As a longtime member of the clubhouse–a devotee who still has her vinyl 45 of “Do the Mouse” and “Pachalafaka”–I join my colleague Ken Tucker in saluting the late Soupy Sales, TV innovator.
As a movie critic, meanwhile, I toss a cream pie in the air with gratitude that Soupy knew his medium and stuck to it. Today, most any comic who finds fame on television at some point feels driven to extending that (ugh) brand in a movie. And too often, the results aren’t pretty. Or funny. (Hola, Chris Kattan!) I’m not a Salesologist enough to know whether Soupy ever tried to develop his private eye character Philo Kvetch, for instance, into a feature film, and thought better of it. But I’m glad that we’ll remember the original hipster doofus as a TV guy born and bred–a personality bigger than any movie could contain.
Oh, and if you need to see Soupy on the big screen, look for him among the cameo appearances in Eddie Murphy’s 1998 muddle Holy Man. Or maybe, don’t.
Update: Soupy-ologist and ew.com colleague Steve Korn draws our attention to the 1966 feature-film novelty Birds Do It, in which our hero plays a guy who can fly.