Soup's Gone
October 22, 2009 10:01 PM   Subscribe

Soupy Sales has died. Mark Evanier explained his appeal years ago, adding a bit more today. An entire live Soupy Sales Show from 1965 on YouTube: part 1, part 2, part 3.In his honor, throw a pie or two (filled with shaving cream, of course, let's not waste food). [} [} [} posted by wendell (72 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
No Soup for us.

posted by Joe Beese at 10:04 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

[} ☺
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:14 PM on October 22, 2009

(.) (.) [NSFW after 2:38]
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:17 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

have to include this infamous and NSFW clip
posted by caddis at 10:18 PM on October 22, 2009

...and wow, Gerald Butler really, really does resemble Soupy Sales!
posted by Guy Smiley at 10:24 PM on October 22, 2009

Way back in the late 50s, long before Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street, we had Soupy (the original Uncle Floyd) to teach us there was more to life than Miss Frances and Ding Dong School. RIP Milton; you served us well.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:25 PM on October 22, 2009

I'm old enough to have watched Soupy Sales back in the 50's and 60's. He was the best! White Fang used to crack me up!
posted by rmmcclay at 10:35 PM on October 22, 2009

He is one of that generation of TV personalities that I only know directly because of appearances on game shows in the 70s. Thanks for the background.
posted by cgk at 10:40 PM on October 22, 2009

Do the Mouse, yeah.

posted by Kinbote at 10:49 PM on October 22, 2009

This moment of silence is for my mom, who loved his show. Detroit says goodnight.

posted by Tesseractive at 10:50 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

If you were in your early teens in the NYC area, there was nothing even remotely like Soupy. He was ahead of his time, with his loose, easy improv spirit, his dialog with the crew off-camera, and his well-known bits like the person-at-the door, "Soupy Sez". great song parodies (remember his own wild "Pachalafaka"? It was the B side of "the Mouse" as I recall. ) and, of course the hilarious bits with wacky dog-puppet Pookie, or the humongous, growl-grunt-speaking, off-camera dog White Fang. Here's a YouTube 10-minute bio (when his right-hand man Farank Nastasi was still alive). Or how about a 1979 show with guest star Alice Cooper? Even Sinatra himself was a guest on the show and got hit with a pie. Watching some the old clips, and most of them are still funny.

There will never be another like Soupy Sales. He was one if the great pleasures of my younger days, and was a creative, comedic force, and an inventive, influential, funny, funny man. R.I.P., Mr. Supman. Thanks for all the laughter.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 10:57 PM on October 22, 2009 [5 favorites]

Aw, man. I dug him.

posted by darkstar at 11:08 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hello, once I was Tomato, or a broccoli! Or a tomato with a broccoli, thppht, tthip.
posted by Mblue at 11:11 PM on October 22, 2009

Aww. He was a titan in Detroit TV.
posted by klangklangston at 11:11 PM on October 22, 2009

Soupy Sales was still alive???!?
posted by dunkadunc at 11:13 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by exlotuseater at 11:27 PM on October 22, 2009

Soupy Sales, Mel Brooks, George Carlin, Richard Pryor.

That's my sense of humor. That's it, those four points on a rhombus within which are things I think are funny.

Thanks, Soupy.

You were really funny, and you brought me joy. And the world doesn't perzackly go out of its way to bring me joy.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:48 PM on October 22, 2009 [2 favorites]

I barely remember Soupy Sales on (I think) Channel 17. The single character below is not the Vonnegut Asshole. For this post, it's a splat.

posted by crataegus at 12:06 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Bafalafika... Bafalafika...
They whisper it all over Turkey!

Well done, Soup.
posted by zaelic at 12:43 AM on October 23, 2009

My dad enjoyed Soupy as much as I did.
posted by various at 12:54 AM on October 23, 2009

How unhip was I?

In the early 80's, I drove a '73 Plymouth Fury. Puke green. Not the cool kind of Fury like in Christine. Its headlights were covered with grill so that you couldn't see them in the daytime. When you turned the headlights on, the grill turned up with a terrifying ka-thunk. You could seat twelve teenagers comfortably in it. Seriously. It only became crowded after 13.

