He died Thursday night in a NYC hospice. He was 83. Anyone who grew up in New York in the mid-1960s surely had a special relationship with the comedian (born Milton Supman) and The Soupy Sales Show based at WNEW-TV and then syndicated around the country. He was one of my earliest and most beloved TV memories. His zany antics were as addictive as his primitive hand puppets. But it was his dangerousness that made people tune in. That laughter could turn into a pie in the face, or even to rage, at a moment’s notice. The mayhem even got him in trouble: when he asked kids to go through their parents’ pockets and send him greenbacks, the FCC squawked and Metromedia suspended him. The stunt eventually killed Soupy’s TV show. In interviews he said the media establishment never trusted him again. But as his fans grew up and into the emerging counter-culture, Soupy remained the epitome of cool for the rest of his life. (Yet an attempted reboot, The New Soupy Sales Show, in 1979 didn’t last long.) I do know my childhood was richer because of him. Thanks, Soupy.
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