Claim: Soupy Sales routinely sneaked smutty jokes into his television program.
Origins: In 1953, a struggling young comedian and radio personality named Soupy Hines, tired of eking out a living doing stand-up gigs at clubs around the Cincinnati area, acted on a tip from a friend and drove to Detroit in the hope of finding work in
Soupy's 12 o'clock Comics (soon changed to Lunch with Soupy, and after a final surname change a few years later, Lunch with Soupy Sales) was unlike any other children's program. Soupy was neither a sober adult figure who provided children with daily lessons nor a costume-clad huckster who furnished the continuity for a string of cartoons and commercials. With his cast of puppets — Pookie, the hip lion; Willie, the sickest worm in Detroit; White Fang, the meanest dog in Detroit; Black Tooth, the sweetest dog in Detroit (the latter two each represented only by a single
Soupy's popularity grew through his years of hosting a daily show in Detroit, a noontime program on the ABC network, and an early evening spot for KABC in
Soupy also developed a hip reputation among youngsters for something else: like Bob Hope before him and Johnny Carson after him, Soupy was often identified as the putative source of anonymous bits of salacious schoolyard humor. Due in large part to the free-wheeling, improvisational nature of his live show (as exemplified by his notorious "little green pieces of paper" broadcast on New Year's Day in 1965) he acquired a false reputation for sneaking all sorts of barely-disguised sexual innuendo and four-letter words into his program from kids who swore those dirty jokes they were telling had come straight from Soupy's mouth. The risqué gags attributed to Soupy over the years include the following:
- Soupy's telling the joke: "What starts with 'F' and ends with 'UCK'? A fire truck!"
- Soupy's singing a ditty entitled "If you see
- Soupy's playing a game with White Fang in which the dog grunts the alphabet but consistently misidentifies the letter 'F' as the letter 'K' until Soupy blurts out in mock exasperation: "Everytime I see 'F,' you see 'K'!"
- Soupy's telling his audience: "I climbed up a tree and kissed my girl between the limbs."
- Soupy's exclaiming: "My wife can't cook, but she sure can cream my banana!"
- Soupy's announcing: "I took my wife to a baseball
game — Ikissed her on the strikes, and she kissed me on the balls."
I got so annoyed at these stories that I used to have a standing offer of ten thousand dollars cash to anyone who could prove that I said any of the things that people claim I've said. Look, at every TV station, whether you know it or not, there's a little spool in the master machine in engineering that records everything that's said, everything that goes on. And believe me, if I said half the things I'm supposed to have said, they would be on some blooper record making the rounds.
Erickson, Hal. Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years, 1947-1987. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 1989. ISBN 0-167914-57-5 (pp. 129-130). McNeil, Alex. Total Television. New York: Penguin Books, 1991. ISBN 0-140157-36-0 (pp. 706-707). Sales, Soupy. Soupy Sez: My Life and Zany Times. New York: M. Evans and Company, 2000. ISBN 0-87131-935-7 (pp. 140-142). Woolery, George W. Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, 1985. ISBN 0-810-81557-5 (pp. 470-471).