Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Remembering Philly Kid Show Great Sally Starr!

Sally Starr Mindy Feinberg writes with her
memories of Philly local kid shows:

I have several Sally Starr stories starting back around 1963 or '64, she made an appearance at a fair at one of the local churches in Levittown, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It was thrilling. Of course, I'd see her riding her horse down Market St for the parades in Philly. Now jump forward to 1985 (ish). My neighbor was friends with Sally and was the owner of the old I-95 Marketplace.

It was Sally's first personal appearance since she had moved back to Jersey from Florida. Well, since I had a shop there and also the owners were our neighbors who I had known since I was a young kid, I was excited. The Marketplace grew with hundreds of people in my age group (early 30's ) some dragging their young kids who had no idea who she was. A friend of mine showed up at my store, he had not been there since it opened. I suddenly realized he was there to see Sally. I told him to come with me and we'll go to the office to see if she was there yet. Now, I was always in the office and I have never been at a loss for words, and Joey wasn't exactly a choir boy. He's a great guy, but not who you would expect to show up. So I dragged him up and the door was opened.

I just stood there speechless and my friend asked me what I was doing. Suddenly, I was a 6 year old again and barely got out that we wanted to know if we could come in and meet Sally, I even had my Sally Starr Holster that she signed. I turned to tell Joey we could go in and he was hiding around the corner. I dragged him in and we both stood there like little kids and introduced ourselves and we got a picture and an autograph, giggling the whole time.

We then left but not before she said "Love, Luck and Lollipops", we walked through the crowd with our bounty and we were treated like "mini" stars since we actually talked to her. She then came to the market a lot so it became less exciting but still brought out the little kids in all of us. Her house burned down about a year or so after I first met her and she lost almost all of her memorabilia so I gave her my holster. Thanks for the memories.

A funny story about Sally was when we all went down to the Trop to watch the first solo show by one of Patti LaBelle's backup singers. Everyone got to the Top but Sally was nowhere to be found. Well, she finally arrived and told us how she seemed to be having some trouble with her van. She stopped at her local garage and the mechanic told her the carburetor was clogged so he told her to drive fast to blow out the dirt. He meant for about a minute at the most. Well "our gal" got on the A.C. Expressway and proceeded to go about 75-80 mph. the entire length of the expressway.

Of course she got pulled over and the cop (who was around our age) saw it was Sally. Being a little star struck he asked her why she was going at such a high rate of speed. Her answer was that the guy at the garage had told her she had to drive very fast in order to fix her car. The cop got a good laugh out of it and she got away with it!

Another story is about Pete's Gang. When I was in, I think, 5th grade in about 1962 or 63 my father was working in Philly at the old PGH Hospital, he was the head of the cardiac research lab. Anyway, while walking in town he ran into Pete on the street and they started talking. He told my dad to bring my brother and me in for a taping. We went in. It actually taped in the evening which was strange for a group of small kids. My brother was around 4 or 5 at the time. As you probably remember one kid was picked to be a "helper" and the show started by pulling one of those things that make a bang and streamers come out of it. Then the trap door would go up and all of us had to crawl through the door.

They put my brother first because he was the smallest one. I was behind him and so when the thing popped and the door opened I was afraid my brother wouldn't go out so I gave him a "little" push to start. Well, he went out all right - about half way across the stage from my push. We all were laughing when we came through. No one told us that the TVs on the stage were monitors that what was on the monitor was on TV. So we all started making faces and watching ourselves on the "TV". Being a kid who had ADHD and not much was known so I was just an "active child". I was in my 40's when they finally figured it out. I now take Ritalin.

Anyway, I can't remember what else I was doing, all I remember is that I was chosen to go out in the audience and pass out candy to everyone there. I even remember I was wearing a 2 piece dress that was pink little flowers in all shades from dark pink to light. The buttons on the top where white with rhinestones in the middle. I hated that outfit! (I was 9 or 10). I just remember it was a lot of fun. All my friends got to come over to watch the show at our house.

I have several other stories from the late-'60s early-'70s, like when I was a "Boss Chick" for WFIL. And when I was at Neshaminy we had my soph year Patti Labelle and the Bluebells, my Jr. year was Chicago who I actually flew on a plane to Chicago with and we were all sitting in a small room since they were redoing the airport for a change. Then I met them again when I worked in AC one summer and worked on Steel Pier when all the good groups were.

I played baseball with B.J. Thomas and his band for an hour so he'd come back and engrave a mug for us. Also the Ides Of March. I saw the Supremes, then my Sr. year we were supposed to have James Taylor but he cancelled right before because his girlfriend had committed suicide (the song that starts, 'Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone') and he was hospitalized for depression. So was I, but not then. We ended up having Richie Havens who was so wasted he did more talking and breaking guitar strings than anything else.

Well those are a few stories for now, I haven't gotten to the time I ran away from school and went into Philly and The Mike Douglas Show. I met all of the guests from that day and also Mike and his wife.

More Classic TV fun at TVparty!