The Soup has been gone for a few weeks now, but we never forget our favorites here in the Funhouse. This week I’m rerunning part two of my 2002 interview with him on the program, so I felt it was time to review the offerings online and pay further tribute to the one and only “Simple Pieman” of kids TV, who was a great performer and all-‘round nice guy.
First, we dispense with the obvious by offering a live version of his Top 40 single, “The Mouse” (go-go girls make everything sweeter):
Soup also performed with go-go chicks on Hullaballoo, but I now direct you to a clip I showed a piece of on my first interview episode, Soupy on I’ve Got a Secret when he had recently come out to L.A. to duplicate his Detroit show and wasn’t yet known by the celeb panel (which included Steve Allen, a very big fan of other comics):
And the introduction of the puppets. Here, from the Metromedia show Soupy did in NYC from 1964-66 (which was syndicated around the country), appearances by the immortal Pookie — for me, the seminal Soupy puppet, a wisecracking hipster lion — and White Fang:
A great representative episode from 1965 has been posted in its entirety. It includes “The Mouse” (with a Lugosi mask that won’t be seen anymore, thanks to Bela Jr.’s court case about celebrity likenesses), Frank Nastasi as “the Nut in the Door,” and the Words of Widsom:
A nice little tribute to the man who supplied the voices of Soupy’s puppets and who played “the Nut” on the Metromedia show, the late Frank Nastasi:
A clip that has gotten a lot of play over the years, but this is definitely the longest version I’ve ever seen: the time when Soup’s crew hired a stripper to replace “the Nut” and he didn’t know about it until he opened said portal:
Soupy quit Metromedia in 1966, and unfortunately didn’t have another regular daily series again until 1979. The networks didn’t exactly know what to do with him, and thus he made a bunch of pilots and specials that were pleasant but weren’t as entertaining as his daytime program. Here’s one cute moment from a 1966 primetime Soupy special, an appearance by Ernest Borgnine, subbing for Judy Garland — who eventually does wander out herself:
Another wonderful rarity, Soupy doing a pie-throwing sketch with Moe Howard (looking curiously like George Burns) and Mike Douglas on Mike’s daytime show:
Soupy’s own recounting on a nightclub stage of the infamous “little green pieces of paper” story, circa 1993:
Soup and Metromedia vets Sandy Becker and Fred Scott (the “commercial ranger” on Capt. Video), interviewed by the wonderfully wry Ch. 5 Metromedia movie reviewer Stewart Klein, who died many years ago but supplied me with many wonderful memories of very eager and nasty “pans” of bad mainstream flicks:
And being famous sometimes has its drawbacks — like Howard Stern deciding you need to be made fun of as a senior citizen. Thus one of Howard’s stooges came to interview Soup, but thankfully got an appropriately nasty response (and then took a pratfall — ya can see that Soup didn’t actually land him on his fat ass). It’s indeed a good thing that Howard went to satellite, where we never have to hear about him any more…. (He did apologize for having been shitty to the Soup, but it came too little, too late, when the gent was in his declining phase and the apology didn’t mean much.)
Now, on a happier note, Funhouse favorite Alice Cooper makes an appearance on the 1979 “comeback” series:
There’s no way I would end this tribute without a little Pookie. Here the rockin’ lion grooves the fuck out to a recording of “High Heeled Sneakers.” It’s no wonder that Soupy’s fans grew up to become the sex ‘n’ drugs ‘n’ rock ‘n’ roll generations of the Sixties and Seventies. Farewell, Mr. Sales (aka Milton Supman).