic that apparently the cameraman and the show's director assumed the fall an ad lib part of his performance. The "Peanut Gallery", an audience usually composed almost entirely of pre-adolescent children who were coached by a staff member, continued their enthusiastic cheering and applause from the on-stage bleachers. After as much as ten seconds of writhing by the stricken Lee, the camera abruptly panned to the still-cheering audience. The following afternoons Pinky Lee was not present. This effectively ended his leading role on the show, which continued without him until 1956. Rumors that he had died of a heart attack, prompted by the incident, persisted for decades. Occasionally, newspaper items mentioned the "late" Lee-even though he was performing at a dinner theater in the same city as one of the reporting newspapers. The incident also spawned rumors that Lee had been institutionalized after going insane on live television. In 1957, Lee hosted The Gumby Show, the original appearance of that claymation character. In 1964, Lee attempted a return to kids' TV, hosting a local children's comedy program on KABC-TV in Los Angeles. This series was nationally syndicated for the 1964-65 TV seasons, but the program fell prey to creative interference from the show's producers and station management. Lee fought the interference, but his efforts were for naught. The Pinky Lee Kids TV Show went off the air after one season. In later years, Lee worked as a teacher and appeared in regional musical theater productions. He died in 1993 in Mission Viejo, California. His interment was at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery.