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Looking for Soupy Sales

December 2, 2012

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!”

8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2012 7:24 am

    First of all, I can completely relate to your aversion to the “girls night out” at a bar. I do not understand why that’s considered worthwhile entertainment. But how hilarious that you so wanted to see Soupy Sales! I remember him, but I don’t believe I watched much. He was kind of creepy. I don’t think you could have ever convinced security that you were there just to see the star.

    • December 3, 2012 7:34 am

      No, I don’t either. As far as Soupy being creepy, I was just too naive to see beyond the goofy puppets and the constant laughing…that’s what I remember most.

  2. December 3, 2012 8:54 am

    I remember watching Soupy Sales on television after school, too. I’m sure there was a lot of adult humor mixed in with the nonsense, but it went right over my head.

    Too late now, but I wonder what would have happened if you’d written to Soupy and explained that hotel incident to him. Maybe he would’ve invited you to his next show. By the way, did your friends agree with your conclusion?

    • December 3, 2012 6:54 pm

      Ha-ha…never thought of writing him. Yeah, after they thought about it for nano second they agreed. And we still get a good laugh when it’s brought up.
      I actually think most kids didn’t get the adult humor. I distinctly remember him opening the door and being speechless. It was years later that as adults we learned that there was a stripper behind the set taking her clothes off. 🙂

  3. December 3, 2012 6:18 pm

    Enjoyed the snow falling and your new blog layout!!! And enjoyed the story rememberance, how funny to be innocent and mistook! One of those great stories to keep you young…..

    • December 3, 2012 6:56 pm

      …and to keep us laughing! However, it’s one of those stories that will never be passed on in the family lore. My sons don’t even know about it. 😉

  4. December 3, 2012 7:48 pm

    Funny enough to warrant a Soupy Shuffle, JSD! Great story! (I loved him too.)

    • December 3, 2012 8:03 pm

      OMG, I forgot all about the Soupy Shuffle! 🙂

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