Category Archives: Soupy Sales

The January 8 Birthdays

A number of performers were born on this date, such as Jose Vincente Ferrer (1912-1992), Larry Storch from F Troop (b. 1923), CBS Sunday Morning’s Charles Osgood (b. 1933), singer Shirley Bassey (b. 1937), singer R. Kelly (b. 1969) and actress Sarah Polley (b. 1979), not to mention scientist Stephen Hawking (b. 1942).

But there’s a “Big Three”. And two of them have an odd link.

Elvis Presley, 1956

Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977) would have been 75 today. Maybe IS 75, if you believe the sightings.

I found this question somewhere:

Which mega-popular rock band of the ’70s not only met Elvis but got along with him so well that its members were guests at his concerts and received gifts from the King?
a) The Who
b) Led Zeppelin
c) Eagles
d) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Answer below.

As I was quoted in the local paper back in 1997: My father hated Elvis. He resented this white artist stealing/exploiting/ profiting from performing black music. (But then half of the musicians in the ’50s and ’60s from Pat Boone to Led Zeppelin “borrowed” from black music). So I never owned any Elvis music as a child or teenager.

Still, I did like some of his songs (“Jailhouse Rock,” “Little Sister”). So I watched the ’68 “comeback special” and became grudgingly, a mild fan. [My father must not have been home, it occurs to me.]

When Elvis died, I thought, “Oh that’s too bad.” The Elvis cult that’s developed since 1977 I view with fascination and utter bemusement.

But I’ve discovered that I have more of an interest in The Pelvis than I thought. He shows up in this blog from time to time, whether it’s dissecting one of his tunes or noting his posthumous wealth, talking about his link with Joe Stalin, or reviewing a DVD of his performances on Ed Sullivan.

Bob Hope (L) with Soupy Sales (2nd R) and Shirley MacLaine (2nd L), their faces covered with remnants of cream pies, 1962

Then there’s Milton Supman Heinz (b. 1926). You might know him better as the comic actor Soupy Sales. I must admit that I didn’t watch his shows, but I always enjoyed watching him on several game shows such as Match Game, What’s My Line and the various permutation of Pyramid; go to YouTube and you’ll find dozens of examples.

Unfortunately he died last year. I happened to be listening to his Motown album A Bag of Soup this week. Among the jokey songs, there was a rather touching song called Though I’m A Clown (I Need Love Too). I couldn’t find it, alas, on the Internet, but I found it rather poignant.

David Bowie, 1983

The living member of this trio is David Jones. Since the musician did not want to be confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees, he changed his name to David Bowie. I won his Honky Dory album during my freshman year of college and I’ve been a fan ever since. He shows up in my musings quite a bit. This what I wrote two years ago when Bowie turned 60.

The local newspaper had a tournament of carols. It came down to Bing Crosby’s White Christmas and the Crosby/Bowie Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth. Crosby/Bowie won!

Oh, the linkage: Bassist Tony Sales and drummer Hunt Sales are sons of Soupy Sales. Along with Bowie and Reeves Gabrels, the Sales brothers were in rock band Tin Machine.

And the answer to the Elvis question is Led Zeppelin. BTW, LZ guitarist Jimmy Page has HIS birthday on January 9 (1944).

ROG

Anticipating Halloween QUESTIONS

In my twenties, I used to dress up for Halloween. While I might pull out my Frankenstein mask now and then – I REALLY can’t breathe in that thing – I’ve lost my All Hallows Eve mojo.

But this year, the child is going to need an escort for her trick-or-treating; her costume is a ballet dress that lights up – I might just surprise myself by dressing

All I want to know:

Are you dressing up for Halloween? As what?
Are you going to a party, or parties?
Are you going trick or treating? Do you have a child to provide you cover?
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Top 10 Spooky Buildings
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My friend Fred Hembeck’s comic icon, Soupy Sales, died this week. One of the many things Fred taught me about Soupy is that he was a Motown artist. Really. And some of the songs, as Fred noted, weren’t half bad.
A suitable tribute for Soupy.
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Scott from Scooter Chronicles answers my questions.
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I’ve seen this a couple places on the Internet already: the octogenarian war vet’s impassioned plea for gay rights.

ROG

SCATHING BOOK REVIEW: Fred Hembeck's TNCEHAO


Fred Hembeck is my friend. We were friends back in my days at FantaCo. After a long hiatus, we’ve been friends in my period of blogging. So now that I’m reviewing his book, THE NEARLY COMPLETE ESSENTIAL HEMBECK ARCHIVES OMNIBUS, I feel that I should especially tough on his compendium.

Item 1: it’s not in color. Of course much of it was not in color in the first place, and it IS 900 pages for 25 bucks. (Truth is, if that page of the X-Men which was used as an insert in Hembeck #2 WERE in goldenrod, I think I would have suffered flashbacks from my days doing mail order at the ‘Co.)

Item 2: those CBG pages, which were hard to read at 11 X 17 are even harder to read at 8 X 10.5 or whatever it is. Strange though – I’ve been reading Hembeck’s work for so long (30 years!) that it’s not the problem I thought it’d be.

Item 3: it doesn’t have the Marvel and DC copyrighted stuff. Hey, if this is a big success, don’t you think Marvel will want to follow the trend and package the Fantastic Four Roast, those Marvel Age pieces, that book in which Fred destroys the Marvel universe (what IS the name of that comic book?), et al., all in one piece.

Item 4: it’s not paginated. That IS tricky, but I suppose that’s why God created the bookmark.

Item 5: in the introductory page to the last section, the village of Saugerties is MISSPELLED! Shocking!

Ah, who am I kidding? I love this book. I started reading the introductory sections first. I was TRYING to bypass the stuff FantaCo published in the early 1980s, but I found myself stopping to read some of the framing stories, such as when bride of Hembeck Lynn Moss meets Bud Abbott and Elvis Costello. Or the time when Fred was going to blow off FantaCo for a mysterious benefactor. I also got to re-remember the wordless story Fred did with Bill Mantlo.

I’ve had the book almost a month and I’d be lying if I said I had read even half of this tome. But I’m happy to have it, for I can usually pull it off the shelf and read six or eight pages at a time between other duties.

So, despite my savage criticisms, go to your local comic book store, book store or the website of artiste himself and get it!
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To make up for that brutal review, a short piece featuring one or two of Fred’s favorite performers:

ROG