Soupy Sales (January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009) was a Jewish American comedian, actor, and radio-TV personality and host. He was best known for his local and network children's television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales; a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.
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Sales is best known for his daily children's television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales. The show was originally called 12 O'Clock Comics, and was later known as The Soupy Sales Show. Improvised and slapstick in nature, Lunch with Soupy Sales was a rapid-fire stream of comedy sketches, gags, and puns, almost all of which resulted in Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark. Sales developed pie-throwing into an art form: straight to the face, on top of the head, a pie to both ears from behind, moving into a stationary pie, and countless other variations. He claimed to have been hit by more than 25,000 pies during his career.
From 1968 to 1975, he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What's My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.
Sales was born as Milton Supman in Franklinton in Franklin County in north central North Carolina to Irving and Sadie Supman. His father, Irving Supman, a dry goods merchant, had emigrated to America from Hungary in 1894. Soupy Sales had two siblings, Leonard Supman (deceased) and Jack Supman (b. 1921). Sales got his nickname from his family. His older brothers had been nicknamed "Hambone" and "Chicken Bone"; Milton was dubbed "Soup Bone," which was later shortened to "Soupy". When he became a disc jockey, he began using the stage name Soupy Hines. After he became established, it was decided that "Hines" was too close to the Heinz soup company, so he chose the surname Sales, after comedian Chic Sale.
Milton graduated in 1944 from Huntington High School in Huntington, West Virginia. He then enlisted in the United States Navy and served on the USS Randall (APA-224) in the South Pacific during the latter part of World War II. He sometimes entertained his shipmates by telling jokes and playing crazy characters over the ship's public address system. One of the characters he created was "White Fang," a large dog that played outrageous practical jokes on the seamen. The sounds for "White Fang" came from a recording of "The Hound of the Baskervilles". He took the record with him when he left the Navy.
Sales next entered Marshall College, where he earned a Master's Degree in Journalism. While attending Marshall College, he performed in nightclubs as a comedian, singer, and dancer. After graduating, he began working as a scriptwriter and a disc jockey at radio station WHTN in Huntington. He moved to Cincinnati in 1949, where he worked as a morning radio DJ and performed in nightclubs. He began his television career on WKRC-TV with Soupy's Soda Shop, TV's first teen dance program, and Club Nothing!, a late-night comedy/variety program.
When WKRC canceled his TV shows, Sales moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he hosted another radio and TV series and continued his nightclub act. It was in a skit on his late night comedy/variety TV series Soupy's On! that he got his first pie in the face. Soupy claims he left the Cleveland station "for health reasons: they got sick of me." Sales moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1953 and worked for WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), ABC's O&O station.