Philly TV Legend Sally Starr Is Dead at 90
One of Philadelphia’s iconic TV show hosts is gone. Sally Starr passed away Sunday. She turned 90 on Saturday.
“Our Gal Sal” started out in country music, but most of us knew Sally Starr for her daily “Popeye Theatre” which aired for a quarter century on Channel 6, ending in 1971.
Carter Merbreier is better known to many as the beloved Captain Noah. His show ran alongside Starr’s for over a decade and they worked in cubicles right next to each other.
“She was just a beautiful woman,” he said. “Everything she did was for the children. She went out to every fair, she rode on more firetrucks, she just was a real professional for the kids.”
“Sally Starr is an icon, and she will always be remembered as an icon,” said DJ Jerry Blavat, adding:
“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.”
I remembered explaining to him that during my childhood, I spent two hours a day, five days a week with Sally – time I couldn’t spend with him, because he had to work. This, I reasoned, made her a significant figure in my life, and I was sure that thousands of fellow boomers felt the same way.
Seldom have I been more correct about anything. Virtually every news organization within 60 miles used the “Sally Starr Returns” story. For three days, people who couldn’t tell an RV from a VCR waited – sometimes for an hour or more – just to get a hug or an autograph from, and/or take a picture with, the still-charismatic Starr, who had a new cowgirl costume made just for the appearance.
Read Michael Callahan’s 2011 ode, “Where Have You Gone, Sally Starr? A Requiem for the Philly TV Star.”