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People Top 5
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- December 23, 1974
- Vol. 2
- No. 26
An Officer Is Hit with a Pie as a Joke: the Navy Doesn't Laugh
The trial nearly brought back burlesque. In his defense, Louie claimed that he was merely relying on a time-honored technique to boost morale which had been sagging since his battalion, recently returned from six months in the backwoods of Puerto Rico, received orders for a remote island in the Indian Ocean. To prove its point, the defense called an "expert" witness—Soupy Sales of TV renown, who has himself been the target of some 19,000 pies. Pie-throwing, Soupy testified, is a "harmless joke meant to entertain and amuse."
Failing to see the humor of the situation, the five-member military court docked Louie $400, restricted him to the base for two months and busted him to the lowest possible rank. As if that were not punishment enough, even Louie's technique came in for criticism—and from his own expert witness. Safely off the stand, Sales was asked whether Louie should really have thrown the chocolate pie. "No," replied Sales, a former Navy man. "That shot called for lemon meringue."
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