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RIP: Sally Starr, The Legendary Stardust Cowgirl


INQUIRER: By the early 1960s, she had achieved unparalleled local fame and, arguably, the status of most beloved figure in Philadelphia broadcasting history. On any given afternoon a sizable percentage of local kids (and, often, their stay-at-home moms) were tuned in to “Popeye Theater.” 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.” Even in a market that boasted such kiddie-show heavy hitters as Happy the Clown, Gene London, Chief Halftown, Pixanne and Lee Dexter’s puppet Bertie the Bunyip, no one came close to “Our Gal Sal” in terms of ratings. And her popularity extended well beyond her daily telecast. Supermarkets, fast-food outlets, toy stores and car dealerships within a 60-mile radius of Philadelphia lured vast crowds by sponsoring her personal appearances. She also dispensed life lessons – about everything from fire prevention to getting along with others – to her young fans, and brightened their days by sending great big “smoocheroonies” their way, along with such signature lines as “I hope you feel as good as you look, because you sure look good to Your Gal Sal,” and “Love ya lots! Love, luck and lollipops.” MORE

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