A brilliant Sammy Davis Jr performance from the beforetimes

Originally published at: A brilliant Sammy Davis Jr performance from the beforetimes | Boing Boing

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That rendition really speaks to me.

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Irresistable charisma and rythym. Whenever I see the ‘rat pack’, I think of my mam. Her fave was Ella Fitzgerald though. Love these guys.

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Frank Sinatra once said of Sammy Davis Jr. “He goes to the refrigerator for a snack, opens the door, and when the light hits him, he does 45 minutes of his act!”

Not sure if the quote is apocryphal, but it fits. Sammy was by far the best entertainer of the Rat Pack.

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He probably started dancing at about the same age that Michael Jackson did. What a showman!

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For anyone who hasn’t seen Sweet Charity (Bob Fosse’s musical remake of Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria), I recommend SDJ’s cameo as a cult leader:

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It is amazing to see how Sammy straight up impersonates the dancing of a global phenomenon.

'Twas more likely this case: MJ impersonated SD Jr who in turn impersonated MJ.

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Here he is at his 60th anniversary tap dancing with Gregory Hines, he died a couple weeks later.

No one did Mr. Bojangles like Sammy.

And that time he was elected president when he was 7.

PBS American Masters I’ve Gotta Be Me is his amazing story from childhood to his death. It’s worth renting.

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He was a class act.

He was the best thing in Sweet Charity.

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For anyone interested in Sammy Davis Jr. Karina Longworth has just finished a 9 part podcast Sammy and Dino about Davis and Dean Martin in her You Must Remember This podcast. Really in depth and fascinating.

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Even sooner. According to Jimbopedia,
At age three, Davis began his career in vaudeville with his father Sammy Davis Sr. and the Will Mastin Trio.
By age seven, he was in movies (see clips above).

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Totally agree. On a side note, I have no idea how Joey Bishop was included in that group.

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I just learned this factoid about Davis and JFK…

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Bishop had a dry sense of humor that wasn’t to everyone’s taste. My father loved him, and Comedy Central had him on a list of the 100 greatest comedians of all time

W/r to Sammy Davis and JFK’s nomination, it was a political, not personal, decision, but of course a terrible one. (This was one of the things that Buckley-style conservatives used to trot out when asserting that the GOP should be the natural home for African-American voters. ) JFK could have used the inauguration as a bully pulpit to move the country forward. As it was, interracial marriage remained illegal in the states surrounding D.C. for another 7 years. F***ing country.

Deano boycotted the inauguration because of it:

Sammy also wasn’t allowed to stay in the hotels he performed at early on.

He also wasn’t allowed into Sinatra’s show the first time he was invited causing Sinatra to tear up his contract.

That PBS American Masters about Sammy Davis would make your blood boil.

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One of my all time hero’s. His story is amazing. So got to see and meet him when I was about 8th grade.

We had a Jewish Hebrew school but no building or funds in our smallish mid America community. My father managed to contact him to ask if he would come out for a fundraiser concert. He said he would for nothing except the fees to pay the crew and band. They rented out the coliseum and Sammy did a great show as always. He was in his prime then. They raised enough money and attracted some donors and built the school.

After the concert got to go backstage and meet him. He always stuck around after the show. What a nice man. A real mench.

Few quick things. By the time he joined the army he was nearly illiterate. Someone helped him out and he learned there. He lost his left eye following a car accident in 1954. When he started in Vegas with Sinatra and the rest he could not enter through the front door but had to go in the workers door in the back.

120 lbs of pure willpower, talent and soul.

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