Milton Supman (January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009), known professionally as Soupy Sales, was an American comedian, actor, radio/television personality, and jazz aficionado. He was best known for his local and network children’s television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales (1953-1966), a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.
From 1968–75, he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What’s My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s, Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.
Lunch with Soupy Sales began in 1953 from the studios of WXYZ-TV, Channel 7, located in the historic Maccabees Building, in Detroit. Sales occasionally took the studio cameras to the lawn of the Detroit Public Library, located across the street from the TV studios, and talked with local students walking to and from school. Beginning no later than July 4, 1955,a Saturday version of Sales’s lunch show was broadcast nationally on the ABC television network. His lunchtime program on weekdays was moved to early morning opposite Today and Captain Kangaroo.
During the same period that Lunch with Soupy Sales aired in Detroit, Sales also hosted a nighttime show, Soup’s On, to compete with 11 O’Clock News programs The guest star was always a musician, often a jazz performer, at a time when jazz was popular in Detroit and the city was home to twenty-four jazz clubs. Sales believed that his show helped sustain jazz in Detroit, as artists would regularly sell out their nightclub shows after appearing on Soup’s On.
Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and Stan Getz were among the musicians who appeared on the show; Miles Davis made six appearances. Clifford Brown’s appearance on Soup’s On, according to Sales, may be the only extant footage of Brown, and has been included in Ken Burns’ Jazz and an A&E Network biography about Sales
Sales briefly had a third dinner time show filmed largely in the Palmer Park section of Detroit. Sales’ three shows were rumored to have earned him in excess of $100,000 per year. One of his character puppets was Willy the Worm, a “balloon” propelled worm that emerged from its house and used a high pitched voice to announce birthdays or special events on the noontime show; but the character never appeared when Soupy moved to Los Angeles. In his lunchtime show, Sales always wore an orlon fabric sweater. In many of his shows, he appeared in costume, performed his dance, the Soupy Shuffle, introduced many characters such as Nicky Nooney, the Mississippi Gambler, etc., and took “zillions” of pies in the face.
Source : Soupy Sales Wikipedia entry