Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Sins of Pinky Lee


click on the thumbnails for the full-sized images, you filthy degenerates!

I found this two-page spread about burlesque comic and kidvid host Pinky Lee in the Jan-Feb, 1952 issue of Hit! magazine. Hit! was one of those proto-Playboy magazines or the late 40s and early 50s that featured goofy double-entendres, poorly drawn cartoons, and dozens of dowdy looking women in baggy bikinis, all presumably extremely arousing to your average 1950s blue collar joe. What I find fascinating about this spread is that it demonstrates how Pinky was able to effectively balance his careers as burlesque top banana extraordinaire and Ultimate Kiddie TV Host without raising the ire of Mom or the censors. As the Pete Smith-style captions illustrate, Pinky, he of the permanent and pronounced lithp, was promoted as something of a naive man-child in the mold of Stan Laurel and Harry Langdon, just too damn innocent to really know what it's all about. This contrast between innocent naif and pulchritudinous damsels is what made Pinky Lee's burlesque career click and, although the irony was lost entirely when he became a children's entertainer, Pinky was, no matter what the setting, a safe and squeaky clean comic. kiddierecords.com has a fun Pinky Lee 78, Inkas the Ramferinkas, available that'll give you a good impression of the little goon's vocal style. Physically, he was a dynamo, a comic who literally knocked himself out to entertain. Be sure to check him out in the otherwise awful Lady Of Burlesque (1943) starring Barbara Stanwyck.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Bill said...

I remember actually enjoying Lady of Burglesque when I saw it, gads, over a decade ago: more as a 40's era murder mystery than a comedy or tribute to the burly-q days. I do remember being surprised to see Pinky Lee in his baggy pants role, since at the time I still primarily recalled him from my days as a wee scaper watching kidshow teevee. Fun pics . . .

5:53 AM  
Blogger Aaron Neathery said...

I find it pretty tough going.. Stanwyck as a burlesque queen? BAH!! Not nearly enough Pinky Lee OR burlesque to make up for the limp mystery plot. I'd love to get my hands on Pinky's 1937 short for Educational. It has a good reputation..

12:29 PM  

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