Comedian Soupy Sales, who according to Variety appeared live on television over 5,000 times during his career, has died at the age of 83.
During the 1950s and 1960s he hosted a children’s show titled Lunch with Soupy Sales; at various times it aired locally and nationally. He was also a regular fixture on game shows like What’s My Line? and The Hollywood Squares. An incident in 1965 in which Sales asked his young audience to send in “green pieces of paper” led to a brief suspension (read about it at Snopes.com).
Obituaries can be found at CNN.com, The Los Angeles Times and BBC News.
3 Replies to “Soupy Sales (1926-2009)”
Soupy was a wonderful man- at least, that’s the impression I had when my friend and I met him at the “Chiller Theater” convention in New Jersey five years ago. My friend bought a copy of his autobiography “Soupy Sez”, and he graciously autographed it for him. But I noticed that Soupy wasn’t in the best of health, even then. I believe he had suffered a stroke, and, other than occasional radio appearances in the New York area, largely confined himself to “fan conventions” and other such public exhibitions during the final years of his life.
I watched Soupy when he was on WNEW-TV in New York during 1965-’66, and the short period in February-March 1979 when WPIX-TV carried his Los Angeles show (it really wasn’t the same as the original). Did you know he taped a variety special for ABC in the fall of 1966 that the network NEVER aired? They “tested” it before a bunch of people at “Preview House” in L.A., and the majority of the audience didn’t care for it. So ABC “shelved” it. It was available via the “collectors’ market” (my friend had a copy, but it’s gone), and it was an “unconventional” special, to say the least. In one segment, scheduled “guest star” Judy Garland doesn’t show up, so Ernest Borgnine takes “her” place. That’s what kind of special it was…I wish YOU could see it.
Most of Soupy’s TV shows don’t exist. ONE example of his ABC Saturday afternoon “LUNCH WITH SOUPY SALES” (for General Foods’ “Jell-O”) from 1960 does, on videotape. After 260 half-hours of his New York show were taped and syndicated nationally [through Screen Gems/Columbia] in 1965-’66, WNEW-TV erased ALL of them to reuse the tape stock. However, Soupy managed to track down someone who had 75 of the 16mm kinescopes of that edition [the kinnies were for those stations who didn’t have videotape equipment]- THOSE exist. A few other “local” examples, including the famous Frank Sinatra guest shot from the summer of ’65, were saved. And virtually all of the 1978-’79 shows he did at KTLA in Los Angeles (65 of them were syndicated) are safe. So we have several examples of him doing what he did best…
Soupy Sales: comedic genius, RIP. His mannerisms and energy remind me a lot of Dick van Dyke actually… the two even looked alike
Was Judy Garland ever on the Soupy Sales Television Show? There is a Youtube showing someone acting as if they are Judy Garland at the end of the show. Is this really Judy Garland or an impersonator? The person appearing as Judy Garland seems to be an impersonator.