Q&A’s: Soupy’s New Year’s Joke Backfires and Captain Santa Claus
Q: When I was a kid I had a single titled CAPTAIN SANTA CLAUS AND HIS REINDEER SPACE PATROL. I have no idea when it came out or who did it. Is there any way you can help me?
A: How do you guys come up with this stuff? CAPTAIN SANTA CLAUS AND HIS REINDEER SPACE PATROL was the flip side of Bobby Helms' Christmas single JINGLE BELL ROCK, first released around Christmastime, 1957.
Q: I have a question about Soupy Sales. What's the story of kids sending him money through the mail?
A: Soupy was stuck working on New Year's Day, 1965. Since his TV show was live, he wasn't too happy about having to work on a holiday; so, toward the end of this particular show, he stepped in front of the camera and jokingly asked the kids to sneak into their parents' bedrooms while they were asleep. There, they would find some "funny pieces of green paper with pictures of men with beards" in their parents' pants pockets, wallets and purses. He told them if they mailed these pieces of green paper to him, he'd send them all "a post card from Puerto Rico" (he was then hit in the face with a pie). It was all a joke of course, but some kids actually sent real money (but he also received lots of play money, especially from Monopoly games). Soupy finally had to announce on the air that it was just a joke and to stop sending money; real money received (but unreturnable) was donated to charity. But still the complaints from crabby parents persisted; so much so, that the TV station, WNEW in New York, suspended Soupy for two weeks.