Soupy Sales, the KKK, Mister Rogers and me

Two quirky notes about Soupy Sales, the pie-throwing comedian and early TV star who died yesterday:

Obit Soupy Sales1. The AP notes that Sales was born Milton Supman in 1926, in Franklinton, N.C., where his was the only Jewish family in town. His parents owned a dry-goods store and apparently sold sheets to the Ku Klux Klan.

Yikes.

2. TV writer Verne Gay notes that when Fred Rogers — Mister Rogers — graduated from a (Presbyterian) seminary and saw a TV for the first time in his parents’ home, the first thing he saw was Sales and someone else throwing pies at each other.

Mister Rogers was so turned off that he decided to start his own TV show as a non-pie-throwing alternative.

*****

One final, completely unrelated note: When I was a kid, my parents somehow came up with a Soupy Sales doll (remember, he was a big star back in the day). I cried whenever I saw the doll. I still remember the fuzzy black hair on its head.

I think I found a picture of it:

SmallDoll

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.