January 30, 2013

"Sally Starr is an icon, and she will always be remembered as an icon. She was someone who was pure."

"Her persona was always Sally Starr. She understood the importance of being a personality on and off the air. She was always in costume. She represented the true style of what it was to be a personality."

Goodbye to Sally Starr, who died 2 days before her 90th birthday. When I think of days in the 1950s in front of the television, I think of "Popeye Theater" and Sally Starr, "your gal Sal," forever in our hearts!

19 comments:

furious_a said...

Patty Andrews, last surviving of the Andrews' Sisters, passed away today, also.

YoungHegelian said...

She was so instrumental in introducing the Three Stooges to a new generation of fans that, in 1965, the comedy troupe invited her to appear as gunslinger Belle Starr in their final film, "The Outlaws Is Coming."

Not having grown up in the Delaware Valley, I never saw her show.

But, being a big Stooge fan, I remember her from the movie. Anyone who showed Popeye cartoons & 3 Stooges shorts is a candidate for beatification in my book.

Bob R said...

Sally Star, Gene London, Pixane - Delaware Valley kids shows that I remember. We had a good antenna and could get Soupy Sales and Diver Dan out of NY if I recall.

Lew Lipshitz said...

That 2005 car crash really put the hurt on her. R.I.P. Sally Starr!

Charles said...

Yeah, I'm old enough to have watched Sally Starr when I lived in Philly back in 1960.

Interesting how I can remember the room and the smells even now just thinking of that time.

Then when the parents moved to Cleveland, I got hooked on Capt. Penny and Barnaby...I was a slave of the "One Eye".

edutcher said...

Oh, yes, I remember her well.

another part of the childhood of anyone who grew up in the Philadelphia area (which included South Jersey and Delaware) remembers her as well as they do Dick Clark.

EDH said...

Coincidentally, Boston just lost its beloved Sat-Sun morning cowboy hero, Rex Trailer, on Jan 13.

Rex was larger than life. He'd arrive on a horse or fly his own helicopter to personal appearances. But he always had time for the kids. He was a great man.

Here's a really nice video tribute to Rex Trailer made before his death with notable local boomers like Jay Leno who all grew-up watching Rex Trailer's "Boomtown".

Rex evidently got his start as a TV cowboy in Philly, like Starr.

Rex Trailer, the native Texan beloved by a generation of New England children for the cowboy skills he demonstrated on the Boston-based television show “Boomtown,” has died. He was 84...

“Boomtown” ran on Boston television from 1956 until 1974. Trailer hosted the show, singing, playing guitar and showing off the horse-riding, roping and other cowboy skills he had learned as a boy on his grandfather’s ranch in Texas.

The show was an instant success when it first aired, the live studio audience enraptured by Trailer’s Texas twang. It aired live every Saturday and Sunday morning for three hours. More than 250,000 kids appeared on “Boomtown” over the years and more than 4 million watched from home, according to the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Trailer was inducted in 2007.

In addition to the cowboy action, the show offered educational games and films, cartoons and outdoor adventure.

“He was a visionary in a lot of ways,” Bavaro said. “He was doing educational children’s television before there was educational children’s television.”

The show was one of the first where mentally and physically disabled children were prominent in the audience, a conscious decision by Trailer.

Some people associated with the show were concerned when a disabled child was on the show. “Some people thought he would cause a ruckus, but Rex said ‘No, let him on,’ ” Bavaro said.


Rex Trailer in the WBUR studios in 2012. (WBUR)
In 1961, he led a wagon train across the state to raise awareness about children with disabilities.

Trailer has been honored for his lifetime commitment to disabled children, especially muscular dystrophy.

He taught on-camera performance and production at Emerson College in Boston since the mid-1970s, and ran his own production company based in Waltham that produced commercials, industrial films and documentaries. Trailer was also an accomplished pilot and recording artist, who even wrote the theme music to “Boomtown.”

Trailer got into show business on the advice of the ranch hands on his grandfather’s farm in Thurber, Texas. He got a job as a production coordinator with the Dumont Network in New York and worked his way up to producer and director. It was in New York where he first became an on-air talent as host of the “Oky Doky Ranch.”

He hosted western-themed TV shows in Philadelphia for five years before landing in Boston in 1955. His original 13-week contract with WBZ-TV lasted nearly 20 years.

caplight45 said...

I had a crush on her when I was a kid. Saw in person once. She was quite pretty. Watched her every day.

edutcher said...

One thing she did occasionally was have actors from Westerns premiering in the new TV season to talk about their shows.

If memory serves they included John Lupton, Nick Adams, Jack Elam, and, before his stock picking days, Wayne Rogers.

PS This is almost as bad as hearing about Bill Webber's death about a year ago.

LordSomber said...

I don't personally remember her (I was probably 2 at the time) but my mother reminds me that I used to love Sally Starr and Pixanne.

I definitely remember Captain Noah though. And who can forget Doctor Shock? (I had a crush on "Bubbles".)

Rich B said...

My birthday was the same as hers. I was on her show when I was 5 or 6 (not sure which year). She was sweet. RIP, Sally.

Curious George said...

"Charles said...
Then when the parents moved to Cleveland, I got hooked on Capt. Penny and Barnaby..."

I remember Capt. Penny. We lived in the Cleveland area. "You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool Mom."

Then my parents moved to Chicago and it was Ray Rayner. "Cartoons!"

Artist said...

"Our Gal Sal" was an icon and dare I say kid's TV superstar in the Philly market. She had an easy personality and ran a great operation.

I saw her once when I was about 6 or 7. It was the first time I saw a famous person. She was all decked out in her cowgirl outfit, all tassels and sparkles. Her show of course was B&W and I remember being amazed her outfit was full of color.

Crunchy Frog said...

The gooey sentimentality of Boomers for the things of their youth they so rashly discraded never seems to amaze me.

If there is one word that sums up the Boomer generation, it is naive. You grew up thinking the world was perfect, and when you found out it wasn't, you thought you could make it so with your stupid Hey Hey Ho Ho chants and folk music and Kumbaya. Instead you fucked it up even more.

Generation X has been trying to pick up afetr the mess you made ever since.

TANSTAAFL said...

Crunchy, don't blame me, I didn't vote for Obama.

TANSTAAFL said...

Yeah, I remember her, and the whole Philly pantheon. I actually have two sisters who used to dance on Bandstand. They were the ones in the West Catholic Girls uniforms.

Brian McKim & Traci Skene said...

@EDH: I think you might be confusing Rex Trailer with Rex Morgan. Rex Morgan substituted for Sally Starr a few times and eventually got to host his own show as "Ranger Rex." (I am friends with his son, Rex, and his wife, Patty.)

I watched Starr religiously. And a friend of mine was her publicist for many years.

I have a few, tangled degrees of separation from Sally Starr. She is a Philadelphia television icon.

And I did not know that the perfesser was from the Delaware Valley.

Captain Curt said...

Like our hostess, I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and watched Sally Starr on Philadelphia television many afternoons.

When I was older, my mother told me that she was visibly inebriated some days on the show, and that there had been all sorts of rumors of her conduct, shall we say, unbecoming of a kids' TV hostess.

IGotBupkis said...

}}} Then when the parents moved to Cleveland, I got hooked on Capt. Penny and Barnaby...I was a slave of the "One Eye".

Oh, that's just wrong. :-D