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Soupy Sales Dies at 83

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Soupy Sales is a  comedian that gained popularity back in the 1960s with a hit slapstick comedy Tv show. Soupy Sales; pie-throwing routine became his signature died at the age of 83 last Thursday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx.

As the star of “The Soupy Sales Show,” he performed live on television in Detroit, new York and Los Angeles  for 13 years before the hit TV program went into syndication in the United States and abroad.

Ostensibly for children, the show had broad appeal among adults who found Soupy Sales’ puns, gags and pratfalls corny. 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. Soupy 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’ve never done a pretentious show; it’s always had a live feeling, the kind of thing that comes across when you don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Sales told author Gary Grossman in the 1981 book “Saturday Morning TV.” “I’ve never done anything simply because I thought I could get away with it. I’ve just wanted to do the funniest show.”

The possibility of funny moments dogged Soupy Sales from the start. He was born Milton Supman on Jan. 28, 1926, in the North Carolina backwater of Franklinton. The Supmans were the only Jews in town. Soupy Sales’ father ran a dry goods store that sold sheets to the Ku Klux Klan.

The family name was often mispronounced as “Soupman.” To make matters worse, his parents, who had nicknamed his brothers “Hambone” and “Chickenbone,” dubbed him “Soupbone.” Eventually, Milton became just Soupy.

Sales took his first pie in the face in 1950 when he played an Indian in a spoof of the James Stewart movie “Broken Arrow.” That pie was real. Later, he would switch to shaving-cream pies. But he swore that the secret of a good pie was the crust: If it stuck to the face, it was, in Sales’ opinion, no good.

“A pie has to hit you and explode into a thousand pieces,” the expert explained, “so you see the person’s face and see it take away his dignity.”

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One Response to “Soupy Sales Dies at 83”

  • Samantha K says:

    Soupy Sales took so many pies to the face over so many years; truly, he was a man dedicated to his trade — he’ll be missed

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