Opening our Labor Day week is Buddy Lee, a true working man. He began as a mannequin for H. D. Lee Company Inc., maker of Lee Jeans, in 1920, modeling miniature versions of Lee clothing in stores. The 12.5 inch composition dolls were offered to the public when displays were taken down and later Buddy Lee dolls were retailed by Lee. Beginning in 1949, Buddy Lee was produced as a 13-inch tall plastic doll. Although the dolls were discontinued in 1962, Buddy Lee has appeared in Lee advertising and Coca-Cola offered a reproduction Buddy Lee dressed in its uniform in the 1990s. There was no official female version of Buddy Lee; so-called Betty Lee dolls are composition carnival dolls that resemble Buddy Lee and may have been manufactured by the same company that produced Buddy Lee. During his long career, Buddy Lee wore outfits and uniforms representing a wide variety of occupations, including Coca Cola salesman cowboy, gas station attendant, railroad worker, and baseball player. All authentic clothing should carry the Lee tag.
This all-original Buddy Lee dressed as a Phillips gas station attendant belongs to member Sylvia McDonald. He is a childhood doll and was purchased for her at a Phillips 66 gas station run by Bill Balch in New Home, Texas, for $4.