Friday, October 23, 2009

"Cool it, Reba!": Soupy Sales & The Gang - In Memoriam


Above, Soupy Sales (Milton Supman)


Above, Soupy Sales and 'White Fang', on camera


Above, Soupy Sales and Clyde Adler as White Fang.

Growing up in NY as a child in the late 50s and 60s, there were lots of TV shows on the local channels (5-WNEW, 9-WOR, and 11-WPIX)that were somewhat "heimish" and funky, in the sense of feeling like they were produced on a relative shoe string. The early days of TV that felt, like maybe back over the last couple of decades, the earlier days of the Internet. Unpolished, but perhaps even more zany and creative because of the low budget, local TV production.

I would include "Officer" Joe Bolton, Sonny Fox and Wonderama, Chuck McCann, and, of course, Soupy Sales. Especially with Soupy Sales, even as a kid, you sensed that you were watching something makeshift and very creative, with a lot of sarcastic adult-type humor bandied about. The articulately inarticulate White Fang, Black Tooth, Pookie the Lion and Hobart and Reba ("Cool it, Reba!"), the heads in the pot-bellied stove, private eye Philo Kvetch, and the “nut at the door,” who always interrupted whatever was going on. Soupy Sales was out-of-control and outrageous, a ready source of laughs for kids in a completely different cultural era. His famous incident where, rankled by having to do a live show on New Years Day, he asked young viewers to go into parents' wallets and send in those funny green pictures of the presidents, netted him a suspension, an FCC warning, pickets in support of him, and at the same time, cemented Mr. Sales' TV legacy.

Soupy Sales passed away at Calgary Hospital in the Bronx at age 83. I saw him at a Comic Convention about a year ago in Manhattan, wheelchair bound, but still Soupy.

Mr. Sales is survived by his wife, Trudy, and his two sons, Tony and Hunt, who performed with David Bowie and, if I am not mistaken, Iggy Pop.

NY Times Obit [Link here]

2 comments:

  1. Soupy Sales practically invented the immortal pie in the face gag -- they don't make em like that anymore...

    ReplyDelete

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