Also, it only had AM radio, so when I was driving around right after school, my options were very limited. I lived close enough to NYC that I could get WNBC. This was the legendary NBC of Howard Stern and Pig Vomit. In the morning, I could listen to pre-asshole Don Imus (well, pre-"my recognizing that he was an asshole" Imus). Between the two was Soupy Sales.

Now, I know that neither Imus nor Stern liked Sales, but he was my favorite of the three. I was like 16 or 17 and I'm enjoying listening to parodies of "Stormy Weather" more than I'm enjoying listening to Howard Stern talk to naked women. This probably explains why I didn't date a whole lot in high school.

None the less, I probably shared a year or two of my teenage life driving around with Soupy Sales on the radio, laughing at his banter and digging his old school vibe. When I finally moved away for college, I more or less forgot about him until the Internet came along, but watching clips of his old show, damn if he wasn't a kind of comic genius.

I mean that sincerely. He was funny both because he was funny, but also because he recognized when somebody else was being funny and came across as enjoying that tremendously. The atmosphere on his sets suggests that everyone involves was having a great time - and that's how his show sounded at NBC.

Anyhow, humor has taken a turn for the cynical this decade. I'm sure we'll come around to liking the more silly style of comedy again someday. In the meantime, I'm sure glad that there are clips of Soupy out there for us all to enjoy.

Rest in peace, funny man.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:38 AM on October 23, 2009 [6 favorites]

Oh, Soupy. What a strange and wonderful legacy you leave. In an odd way, you were one of my first crushes. A very, very odd way.

Poor White Fang and Black Tooth. Who will care for them now?

Bye, bubbeh.
posted by tzikeh at 1:48 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by paddbear at 4:20 AM on October 23, 2009

Damn. This genuinely saddens me. Soupy's tv show is a real childhood touchstone. Do the mouse, yeah.

posted by Thorzdad at 4:35 AM on October 23, 2009

Show me a kid in a sports car and I'll show you a tot rod.

Show me a cop who hits and I'll show you a bobby socks.

Loved his word gags.

Who knew that "Sales had two sons, Hunt Sales and Tony Sales, who are musicians who have played with David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop." ?

I loved Soupy Sales' particular vulgarity. His raucous sense of the absurd was definitely subversive in every sense of that word. His mischievousness was uplifting to me as a kid in the mid-60's and yet he was tenderly funny too with his Black Tooth shtick. In 1966/67 my mother worked for a year in the building where his show (and Sonny Fox's) was filmed, 1 East 53rd Street. It felt cool to know that and surprising to know he was my mother's age. Somehow I always thought of him as younger. There was a strong feeling his mirth also cut through bs. I'm sorry he died. The news gave me a real pang of loss. The world is playfully merrier because of he lived and I will always think of him with affection.

Wishing him good company in his version of heaven.
posted by nickyskye at 5:03 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

It makes me a little sad to think that the NSFW gag Guy Smiley posted is 50 years old, and if something like that happened on a kid's show today, there'd be such an uproar the show would have been immediately taken off the air. That's progress for you.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:05 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, and I realize that the naked part wasn't actually broadcast.
posted by MegoSteve at 5:36 AM on October 23, 2009

Show me a cop who hits and I'll show you a bobby socks.

"Now what do we mean by that?"
"Yeah, what do we mean by that?!"

Man, this news is hittin me hard. Soupy Sales was the last of a breed of kids' show hosts who knew that lunacy was a good thing and playing to both the parents and kids was an even better thing. Albert Einstein may have cancelled his afternoon plans to watch Time for Beany, but Soupy had Frank Sinatra on his show. Not only did Sinatra take a pie in the face, but he requested it. Being hit with a pie on Soupy's show was a measure of celebrity.

Over the years we've has lost Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan, Fred Rogers, Sandy Becker (whose show probably came the closest to matching Soupy's in unrestrained nuttiness), Sonny Fox, Bob McAllister, Don "Mr. Wizard" Herbert, and Canadian hosts such as the beloved Mr. Dress-Up and Robert Homme, the Friendly Giant. They represent an era of children's television before parental watchdog groups (for better and for worse), where somehow it was perfectly fine to sit down and talk right to the kids through the camera, play games with them, or just goof off speaking to the giant paw of an otherwise off-screen dog.

