Saturday, January 08, 2011

In Memoriam: Soupy Sales

As pranks go, it will go down in the history books as one of the greatest; on New Year's Day 1965 Soupy Sales addressed the kids watching his TV show and asked them to get those 'funny green pieces of paper' from their parents' wallets and purses and send them to him at the station, in exchange for which he'd send them a postcard from Puerto Rico.

PhotobucketHistory doesn't record how much money arrived, but obviously some did, and Sales was suspended from work for two weeks for encouraging children to steal; now who ever said television executives had a sense of humour?

It's just one of the wild stories connected to Soupy Sales, and like many of the others, it's actually true; one of the more ubiquitous untruths had Sales slipping innuendo into the shows to entertain the Moms who might have been watching at home. As though a respected broadcaster like him would ever be caught dead slipping it to other people's mothers, especially in the middle of the day.

Born on this day in 1926, the legendary children's entertainer has two sons - Hunt and Tony Sales - professional musicians who performed with David Bowie in the band Tin Machine - not to mention Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop - as well as having formed their own band Tony and the Tigers in Detroit; Hunt Sales composed the signature riff in Iggy Pop's classic song Lust For Life.

Alas, Soupy's 83rd birthday would be his last; he died in October 2009.
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Wynn Bexton said...

I'd almost forgotten about Soupy Sales and I loved his humour. I used to watch him on TV when my son was a little tot. I'm sure Steve remembers him too. He was one of the funniest guys on TV in the late -50's.

michael sean morris said...

I mostly knew about Soupy Sales because of his talk show appearances in the Eighties, but I always found him a clever guest and if even a snarky guy like David Letterman could hold him in such reverence I figured Soupy must have been a pretty great guy.

Wynn Kozak said...

There's never been another one as funny as Soupy. I got a kick out of how he'd say his front teeth were chicklets. (like the gum)