Getting fried with Soupy Sales

200911_04_Soupy Sales

Soupy Sales, his face about to be splattered with yet another pie

Way back in the olden days, from the 1950s to the ‘80s, Soupy Sales was a famous man: for his comedy, his rubbery face and his penchant for taking pies in said face. He had his own TV shows, a couple of them, played comedy clubs, and was a regular on game shows. He died Oct. 22, at age 83.

My friend Chuck Adams, executive editor of Algonquin Books, shares with us his wonderful Soupy Sales story, from when Chuck was a contestant on “The $10,000 Pyramid” in the late ‘70s, hosted by Dick Clark. Here’s his story:

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Chuck Adams, looking as glamorous as he did on television

“I was out of work and an actor friend had done the show ‘$10,000 Pyramid’ and recommended me, although he hadn’t won any money — just a consolation prize (yea! a year’s supply of Stouffer’s frozen meatloaf dinners!). They taped a week’s worth of shows in one (very long) day, and finally on ‘Friday’ they sent me up. The two celebrity guests were Lanie Kazan (a sweet, ditzy woman) and Soupy Sales (a smart, funny man), and I, luckily, got Soupy.

“We zoomed through the initial round and I got to the big board. Soupy was giving the clues; I was receiving. We had one minute to solve six word- association puzzles. Soupy’s hands were in straps so he would have to give his clues with words only (no charades). We whizzed through the first five in 30 seconds, but then we got to the last one.

“Soupy said, “Eggs, bacon, chicken…” and then he looked at me. I said, “Things you eat for breakfast?” Soupy shook his head and repeated, “Eggs, bacon, chicken…” And then he probably added something like “sausage…” I don’t remember what I said after that, or what he said after that, but I do know that with about three seconds left, my brain finally clicked in and I managed to make an association with all the things he’d be shouting at me: “Things that are fried?” I finally said, and then people were screaming and Soupy and I were jumping up and down and hugging each other, and Dick Clark was shaking my hand.

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Soupy Sales in 2008 (photo Wikipedia)

“It was a truly memorable moment. And so naturally that 15-minute segment of my long-ago life came to mind this past week when the funny, smart Soupy Sales died. I needed those $10,000 very badly in 1978, and he helped me survive the year. I will never forget him. He was a saint… or at worst a very clever performer.”

Thanks for that great TV tale, Chuck!

And a North Carolina note:  Soupy was born “Milton Supman,” to the only Jewish family in Franklinton, NC (about 30 miles east of us), which certainly could have triggered a need for comic relief.

3 Responses to “Getting fried with Soupy Sales”

  1. Cynthia Says:

    You misspelled poor Soupy’s name in the sixth para.

  2. Cynthia Says:

    Hehe…he may have been drippy but not souply!

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