Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:23 pm

We all know Elvis spent some of his off-hours back in 1957-58 at Frank Sennes' Moulin Rouge dinner theater, at 6320 W. Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles.


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Frank Sennes' Moulin Rouge, circa November 1955


Among others, Elvis enjoyed acts like Dorothy Squires and her then-husband Roger Moore.


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Roger Moore, Dorothy Squires, circa 1954


Usually he went with his pals, and girlfriends like lovely singer and model Kitty Dolan.


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With Kitty Dolan, Moulin Rouge, Tuesday, March 11, 1958
Elvis was attending a "King Creole" cast party organized by Paramount producer Hal Wallis.


Shortly after the "King Creole" cast party, Elvis chatted with syndicated columnist Vernon Scott about the future.


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Oxnard Press-Courier, Saturday, March 15, 1958


Elvis apparently didn't mention that he had recently enjoyed the rockin' ways of 32 year-old Sammy Davis, Jr.!


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Jet magazine, February 27, 1958
Note: caption mentions Elvis "roaring with laughter" at ringside.


This was about the time the two formed a friendship.

When visiting the son of Colonel Parker's Hollywood secretary Trude Forsher a few years ago, I was able to look at her 1958 phone message book, and saw several messages left for Elvis from Sammy in February and March. They would stay in touch until Elvis' passing in 1977.

Davis, one of the all-time great entertainers, appeared with Elvis on the May 1960 Frank Sinatra "Welcome Home Elvis" special on ABC-TV -- where he did a one-liner of "Hound Dog" during the shows opening -- and may be seen ringside at the International Hotel showroom in 1970's "That's The Way it Is," the MGM documentary.
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Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:29 pm

BONUS:

Here are a couple of cool pieces of Moulin Rouge history:


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Moulin Rouge matchbook, circa 1955



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Moulin Rouge club program, June 1957
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Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:33 pm

Brilliant topic and very interesting.

Thanks Doc.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:56 pm

Read that article and tell me he's not a good actor. We know now he was filled with anxiety about his career and what those two years would do to it. Poor kid. How would you feel if the greatest thrill ride of a generation looked like it was ending for you?

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:36 pm

Davis's Hound Dog parody has been on record for decades, released in 1962 on his Coconut Grove live album.

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It's a great example of what works well on stage doesn't always work well on record!

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:54 pm

poormadpeter wrote:Davis's Hound Dog parody has been on record for decades, released in 1962 on his Coconut Grove live album.
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It's a great example of what works well on stage doesn't always work well on record!

Thanks for the interesting info and the YouTube clip, poormadpeter!

I'd never seen/heard that before.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:02 am

poormadpeter wrote:Davis's Hound Dog parody has been on record for decades, released in 1962 on his Coconut Grove live album ... It's a great example of what works well on stage doesn't always work well on record!


Not really.

We have no idea what arrangement Davis used on the stage of the Moulin Rouge in February 1958, only that Elvis loved it.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:03 am

Bodie wrote:Brilliant topic and very interesting.

Thanks Doc.


You are very kind. :-)

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:04 am

stevelecher wrote:Read that article and tell me he's not a good actor. We know now he was filled with anxiety about his career and what those two years would do to it. Poor kid. How would you feel if the greatest thrill ride of a generation looked like it was ending for you?


Very good observation -- at home he was in tears over the impending induction. One can imagine Sammy giving him encouragement during their time together in this period.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:36 am

Very nice Doc,

I enjoyed that.


::rocks

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:07 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:Davis's Hound Dog parody has been on record for decades, released in 1962 on his Coconut Grove live album ... It's a great example of what works well on stage doesn't always work well on record!


Not really.

We have no idea what arrangement Davis used on the stage of the Moulin Rouge in February 1958, only that Elvis loved it.


We can make an educated guess. He was doing a similar excerpt from Hound Dog (though not with What'd I Say) as early as 1960 (available on bootleg many years back), and as late as 1973. The chances of the earlier rendition being anything other than this kind of schtick is extremely unlikely. Davis did do a serious rendition of I Got A Woman in the late 1950s, though, backed by the Count Basie orchestra.

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Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:28 am

poormadpeter wrote:Davis did do a serious rendition of I Got A Woman in the late 1950s, though, backed by the Count Basie orchestra.


All the more reason to consider the February 1958 performance at Moulin Rouge an open question.

Of course, the point of this topic is finding proof that Elvis' friendship with Davis must have been established at this time, with Presley attending Sammy's shows at the dinner theater and loving the homage he witnessed.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:44 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Of course, the point of this topic is finding proof that Elvis' friendship with Davis must have been established at this time, with Presley attending Sammy's shows at the dinner theater and loving the homage he witnessed.


Then you should have saved yourself the bother, and looked back at your own post from 2010 which makes clear this very fact.

http://www.elvis-collectors.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=56524&p=825103&hilit=+sammy+davis#p825103

No wonder why "it's no mystery".

