Legendary 60’s comic and children’s show host Soupy Sales has died at the age of 83.
As the star of “The Soupy Sales Show,” he performed live on television for 13 years in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York before the program went into syndication in the United States and abroad. Ostensibly for children, the show had broad appeal among adults who found Sales’ puns, gags and pratfalls deliciously corny and camp. His cast consisted of goofy puppets with names like White Fang, Black Tooth and Pookie, and a host of off-camera characters, including the infamous naked girl. The high point of every show came when a sidekick launched a pie into Sales’ face. Sales once estimated that he was hit by more than 25,000 pies in his lifetime. The gag became more than hilarious; it evolved into a hip badge of honor. Frank Sinatra was first in a long line of celebrities who clamored for the privilege to be cream-faced, including Tony Curtis, Mickey Rooney, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Martin and Burt Lancaster.
Soupy’s show was a big part of my childhood, partly because I could only watch it at my grandparent’s house in Newark as we didn’t get it in North Carolina. Watching Soupy was a big holiday tradition for us whenever we were in town. My dad thought he was the funniest man alive – until Flip Wilson came along.