Nearly Everything I Know About Live TV I Learned From Soupy Sales

Soupy Sales at WNEW-TV in New York City. Photo by by spykerdarracq

Growing up there was one TV in the Fox apartment. It was tuned to Soupy Sales every afternoon. He was live daily on Channel 5 in New York City. Must see TV for me.

He’s back on TV every day, this time on the thinly carried JLTV, Jewish Life Television. I knew Soupy was Jewish, though it was never part of his schtick.

I watched a few shows and was initially disappointed. This was his late 70s show from KTLA in Los Angeles. Different cast. A little more slick.

And then a Channel 5 episode played.

OMG, he was doing my act! Except he was doing his act. It’s me doing the ripping off.

His whole show was being performed for the crew (and there was lots of crew back then) who could be heard lol’ing pretty regularly. He did a bit and mentioned names. It was the crew’s names and I recognized nearly all of them.

Soupy was constantly breaking the 4th wall, speaking directly to the audience while in the middle of something else. He was fast as he turned and paused to adlib some line then went back to what he was doing.

Soupy did six shows weekly on Channel 5. Monday through Friday were live and Saturday, as I remember, was taped. My guess was they went in with enough material to fill part of a page and hoped for the best. I was wrong.

Though much of the show was formulaic there were a lot of setup/punchline jokes performed by Soupy and Frank Nastasi who played all the other parts including all the arm waving, face hidden, men at the door, two dogs and a hand puppet lion. That stuff had to be written. In 2018 I’m impressed to figure this out.

Impressionable Geoff sat there slack jawed and watched this stuff every day. Soupy taught me how to do live TV. I liked what Soupy did and what’s become more obvious to me now, I copied him.

10 thoughts on “Nearly Everything I Know About Live TV I Learned From Soupy Sales”

  1. Hi Geoff,
    I was also a Soupy fan as well. And your description
    was excellent and humorous!!
    BTW channel 5 is no longer on our cable system in
    Milford. I wonder if it still exists⁉️

    Best regards,
    Mike Krauss

  2. YES!!! More precisely, BlackTooth and WhiteFang! BlackTooth was the ruffian male, and WhiteFang was the semi-gently female character. Either of them usually beat the cheese out of Soupy…who usually pitched Jell-o, as I recall, possibly Campbell’s soups. Not clear on that anymore…

    Plus the inevitable pie in the face gag…

    It was funny, silly, and fascinating…

  3. I never thought there was a similarity between the two of you except for the warmth and the pure love of what you do to entertain your audience. Your greatest talent is making everyone feel as though that you could be their best friend.

  4. There were lots of rumors in the 70’s with regard to Our Generation. This was, of course, long before the Internet so it was very difficult, if not impossible, to check the validity of said rumors. One was that “The Beaver” had been killed in Vietnam. This was, of course, not true. Another was that the actor who played Eddie Haskell on “Leave It To Beaver” had become an LAPD Officer. I believe this was true. Another was that Soupy Sales once asked all the kids watching to go into Mommy or Daddy’s wallet, pull out one of those green pieces of paper with a picture of an old guy, and mail it to him. Any truth to that rumor?

  5. Hi Geoff, just saying, you did a good job coping Soupy Sales.
    I remember watching his show a little bit! We did not have TV until the late 50s. So I do not remember too much of his shows. Thanks for reminding me about him. It was a fun remembrance.

  6. Hi Geoff:
    I remember eating as well. We could get three stations at my house in Northford, Connecticut; channel 8 out of New Haven and WPIX channel 9, and FOX channel 5. They had great shows Sandy Becker, Winchel Mahoney, and of course Soupy Sales! I also listen to his radio show that was on before Howard Stern. It was, in my opinion, way funnier than Stern.
    Once you mentioned you where doing Soupy I immediately connected you two. You Were doing Soupy!
    I’m so glad that I got to be a part of that. Being able to connect this, you and Soupy, from my childhood brings it full circle for me.
    I’m glad you are doing well and I’m glad that Harold is on the mend and that everyone in your family is doing well.
    Keep on writing and working. You are always entertaining!
    As always with PEACE,

  7. Hey, I never saw you get the pie in the face. Next time you copy a legend, get it right!! Lol, I miss Soupy too…spent many a day just like you, mesmerized by this comic genius. I must admit, I never made the connection to Soupy as I watched you for all the years presenting the weather in CT, I just thought you were a genius too.
    Dave Neto

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