SUNNY CAL JOURNAL - Soupy Was TV Icon Who Loved His Fans

(10/26/2009)

SOUPY REMEMBERED FOR KINDNESS AND
DEDICATION TO MARSHALL UNIVERSITY

By Bob Weaver

My wife Dianne had a favorite TV personality growing up in WV, zany, pie-throwing, outrageous Soupy Sales, whose own roots were in Huntington.

Her generation will always remember the pies, but more likely his crazy TV puppets, White Fang and Black Tooth, Pookie and Hippy.

Soupy and his puppet friend Pookie

In her earlier days, Dianne was a clothing buyer for the O. J. Morrison Department Store in Spencer, an emporium that once had locations in several WV towns.

Among her duties was going to New York City a few times a year on buying trips, quite exciting for a young woman who grew up in the country.

I tagged along on one September trip walking aimlessly around Manhattan while she worked.

Returning to West Virginia, at La Guardia Airport, we bumped into Soupy boarding our return flight to Charleston. Needless to say, Dianne was excited to meet her childhood TV idol.

Soupy was always a friendly man who never neglected his fans, and engaged Dianne in conversation. On this day he had imbibed a few shots before boarding the plane.

He was carrying a briefcase with a slide projector, headed to a reunion at his alma mater, Marshall University.

Those were the glory days of flying, with airlines providing "free" snacks, full meals, and lots of booze. An admiring stewardess kept serving shots to Soupy on the one hour flight to Charleston.

By the time the plane landed on the head of the needle airport in Charleston, Soupy was not in good shape.

Soupy told us an old friend was meeting him, as we provided some stabilizing assistance on the walk from the plane.

My dad and mom met us, my dad observing said, "That guy looks like Soupy Sales," after which Dianne confirmed his identity.

My dad then commented, "Look's to me like Soupy is a little soppy."

Soupy Sales has died at age 83.

Thank you for your kindness to West Virginia.


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