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Creator / Soupy Sales

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"Hey, kids! I want you to tiptoe into your parents bedrooms, look in their pockets for all the green pieces of paper with the pictures of the guys in beards, and send them to Soupy Sales at Channel 5 in New York."
A joke that backfired leading to a two week suspension of his show.

Milton Supman (January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009), better known by his stage name Soupy Sales, was an American entertainer who worked in films, radio, and television. He is best known for his raucous children's TV shows which ran on-and-off between 1953 and 1978, which featured frequent ad-libbing, puppets, and what became Sales' trademark: getting a Pie in the Face for a particularly groan-worthy punchline.

In the 1980s, Sales was the voice of Donkey Kong on Saturday Supercade.

His sons Tony (bass) and Hunt (drums) Sales are musicians who've worked with Todd Rundgren, Iggy Pop and David Bowie (as members of Tin Machine).

Tropes Invoked by Soupy Sales:

  • As Himself: And God Spoke... (1993). The plot point was that he had been hired to play Moses in a low-budget film because Charlton Heston wasn't available.
  • Dance Sensation/Accidental Dance Craze: "The Mouse" (in which Soupy would waggle his fingers in his ears and show his upper teeth like...a mouse). Intended as a one-off gag, both the dance and its accompanying song became smash hits.
  • Death by Cameo: Nearly happened to him. The Chiodo brothers, during production of Killer Klowns from Outer Space wanted Soupy to play the security guard who gets killed (appropriately enough) by acidic pies. However, the studio declined to bring him in, believing the audience would not recognize him.
  • Edible Ammunition: Soupy originally used real pies, but budgetary issues later forced a switch to pie crusts filled with shaving cream. As an added bonus, shaving cream was easier to clean up afterwards, plus it didn't spoil under the hot studio lights. Soupy also liked the fact that baked crusts "exploded on impact."
  • Excited Kids' Show Host: "Low-key" and "sedate" were not how you would describe Sales at his kid-show peak.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The 1985 WNBC-AM radio "dream team" of Sales (the Optimist), Don Imus (the Apathetic), Wolfman Jack (the Realist), and Howard Stern (the Cynic).
  • Game Show Host: Of Jr. Almost Anything Goes (1976-77), Saturday afternoons on ABC. He was also a regular panelist on the syndicated What's My Line? (1968-75), and was a frequent celebrity guest on shows and pilots produced by Bob Stewart, most notably Pyramid.
  • Hand Puppet: Sales' TV co-stars. They ranged from "traditional" hand puppets like Pookie the lion and Hippy the hippo, to furry arms coming into the frame accompanied by off-camera animal noises (dogs White Fang and Black Tooth).
  • Hipster: Pookie the lion.
    • Real Life: Soupy was a lifelong jazz afficianado, and in the Sixties used his nighttime, more adult program to showcase jazz acts of the day.
  • Manchild: Averted. Although technically a "kiddie show" host, Soupy prided himself on never talking down his audience — which is why both kids and grownups became fans.
  • No Fourth Wall: Since there was no "traditional" audience (a la Howdy Doody's "peanut gallery"), Soupy always spoke directly to the camera (i.e. the viewers). This did not stop the tech crew from acting as a surrogate audience, mostly yelling ad-libs to get Soupy to crack up on camera.
  • Pie in the Face: Tens of thousands over the course of his life, per Soupy's estimates...
  • Private Detective: The "Philo Kvetch" character, complete with Private Eye Monologue and trench coat.
  • Pungeon Master: To the extent where one wonders why his lifetime pieing total wasn't in the six figures...
  • Sidekick: Clyde Adler (for the LA-based shows) and Frank Nastase (NY) served as Sales' puppeteers, off-screen/voice characters, and pie throwers.
  • Signature Sound Effect: The exaggerated BANG! that accompanied every pie hit (reportedly, the sound of a balloon popping - although in some cases it was clearly a gunshot, complete with ricochet).
  • Special Guest/Stunt Casting: For most of Soupy's TV run, celebrities would clamor to appear on his show for the sole purpose of getting pied. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Clark, and Alice Cooper were just some of the more noteworthy targets. Basically, if you were a celebrity in the 60's and 70's and were invited to appear on Soupy's show...bring a change of clothing, and leave your dignity in the dressing room.
  • The Stoic: Soupy's usual reaction to getting pied, alternating between "well, that happened" and "yeah, I kinda deserved that..."
  • The Unintelligible: White Fang. His entire dialog consisted of variations on "blah-oh, blah-oh," with enough inflection to sound like he was actually saying something.
  • The Unseen: Anytime Soupy answered a knock at the door, he'd wind up in a conversation with a disembodied voice (with an occasional hand appearing). Also applies to White Fang and Black Tooth.
  • Workaholic: Truth in Television. At one point in the Sixties, Sales had both his kid's show and an adult-themed nightime program running simultaneously. No wonder his first marriage crashed and burned.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Sales rarely included female celebrities as pie targets. One notable exception was Joan Rivers, who challenged his no-women rule on her short-lived talk show. You can guess the results.