If you’re of a certain age, it’s hard not to think of Soupy Sales and smile.
Those of us old enough to remember his children’s shows – which were never really for children – will never forget Pookie, White Fang or Black Tooth. Heck, some of us can still mimic White Fang’s voice.
Watching Soupy sit and laugh while Pookie, the lion puppet, ‘sang’ songs by Stevie Wonder, was such a happy occasion in my life I actually named my dog Pookie.
As a performer, Soupy was a seat-of-the-pants comic who loved live TV and made it both hip and hilarious. About half his material was aimed at the crew on the set, which was always heard laughing during his shows.
Soupy Sales was more than a pie-in-the-face vaudvillian to those of us who’d race home for his late-afternoon show in Los Angeles. He’d do some goofy dance, converse with a pair of puppet paws half off-camera or laugh at one of his own jokes, and suddenly ducking under your desk for a classroom bomb drill wasn’t so bad.
Thanks, Soup. Watching you laugh helped get me through the Cuban missle crisis and my crush on Peggy Gordon – at the time I wasn’t sure which was worse.