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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Sammy Davis, Jr. Show - The Andrew Sisters vs The Supremes

This is an updated version of a blog I first posted in 2007. Unfortunately, the video of James Brown on "Sammy and Company" is long gone. But to assuage the pain here's an excerpt from Sammy's first show, an NBC primetime variety hour that he couldn't appear on for the first few weeks of its short life because of his ABC contract. Nonetheless the show went on without its star, with guest hosts Johnny Carson, Sean Connery, Judy Garland and Richard Burton & Liz Taylor filling in till Sammy was free of his ABC contract, possibly the reason the show was quickly cancelled.

Anyway, here's Sammy with The Andrew Sisters and The Supremes, with the two groups singing each other's hits.  It almost works...

Back to "Sammy and Company,"  Sammy's infamous mid-70s variety/talk show which I would kill for to own a complete DVD set. "Sammy & Company" was one of those shows that drugs were invented for. This description from pretty much captures the frisson of each show...
"... It was a talk show where all they did was kiss each other's butts. Sammy would come out and do his number. The crowd would applaud. He would cry and thank the audience for being so wonderful. Then a guest would come out and Sammy would fawn all over him. The guest would reply in kind by fawning all over Sammy. Sammy would volley back a barrage of flattery. The guest would return the favor:

'I have to say this. I can't keep it to myself anymore. You are one of the greatest talents in the world.' (Applause).'

'Oh, no, no. Get out of here, Sammy. YOU are the greatest entertainer in the world and you know it!' (Wild Applause)

' Man, oh, man... you're great. But really, YOU'RE the best. Not me. I worship the ground you walk on. (Tears) I really do, man.I love you!' (A few claps, tears from the audience)

'I LOVE YOU, SAMMY! WE ALL LOVE YOU! Isn't that right, everybody?' (Sammy and guest hug (Wild, wild applause, whistling, tears)

'Man, would you like to do another number?'

'Only if you sing it with me Sammy!'(Applause)

(Sammy and guest take the stage and butcher a then current Top 40 hit) Then another guest would come out and it would start all over."
I'd object to the "butchering" of the music, which was usually the best thing about "Sammy & Company," but it was one weird, horrific show, filled with B-list actors and entertainers, with Sammy like an obsequious, black Uriah Heep, treating each one as the second coming of Christ. Notably,  the entire Rat Pack avoided the show over its two-year run. 

Often, both Sammy and his guests looked stoned out of their gourds, as this excerpt demonstrates...

The lady is Totie Fields, a comedian who was pretty much confined to the talk show circuit by the mid-70s because of serious health issues.

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