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Coins & Currency

Soupy Sales Money Stunt - According to a January 1965 report in The New York Times Soupy was temporarily suspended from his television job for jokingly suggesting that his young viewers go to their parent's pocket books/wallets and send him some of "little green pieces of paper" to the WNEW-TV station in New York. His pitch went something like this:

Soupy Sales

"Last night was New Year's Eve and I bet Mommy and Daddy are real tired tonight, so tiptoe into their bedroom and get Dad's wallet or Mommy's purse and take out the little green pieces of paper that have the guys with beards on them and send them to me here at Channel 5 in New York, and I'll send you a postcard from Puerto Rico."

Unfortunately, an irate mother contacted the station which promptly suspended him on the charge that he was "encouraging kids to steal." However, pressures from popular demand got him reinstated. The prank netted a few dollars (allegedly $80,000, mostly Monopoly money). In retrospect Soupy mused "It was the best thing that ever happened to me...it made me a star."

Producer Bob Cahn remembered the "Money" incident differently. He states that 1) It was him and not Soupy who was suspended; 2) The $80,000 received was more like two $1 dollar bills and some Monopoly money; 3) The stunt was not unique-Soupy had pulled it before; 4) And the post card was from Buenos Aires, not Puerto Rico. (TV Guide 8/15/98 p. 38)

TRIVIA NOTE: On an episode of cartoon series THE BULLWINKLE SHOW created by Jay Ward, the Bullwinkle Moose character told audience members (a la Soupy Sales' prank) to pull the knobs off their TV sets so that "we'll be sure to be with you next week." Reportedly some 20,000 kids followed his advice. Fortunately, the following week Bullwinkle told the kids to glue the knobs back onto the sets.


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