Soup’s gone

So I come home tonight after a long day at the hospital with KJ, and the first thing I read on the news is that Soupy Sales died.

Go ahead, world… tear away another piece of my childhood.

Although I’m too young to have been around for his infamous kids’ shows from the 1950s and early 1960s — shame on you for thinking there’s nothing I’m too young to have been around for — Soupy was a big part of my nascent TV experience. Reruns of his mid-’60s variety show ran endlessly on Armed Forces Television, a staple of my military-brat youth.

More significantly, as a connoisseur of game shows, I watched Soupy on hundreds of episodes of programs like What’s My Line? (he was a regular panelist for seven seasons), Pyramid, To Tell the Truth, Match Game, and Hollywood Squares. In the ’70s, Soupy also hosted the juvenile version of the stunt game Almost Anything Goes, the forerunner of Nickelodeon’s Double Dare and its spinoffs.

Soupy’s legend in television was secured on New Year’s Day 1965, when as a gag he invited his young viewers to dig into their parents’ wallets and purses and mail him “those green pieces of paper with pictures of Presidents on them.” Contrary to popular belief, Sales wasn’t fired for this stunt — although he was suspended for a week — nor did his entreaty net a massive windfall. (Most of the mail submissions contained Monopoly money.) The incident, however, illustrates the unpredictable humor for which Soupy became famous, even when he was mostly known for entertaining kids.

Some years ago, TV comedy and comics writer Mark Evanier composed a detailed retrospective about Soupy’s career. In tonight’s blog post, Mark adds a few additional thoughts. Both articles are well worth a read.

Back when I was reviewing films for DVD Verdict, I penned a critique of a little-known “mockumentary” entitled …And God Spoke. It’s a pretty funny flick if you enjoy that Christopher Guest sort of thing, and one of its most hilarious bits is a cameo by Soupy Sales as himself, hired to portray Moses in a low-budget Biblical epic. Because if you couldn’t afford Charlton Heston, you’d definitely want the Soup Man.

Soupy Sales — whose birth name, incidentally, was Milton Supman — was 83. His two sons, Hunt and Tony Sales, are rock musicians who’ve worked as sidemen for such premier artists as David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, and Iggy Pop.

There. I didn’t mention pie once.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Celebritiana, Cinemania, Dead People Got No Reason to Live, Reminiscing, Ripped From the Headlines, Teleholics Anonymous

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