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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Milton Supman dies!

Actually, you DO know him. He changed his name to Soupy Sales. He was 83.

Who didn't like Soupy and his dogs, White Fang (the meanest dog in the world--so big and mean that he buried the neighbor's Volkswagan) and Black Tooth (the sweetest dog in the world)? The dogs were always represented by huge felt paws and characteristic barks and growl that almost sounded like talking.

Soupy gained popularity with kids and adults in the early 50's until Metromedia, which produced his show, failed to renew his contract in 1966. Gosh, was it that long ago?

He told jokes (Show me a giant rooster chasing a member of Parliament and I'll show you a chicken catch a Tory.) and was hit in the face with a pie... more than 20,000 times! (That's not my estimate.) In fact, the old pie-in-the-face bit was so popular that movie stars and other notables wanted in on the action. In one show, Frank Sinatra had just finished singing "A foggy Day in London Town..." when he got his.

Soupy was hit by so many pies that he was once called as an expert witness in the trial of a Navy sailor who threw a chocolate cream pie at his commanding officer.

One running gag had Soupy answering the door to the knock of an unseen visitor. He never knew who would be behind the door, but among the notables were Burt Lancaster, Fess Parker, Alice Cooper and, at least once, a topless dancer. It was his impromptu response that got the laughs. The show's formula was slapstick, lots of slapstick and more slapstick... and we loved it.

When FCC chairman Newton Minow, labeled TV as a "vast wasteland," Soupy told his audience to "Try me and see the best waste in town!"

Now he is off to lemon meringue heaven. Good-by Soupy.

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