I learned to dance from American Bandstand but I learned to laugh from Soupy Sales. Soupy Sales was crazy. His skits were wacky and out of control, his two sidekicks, White Fang and Black Tooth, were largely unseen save for their giant paws, and there were pies in the face everywhere. Indiscriminate pies in the face, predictable and ridiculous and hilarious.
It was 1957. I was nine. We’d moved from a small town to the big city. Everybody worked in the family store. Except me. I watched Soupy Sales. Probably reruns because his show was called Lunch with Soupy Sales but I had lunch at school. A peanut butter sandwich and a Hostess banana flip.
The key was under the mat. When I came home, I called my mother at the store and asked her what to do about dinner. Every day she would tell me to peel potatoes and set the table. So, that’s what I did and then I watched Soupy Sales. i sat on the floor cross-legged in my plaid school dress that tied in the back and I watched Soupy Sales act crazy with White Fang and Black Tooth and nobody had any idea. If my parents were alive right now, they’d have no idea about Soupy Sales unless they remembered the part about how he told all the little kiddos to sneak into their parents’ bedrooms, find a dollar bill, and mail it to him. I never did that. My folks didn’t leave money laying around and there was the whole challenge of finding the right stamp.
Soupy Sales had no educational value. I learned nothing from his show except to relax and not care about anything. Which was pretty educational when you think about it.
Photo from Wikipedia