Happy Birthday Soupy Sales! Watch “The Soupy Sales Show” And See Classic Comic Television At Its Best
January 8, 2016 — Soupy Sales was one of the pioneers of early children’s television — although many of the younger viewers did not realize that The Soupy Sales Show was considered subversive by many adults.
With his collection of classic puppets — the most famous were White Fang (the “Biggest and meanest dog in the USA”), Black Tooth (the “Biggest and sweetest dog in the USA”) and Pookie the Lion — Soupy Sales presented comedy sketches, ridiculous slapstick humor routines and raised pie-flinging to an art form. No guest star, no matter how big a star, was immune to getting a shaving cream pie in the face from Soupy or one of his puppet friends. Apparently. at one time, Frank Sinatra called with a request: “Hey, Soupy, it’s Frank,” he explained. “I want to come on your show on one condition: I get hit with a pie.” In one show he, Sammy Davis Jr. and Trini Lopez all get hit with pies in the same skit.
Soupy Sales was the target of the pies more often than anyone else. He estimated that he had been hit with 20,000 pies throughout his career.
Sales early career started in Detroit, where he had a jazz radio program. That was where he met many of the greatest musicians of his time; throughout his career they would make guest appearances, providing his shows with a series of remarkable musical pieces. B.B King, Chaka Khan, Dusty Springfield, Alice Cooper, The Temptations and Dick Clark all make appearances in these episodes.
The most famous piece of Soupy Sales lore is the time he told children to take all of the funny green pieces of paper out of their parents’ wallets and send them to him; he promised if they did he would send them a post card from Puerto Rico. Children listened and mailed him money. Although a fair amount of it was Monopoly money, parents were outraged and demanded that the station (WNEW) suspend Sales. WNEW did suspend him, for two weeks, but the subsequent uproar convinced the network to bring him back — and his popularity actually grew.
Soupy Sales would have been 90 years old today.
Watch 12 of Soupy Sales’ early episodes at FilmRise — and find out what made this show one of the most popular of its time.