Looking for Soupy Sales
As a child growing up in the Detroit area in the 1950s, I experienced the joy of watching “Lunch with Soupy” on a daily basis. We would rush home from school at lunch time just to spend a few brief minutes eating lunch with Soupy Sales, Pookie, White Fang, and Black Tooth. Soupy was always one to bring a smile to your face…he was just too funny. He went on to have a late night show which I never watched, but I do remember hearing stories about how risqué he could be (though it would be all quite tame by today’s standards).
Fast forward about 30+ years: I was newly divorced and had returned to the work force. Several friends that I worked with, PC and KB, kept encouraging me to go out on the town with them…a girls’ night out, as they called it. Their idea of a good time was to hang out at a bar and dance.
I have never been one to enjoy going out to bars, especially with the intent of connecting with someone to date. In fact, I would absolutely feel sick when confronted with the proposal of ‘just going to the bar for a drink’ as PC would so often want to do. That was never my idea of a good time, but one evening they convinced me to go to a karaoke restaurant for dinner. I finally gave in to their peer pressure and joined them. Always, when we were together we laughed a lot…the good, deep belly laughs that bring you to tears and make you feel so good.
These two were always very fashionable, PC, who’s a couple years younger than me, is about 5’1”, wore a size 2 at the time and is very out-going, vivacious, and easily talks to anyone. KB, about 30 years old at the time, is a tall, thin, striking blond with much the same personality as PC.
So I made a special attempt to look good that evening. I was wearing a new black suede fitted jacket, a short black suede skirt, and heels. Though in my forties and a grandmother at the time, I could still pull it off since at 5’6 ½” I was down to a fighting weight of 122 pounds (depression does wonders to your appetite!). We all looked very sharp, even if I do say so myself.
We went to the restaurant in the downriver area, had a nice dinner, and actually enjoyed listening to the karaoke singers. Most were pretty bad, but there were two that were very, very good…Patsy Cline and Conway Twitty wanna-bees.
As the evening started winding down, PC and KB talked me into going to a nearby ‘nightclub’. I reluctantly agreed to go – knowing full well what it was going to be like. It was the usual smoky, music blasting, can’t-hear-yourself-think place. They loved it, were out there on the floor dancing with some fellows, while I sat on the sidelines talking to a few people. This was new to me, and I was very uncomfortable.
We finally left to head back to our part of town, but as I drove past a hotel, the marquee showed that Soupy Sales was performing in their nightclub. I immediately thought of all the fun I had as a child watching him on television, so I said, “I want to go see him”. Once they realized I was serious, they laughingly agreed. I pulled into the parking lot, and we walked in to the hotel lobby.
As we were wandering around looking for the lounge, a security guard walked up and politely asked if he ‘could help us.’ I innocently said, “We wanted to see Soupy Sales.” Within seconds there were two other security guards joining us. They were pleasant and politely said that he was unavailable. I thought that was odd since I could hear Soupy’s voice coming from a showroom nearby.
They continued talking, asking how we were, just making small talk. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I sensed something odd as I felt they were herding us out the door and right to our car.
I was quite disappointed about not seeing Soupy. As we took our seats and went to close the car doors, the guards told us to have “a good evening.”
I sat there for a second thinking there was something wrong with this picture. I looked at the clock and then an image flashed through my mind…three women dressed to the nines, looking for Soupy Sales in a hotel at 11:30 at night…duh!
I turned to my two ‘partners in crime’ and said, “Do you realize that we just got thrown out of a hotel? They think we’re hookers!”