I'm sure that in a few decades' time, people will mourn the passing of DJ Lance Rock from Yo Gabba Gabba or Sportacus from Lazy Town or whichever one of the Wiggles dies first, and I am sure that they will make the same "kids' television just isn't what it used to be, look at all we've lost" remarks that people are saying right now, and maybe they'll be as right as us. I just hope that these personalities are able to make the same emotional connection with the kids of today as Soupy, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Rogers made with previous generations.


(and a reh-reh-reah from White Fang)
posted by Spatch at 5:40 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

("We've has"? And the sad thing is I did preview the comment. Waiting now for the pie in the face.)
posted by Spatch at 5:41 AM on October 23, 2009

posted by gcbv at 5:52 AM on October 23, 2009

posted by Xoebe at 5:59 AM on October 23, 2009


I only know his work from clips, but this makes me sad. Check out his great cameo as Moses in And God Spoke if you get the chance.
posted by JoanArkham at 6:04 AM on October 23, 2009

Uncle Floyd and Soupy Sales. My two favorites. Soupy was friggin funny. When the Chairman of the Board is willing to get pied with him, you know he was something special.

posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:06 AM on October 23, 2009

Someday my children will be old enough to know how it feels to see an icon of their childhood pass away. Soupy was, for a while, the funniest person I ever saw on my TV.

posted by tommasz at 6:13 AM on October 23, 2009

posted by drowsy at 6:22 AM on October 23, 2009

posted by DaddyNewt at 6:42 AM on October 23, 2009

Another piece of my childhood gone.
posted by fixedgear at 6:49 AM on October 23, 2009

Goodbye Soupy. We'll miss you. Although we do sort of have him to blame for Tin Machine.
posted by josher71 at 7:13 AM on October 23, 2009


A part of my childhood is gone.
posted by mike3k at 7:43 AM on October 23, 2009

A part of my childhood is gone. Exactly. One of the best parts of all; damn it hurts.

As a small child in New York City, Soupy Sales (along with Chuck McCann, Sandy Becker et al) was such a big part of my life that I hardly know what to say. As Spatch says above in his wonderful post, this news is hittin' me hard. Even today, if I happen to find myself walking on East 67th St by the old WNEW studios (205 East), I'll always think "This is it. This is where Soupy's show came from." Hallowed ground.

I second the comments of all those above who feel as a magical piece of their childhood has been yanked out of them. Soupy was the greatest :^(
posted by Nicholas West at 7:58 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

But he was just on $100,000 Pyramid last week! And Dick Clark looked young as always.

Damn that's a good gameshow.
posted by ALongDecember at 8:01 AM on October 23, 2009

posted by dragonsi55 at 8:13 AM on October 23, 2009

This is a weird tribute thingy to Soupy on YouTube, but at around 0:10 you can see Sinatra get his pie in the face, as well as other members of the Rat Pack (I forgot Sammy was there!) standing around about to get it too (or already having got it).

And since I forgot in my previous comment:

posted by tzikeh at 8:17 AM on October 23, 2009

posted by aught at 8:25 AM on October 23, 2009

I kinda remember Soupy had a serial with a character called "The Mask" and his bad breathed sidekick "Onions Oregano." Anybody else remember this?
posted by digsrus at 8:28 AM on October 23, 2009

He's off to that Big Pie In The Face In The Sky!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:34 AM on October 23, 2009

posted by Smart Dalek at 8:35 AM on October 23, 2009

Happy Days Are[n't] Here, Again. Soupy, you were a staple of my childhood and will be missed.

posted by Man with Lantern at 8:47 AM on October 23, 2009

My dad was an out-of-work, 20-something slacker in Windsor, Ontario in the 1950s. While babysitting his kid sister one summer, he discovered the Soupy Sales Show (at the time, still a local Detroit TV show), and it was a revelation:

Here was a show with all the bawdy, madcap hilarity and sly, arch wit of the Sid Caesar Show (another favorite of his), and yet it was supposedly aimed at kids! Over the course of that summer, the show would become appointment TV for both his little sister and him. (She eventually "outgrew" the show, but he stayed faithful, and continued regularly tuning in long after his babysitting duties had ended.)

When he used to tell us this story, it always made me think of my favorite show at the time, Pee-Wee's Playhouse—a nominal kids show with similar odd-ball appeal to the 20-something slackers of my day. And so the generation gap was bridged, at least for a little while.

