Today would have been the 86th birthday of one of the most remarkable singers, dancers, comedian and genuinely amazing human being. His name was Sammy Davis Junior. I found this remarkably sharp picture of him photographed in a pensive mood, but pensive or not, he was simply a talent whose excess in drink and drugs were his mighty downfall. But let's not dwell on what brought him down. Instead let's focus on what he was and what he meant to others. His great good heart was legendary. Here then are some quotes by this remarkable man many of which I found fascinating:
"I wasn't anything special as a father. But I loved them and they knew it."
I'd learned a lot in the Army. I knew that above all things in the world I had to become so big, so strong that people and their hatred of any one black could never touch me"
". If you want to get known as a singer you hire five sexy chicks and let them fight over you onstage and for the cameras. That's publicity, man."
" Marilyn Monroe and I were rumored to be an item. We were friends. Nothing more. Marilyn was one of the sweetest creatures that ever lived."
" My wife May was young and beautiful, we were legally married, but she was caught in the prison of my skin."
"My home has always been show business Part of show business is magic. You don't know how it happens."
Also on this day in 1991 after 71 lumbering previews in New York City, the musical "Nick and Nora" finally opened on Broadway at the Marquis theatre, During all the preview time the poor musical underwent extensive script rewrites, multiple song replacements, and a major cast change. (It was surpassed by a record of 15 weeks of previews for the Broadway musical Spider Man: Turn Off The Dark which finally opened on Broadway in June 2011.)
The Broadway production, directed by Laurents and choreographed by Tina Paul, was simply unable to overcome the bad publicity and brutal reviews, it ran for only nine performances. The cast included Barry Bostwick (Nick Charles), Joanna Gleason (Nora Charles). The show was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Original Score. An original cast recording was released on That's Entertainment Records and was re-released on Jay Records in 1997. In his memoir Original Story By, Laurents confessed he didn't realize until the show was in previews that the characters of Nick and Nora Charles were identified so closely with William Powell and Myrna Loy that the public would have difficulty accepting anyone else in the roles. He also felt the lengthy preview period, during which theatre gossips and newspaper columnists spread largely unfounded rumors about the show's mounting problems, helped destroy any chances of success it may have had. Charles Strouse (the composer of "Annie and "Bye Bye Birdie" has had more flops than hits on Broadway.