It could only happen on live television because no one would believe it if it had been scripted. A popular children's television show host collapses on stage and writhes on the stage. While the entire television crew assume that this is just another ad lib prank, the studio audience of young shildren cheer and laugh, egged on by a staff member. This ended the show for the host, although the show would continue under his name for another year. The rumors started that he was dead, or that he had become unhinged and was locked away in an asylum. The truth was that once he recovered from the infection that caused his collapse, he continued performing and returned to television serval times years later. As a matter of fact, he lived for another 28 years.
The television host was, of course, Pinky Lee, whose popular kids show ran just before the even more popular Howd Doody Show. Lee (born Pincus Leff, 1907-1993) was a vaudeville slapstick comedian, easily recognizable by his too-small checkered hat, baggy checkered pants, and wide, wide tie. I don't have the program where he collapsed to show you, but I do have one from the year before, 1954. And if the singer looks familiar, that's because it is Molly Bee, who became popular in her own right and went on to be Tennessee Ernie Ford's favorite guest.
It's time to be a kid again. Enjoy.
For more gems, go to Todd Mason's Sweet Freedom.
I vaguely remember Pinky Lee, but I sure do remember Soupy Sales.ReplyDelete
Truth to tell, George, Sales was light-years beyond Pinky Lee, but Lee was one those who led the way and was one of the major inspirations for PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE.ReplyDelete
I remember Pinky Lee but Soupy Sales was the great one. Not only was Soupy wild and crazy but he was funny. I remember the show where he told the kids to send in all the green pieces of paper from their mother's pocketbooks. He was suspended for that little joke. But he also had a serious and artistic side. He often had jazz groups on the show for a few minutes, including the only film we have of the great Clifford Brown.ReplyDelete
Walker, there was also the show where Sales answered the door and (unexpectedly to him) there was a naked woman -- out of view from the kids in the audience, of course. The crew thought that was a pretty good joke and, to judge from Sales' reaction, it was.ReplyDelete