She was a Philadelphia treasure and institution, right up there with the Liberty Bell, soft pretzels and hoagies.
When she passed away Sunday just two days after turning 90 years young, Sally Starr created a tremendous gap in the heart and soul of the City of Brotherly Love. A slice of that heart and soul and solace died with her. She was, as Philly radio talk show host Dominic Giordano described her on Monday, a baby-boomer icon.
With all due and abundant respect to Gene London, Pixanne, Captain and Mrs. Noah, Wee Willie Webber, Dick Clark, Chief Halftown, “Uncle Pete” Boyle and other staples of the glory days of Philadelphia’s local TV personalities, Our Gal Sal was at the head of the class.
Any longtime Philadelphian who did not meet and greet Sally Starr at one of her numerous personal appearances in the Delaware Valley didn’t try very hard and most certainly missed a real treat. The Kansas City, Mo.-born cowgirl and host of Channel 6’s Popeye Theater had the kind of charisma, warmth and personality that’s as rare as a certain sailorman without his spinach.
In the 1960s and ’70s, parents knew that when their kids were watching Aunt Sally on the tube, they were in good hands. And now, Sally can rest on her laurels.
Thanks for the memories, Sally Starr. Philadelphia will love you forever.
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