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Did You Know? 1950s TV Legend Called O.C. "Home"
by: Debbie L. Sklar
Pinky Lee was Hollywood by day, O.C. by night!
Pinky Lee was Hollywood by day, O.C. by night!

Well, he is considered to be one of the pioneers of children’s television shows and his daughter Patty lived in Mission Viejo until his death on April 3, 1993, this according to the Past Chair of the City of Mission Viejo Heritage Committee, Judy Deeter.

For those who grew up in the1950s or 1960s, you might remember watching Lee as he would sing and dance to his theme song, “Yoo, Hoo! It’s Me! My name is Pinky Lee!” He donned a plaid jacket and a hat that was ill-fitting, but his infectious smile brought joy to millions of children, Deeter recalls.

Lee had several live television shows but his best-known was The Pinky Lee Show, which began in 1954 and came on each day before the landmark television show, the Howdy Doody Show. His television character worked for Mr. Grumpy—“the richest man in town.” And who could forget his friends on the show Bloopy the Dog and a character named Sousabelle. Lee usually gave advice to children in his audience such as: “honor your parents, never lie, and never hurt another person” during the hour it was on. Lee once described his character as one that was “always pushed around” and “people would gyp (cheat) me.” His young audience loved him and the show was nominated for an Emmy, Deeter says.

During a show in 1955, an infection caused Lee to collapse. A rumor soon spread that he had died of a heart attack.

“For years prior to his death, he was referred to in newspapers as the ‘late’ Mr. Lee. Another rumor said that he had gone insane and was put in an institution. Neither was true,” Deeter says.

In 1957, he hosted The Gumby Show, which was the original appearance of the claymation character Gumby. And actor Paul Reubens is said to have loosely based his character Pee Wee Herman on that of Pinky Lee.

Debbie L. Sklar is a 20+year journalism veteran residing in Southern California, where she is a writer, columnist and editor for many local, regional and national publications. Sklar may be reached via e-mail at

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