Robert S. Ensler Presents
Tribute To Sammy Davis Jr.
Sammy Davis Jr., Me and My Shadow
A Biographical Memoir by: Arthur Silber Jr.
Entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. was a human dynamo; a powerhouse of talent and the favorite son of the show-biz universe for decades. His story has been told on television, in magazine articles and in various biographies on which Sammy was "consulted" but these renditions only skimmed the surface. Even Sammy's autobiography Yes I Can did not contain the whole truth. At that time, it was too dangerous for him to tell it.
Arthur Silber Jr. was Sammy's production manager, assistant, business partner, constant traveling companion and, most importantly, his best friend, closest confidant and blood brother from 1946 until circumstances forced a parting of ways in 1966. Sammy Davis Jr. The Good Years is an eyewitness account of the famous entertainer's never-before-told adventures on the road and off recalled in colorful detail by a man who stood by his side through it all, a man considered by Sammy to be "family".
Art Silber was there to teach Sammy to drive and to keep him from driving a bullet through his brain when despair over his lost love affair with Kim Novak destroyed his will to live. The author was with Sammy in Las Vegas in its heyday when the Mob ruled and wild parties with willing chorus girls were the nightly norm. It was Arthur Silber who witnessed first-hand, the indignities of racial prejudice the famous entertainer faced when he wasn't allowed to even stroll through the Las Vegas hotels he made successful with his performances. Silber was there and risked his life along with Sammy as the entertainer broke all the rules, thus opening doors for people of color everywhere.
Former accounts of the "best buddy" antics of the famous "Rat Pack" are negated as the author reveals the truly dark side of the group; the cruel racial jokes at Sammy's expense that the small man with the big heart endured in order to fit in with the big boys. Silber was there to bolster his best friend's pride when Frank and Dean shattered it on stage nightly.
As young men with incredible access to the upper echelon of show business, Sammy and Art had lunch with Princess Grace of Monaco and chatted with the Queen of England. Encounters and friendships with immortals like Judy Garland, Gregory Peck, Milton Berle, Maurice Chevalier, Eddie Cantor and stars of the day like Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, Jeff Chandler, Nat King Cole and David Niven are described with humor and panache. The blood brothers went on wild shopping sprees as their hobbies fluctuated from cameras and guns to golf. The two bought swords and swash buckled through the halls of the famous Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. They had Western "quick draw" competitions at a moment's notice as Arthur and Sammy learned these skills that Sammy would later use in his act and also helped him make up for a lost childhood.
Sammy lost his eye in the often-documented car wreck, it was Silber who was
constantly at the hospital holding his hand and helping convince him to go on
the young friends met the loves of their lives and each saw that love shattered,
they were there for each other with mutual support.
Silber had been on hand to set up and facilitate trysts between young lovers Sammy and star Kim Novak and when Sammy was forced by the Mob to end his relationship with Kim and marry a black woman, Silber provided a strong shoulder for his friend to cry on as Sammy's despair led to attempted suicide. When Art's engagement to a beautiful chorus girl was broken, it was Sammy who helped pick up the pieces.
Over twenty-two years, some of the best years in the life and career of Sammy Davis Jr., years packed with incredible success and shattering despair, years of breaking down racial barriers and building a unique and enduring show business legend, were shared by an unlikely duo, two strong Jewish men; a 5' 6" Black dynamo from Harlem and a White 6-footer from Hollywood Sammy Davis Jr. The Good Years is that story. You'll never hear it told anywhere else.
A FEW HIGHLIGHTS
THE EARLY YEARS
GOING TO WORK FOR SAMMY
SAMMY HITS THE BIG TIME
BACK IN HOLLYWOOD
SAMMY TAKES ON VEGAS
RECOVERY AND THE RETURN
BACK TO VEGAS
THE MOB RULES
HOB-NOBBING WITH ROYALTY
SAMMY, MAY BRITT AND THE NAZIS
THE RAT PACK MYTH- REFUTED
REFUGE IN EUROPE
THE MOB FORCES ART OUT
ART RETURNS BRIEFLY
All rights reserved. No part of the content on the Samartsstorytime.com web pages may be reproduced except with the express written permission of Samart Enterprises. Note from the Editors: errors in grammar are intentional in an effort to keep the vernacular of Arthur Silber Jr., a gifted storyteller, intact. Artwork by Klaus Ernst, copyright by Samarts Story Time Enterprises.
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