Well done, Soupy.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:06 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by kuppajava at 9:27 AM on October 23, 2009

Thanks for the correction about the location of his show Nicholas West. I remembered it was in the same building with Sonny Fox, but the address wasn't East 53rd at all, it was East 67th. (And nice to see you on the blue again).
posted by nickyskye at 9:38 AM on October 23, 2009

I found a postcard from Soupy Sales to my grandmother when, as a child, I was going through a giant cardboard box of photos and memorabilia at her house. She had been a very minor pop star in the 1950s and they had met when they were both performing in Las Vegas. He signed his name with the "oupy" and "ales" sort of tucked inside great big loopy S's.
posted by HotToddy at 9:42 AM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by cosmac at 9:54 AM on October 23, 2009

Back in college I worked at a Deli in Soupy's hometown of Huntington, WV. When Soupy would come to town for a charity event or to visit old friends, he would stop in the Deli for lunch. I was working one of my first shifts there when the phone rang and I was asked to answer.

Me: Good Morning, Downtown Deli

Soupy: Your close, but my name is Soupy Sales, not Downtown Deli.

It just seems appropriate that was my first conversation with Soupy. He was genuinely friendly, down to earth, funny guy. I always looked forward to his visits, as I knew I would get a laugh and a couple dirty jokes I could tell later. Rest in Peace Soupy, I am sure the Corn Beef is better where you are now.
posted by remo at 10:32 AM on October 23, 2009 [4 favorites]

I used to talk like white Fang to my mom...would drive her crazy.
posted by xjudson at 10:59 AM on October 23, 2009

Oh man...I love Soupy Sales. I think the Soupy Sales show was the first time I ever saw Alice Cooper. Of course, he takes a pie in the face.

Oh, this is such sad news. Rest in peace, funny man.
posted by dejah420 at 11:10 AM on October 23, 2009

Rest in Pies
posted by MtDewd at 11:12 AM on October 23, 2009 [3 favorites]

posted by Smedleyman at 11:14 AM on October 23, 2009

I'll never realize my childhood dream of snapping his floppy bow tie now.
posted by Danf at 11:53 AM on October 23, 2009

Who knew that "Sales had two sons, Hunt Sales and Tony Sales, who are musicians who have played with David Bowie, Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop." ?

Fans of David Bowie, Todd Rundgren, and Iggy Pop, for one.
posted by anazgnos at 1:01 PM on October 23, 2009

posted by alms at 1:33 PM on October 23, 2009

The level of discomfort in this 66WNBC publicity photo is off the charts.

On a personal note, I only really knew Soupy through his appearances on Sha Na Na when I was a toddler, and somewhere around that time I acquired a Soupy Sales colouring/activity book. The book made a lot more sense years later when I saw clips of the old Soupy show on a WXYZ-TV retrospective.

posted by evilcolonel at 3:16 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Send pieces of paper of men with beards to:

Soupy Sales Memorial Fund
c/o jonp72

posted by jonp72 at 3:40 PM on October 23, 2009 [2 favorites]

posted by effwerd at 3:40 PM on October 23, 2009

posted by disclaimer at 3:56 PM on October 23, 2009

I'm another who watched him as a kid... loved the show, loved his humor.......

Listening to the reports on Detroit radio stations this morning as I drove to work was interesting.. and, at some point I realized that this was REALLY big news in only a couple of cities......

posted by HuronBob at 4:08 PM on October 23, 2009

posted by Mael Oui at 8:50 PM on October 23, 2009


I've only watched the show as an adult, since the internet made clips available, and enjoyed it.

Serious question...who is the closest thing we have to his style of comedy these days?
posted by Kickstart70 at 10:21 PM on October 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

I used to see Soupy Sales on daytime tv game shows when I skipped elementary school. He had hippie/helmet hair and always seemed eager, but not in a gross way (unlike Gene Rayburn, who wasn't gross in a eager way, but was eager in a gross way).
posted by goofyfoot at 11:01 PM on October 23, 2009

Of anyone out there, I think Craig Ferguson
really has that "kindred spirit/brother from another mother vibe" similarity that echoes Soupy's sensibility to me.
posted by stavx at 6:18 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]

I also watched Soupy from our living room in NYC in the 60s...
Sonny Fox, Sandy Becker, Chuck McCan, et. al.

Good night funnymen...

I miss them all.
posted by Drasher at 8:47 AM on October 24, 2009

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