Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Soupy Sales Memorial Service 10/26/09

The Soupy memorial service yesterday was beautiful and memorable. It was put on by the Friars Club at the Riverside Memorial Chapel on West 76th Street in Manhattan. The room was packed.
The female Rabbi handled the assembled with New York elegance and aplomb.
Freddy Roman spoke/joked: "Soupy was born in North Carolina, a hot-bed of Judaism." Professor Irwin Corey raised a ruckus! He began with "This is not an audition!" then segued into Holy Roller praise which morphed into a major rant against the Heath Care industry in America. As if on cue, the Friars rose as one and escorted him from the podium. Freddy Roman said "And I just want to remind you that next month he'll be appearing on the cover of GQ ."
Soupy's 2 son's shared heartbreak and love.
Burt Dubrow spoke eloquently on behalf of boomers.
Soupy's "accompanist" told a super funny anecdote.
When Soupy was wheeled down the aisle, I reached out my hand and rubbed the lid and in my best White Fang voice growled "ROWL RACHWU REAUG!" which means "I love you Soupy."


  1. Thanks for the post, Craig! (and the others, too!)
    Found you off of Facebook's Soupy Sales Fan Club Page (which I joined *quite a while* ago, thank you). I still have the "original" 1966 S.S. puppet (a marionette with a face that only a mother could love). Four-string operation, with a plastic, "gun" handle and keys for moving the strings. Yours is MUCH better (and *I* would've been hip to that Bubble-icious commercial you pitched). Very nice cartooning!

    Kay Kirscht, Minneapolis MN
    kaybird01.livejournal.com ; also found on Facebook & MySpace.

  2. Soupy's humor talked up to us, cracking us up along with the crew of 50-something union lifers, which made it hilarious. Soup, in constant mental hotfoot, Southern twang dripping like Carolina molasses, gave the joke, often was the joke and made the straight man an artform. An unselfish performer, he let Clyde Adler run amuck with his myriad characters, CA getting more out of one hand and forearm than a whole company of lesser improvisational geniuses. The two of them kept the circus riveting and rolling for the fastest 30 minutes on black and white TV. Soup was the ringleader, the best friend, the cool uncle who never creeped you out and just gave you laughs with genuine innocuous warmth, for it was his heart out there dancing as fast as his wit. He was a kid in an adult suit, a PeeWee's Playhouse without the over-effort, allowing the laughs to come from character and a cast trying to one up each other -- and let you in on it. Irreverence ruled. Like a Warner Bros cartoon, the inferences might of jumped over our heads, but the ghist, the attitude, stuck...and we learned a more sophisticated humor from it. Way before kid shows started their Barneyizing devolution, kids were thought to have brains and Soupy was among the elite, the best of them took that and ran with it. Paul Winchell, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones might have first been aiming at adult theatre auds but never diluted their material - when TV appeared and the audience was clearly young, they stayed smart, unleashed their inner childs and brought us up to their level using tools they invented -- no babytalk, no simplification, no explanations...teaching us puns and how a joke worked without our knowing. Soup was a comedia del arte clown for the electronic age, sans makeup, as he needed none. (but he'd be getting a pie any second) By using a blackboard for sayings of the day and other groaners, he brought the familiar schoolroom tool into a new realm -- instead of lessons, we got jokes and we absorbed them twice as fast. Soup knew when it was time to take a break -- no narcissicist he. He'd do his bit and bang! It was time for Pookie "Hey...Boob-bee-ing" at the window, giving a hand-puppet double-take that outdid Red Skelton. Bang! It was the hard sell con man at the front door pointing, jabbing, and finally dumping a pail of something on Soup or setting up one of Soup's baaaadddd puns. Boom! It was White Fang, a white polar bearish dog arm with an arresting speech impediment "rah-uh-row"-ing with a demented jazz scat and slapping The Soup around like a rag doll. And of course, his alter ego Black Tooth, a black feminized "dawgie" arm whose mission in life was to shower Soup with loud, puckerized smacks of canine love mwahs. And he broke the fourth wall as an artform, possibly creating a fifth -- we were in that room with him. Fast, fun, warm, easy and altogether smart, Soup set the bar for the hosted kid show that was never crossed. His Fosbury Flop coasted up to heights rarely seen since, over that bar and into our collective memories. A true gift from a true talent. The world just became, contrary to current global warming dogma, a colder place with the passing of this true intuitive showman with magic in each one of those stage-manager-launched pies. Rah-uh-row. We'll miss ya, Soupy.

  3. Now the testament above IS journalism! Superior depth and context.