As the star of "The Soupy Sales Show," he performed live on television for 13 years in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York before the program went into syndication in the United States and abroad.I guess his show must have been in re-runs when I was a kid, because I remember watching the Soupy Sales Show, and always knowing who he was. Or maybe Mama Shakes had his albums? Possibly both. I kinda love his show/shtick in the same way, and for similar reasons, that I love "Pee-Wee's Playhouse."
Ostensibly for children, the show had broad appeal among adults who found Sales' puns, gags and pratfalls deliciously corny and camp. His cast consisted of goofy puppets with names like White Fang, Black Tooth and Pookie, and a host of off-camera characters, including the infamous naked girl.
The high point of every show came when a sidekick launched a pie into Sales' face. Sales once estimated that he was hit by more than 25,000 pies in his lifetime.
The gag became more than hilarious; it evolved into a hip badge of honor. Frank Sinatra was first in a long line of celebrities who clamored for the privilege to be cream-faced, including Tony Curtis, Mickey Rooney, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Martin and Burt Lancaster.
I also remember seeing him on talkshows when I was a kid, on Carson, and thinking he was a great raconteur. I recently posted video of Sales talking about his famous "Green Pieces of Paper" gag gone awry, which always makes me laugh.
When my BFF Todd and I wrote an underground newspaper in high school, his pen name was Soupy Sales, heh.