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:53 am

I saw Sammy perform 3 times. Once in Vegas in 1978 where he mentioned Elvis and was wearing a ring Elvis gave him. Once in Lake Tahoe in 1981 and in Vegas with Jerry Lewis in 1989 and they were always great, great shows. Dick Shawn used to say if you are religious the greatest entertainer would be God if you are an atheist it would be Sammy Davis Jr!

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:59 am

Jokerlola wrote:I saw Sammy perform 3 times. Once in Vegas in 1978 where he mentioned Elvis and was wearing a ring Elvis gave him. Once in Lake Tahoe in 1981 and in Vegas with Jerry Lewis in 1989 and they were always great, great shows. Dick Shawn used to say if you are religious the greatest entertainer would be God if you are an atheist it would be Sammy Davis Jr!


video evidence shows that Davis was on absolute fire on stage in 1989 - and taken from us just a year later. I had a chance to see him in 1989, along with Minnelli and Sinatra on their tour together. But fifteen year old me wasn't interested in that type of music then and declined the offer.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:07 am

I saw Davis, Sinatra and Minnelli in 1989 also at The Meadowlands in NJ. I was pretty impressed by all of them. Frank did not have the voice anymore, but he was still Sinatra and had a way with a song and put them over very well. I always wondered how Elvis would have matured on stage. I hope the jumpsuits would have stopped by age 50. Anyway, Sammy was an awesome talent and got taken from us too soon. He was till on the top of his game in '89 as you pointed out.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:24 am

poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Of course, the point of this topic is finding proof that Elvis' friendship with Davis must have been established at this time, with Presley attending Sammy's shows at the dinner theater and loving the homage he witnessed.


Then you should have saved yourself the bother, and looked back at your own post from 2010 which makes clear this very fact.


I strongly suggest you do not attempt to derail another thread with your petty, juvenile behavior.

This topic establishes Elvis in attendance at the Moulin Rouge in February 1958, watching Sammy Davis, Jr. perform a homage to the young singer. That is new, and adds to the original known history I presented three years ago.

It is flattering that you keep tabs on my posting history, though. Hope you learn a lot about Elvis, it's there for any and all to enjoy. ;-)

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 4:25 am

Jokerlola wrote:I saw Sammy perform 3 times. Once in Vegas in 1978 where he mentioned Elvis and was wearing a ring Elvis gave him. Once in Lake Tahoe in 1981 and in Vegas with Jerry Lewis in 1989 and they were always great, great shows. Dick Shawn used to say if you are religious the greatest entertainer would be God if you are an atheist it would be Sammy Davis Jr!


That's cool.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:14 am

Sammy, himself, spoke of Elvis sitting ringside when he performed at the Moulin Rouge in 1958. They had spent time together beforehand, first meeting on the set of Loving You in early 1957 -- and in the days after the aforementioned show at the Mou, when Elvis and Sammy discussed the prospect of co-starring in The Defiant Ones. Sammy's Mr. Hyde impersonation also had Elvis in hysterics, something Presley had seen in private and suggested that Sammy put in his act. Davis, Jr. also mentioned impersonating Elvis at this time and of his disappointment in not being afforded the opportunity to co-star with Elvis in The Defiant Ones.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:19 am

Interesting and informative post! Elvis sure looked fantastic in 1958 and I could only dream of what it must have been like to SDJ on stage at that time... my father was lucky enough to see him in Detroit in 1957. I am a HUGE Sammy Davis Jr. fan... everyone knew what an outstanding entertainer Sammy was but he must have had one of the most underrated voices in show business... he had an absolutely beautiful voice.
Thanks for posting John!
One of my all time favorites from SDJ: (sorry didn't mean to hyjack the thread but I just love this song and Sammy's vocal performance)


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Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:45 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:Of course, the point of this topic is finding proof that Elvis' friendship with Davis must have been established at this time, with Presley attending Sammy's shows at the dinner theater and loving the homage he witnessed.


Then you should have saved yourself the bother, and looked back at your own post from 2010 which makes clear this very fact.


I strongly suggest you do not attempt to derail another thread with your petty, juvenile behavior.

This topic establishes Elvis in attendance at the Moulin Rouge in February 1958, watching Sammy Davis, Jr. perform a homage to the young singer. That is new, and adds to the original known history I presented three years ago.

It is flattering that you keep tabs on my posting history, though. Hope you learn a lot about Elvis, it's there for any and all to enjoy. ;-)


You derailed your own thread in order to not allow information about the style of performance of Hound Dog to enter it.

Going back to that, as Greystoke (nice to see him back) points out Davis wrote about knowing Elvis during this period in Why Me:

"A few nights later I was in my dressing room at the Mou getting ready for the second show when I was told 'Elvis is at centre ringside.' ... I did the whole show, the impression of Elvis with the white shoes and the guitar." (p.71)

THAT is what the Hound Dog performance was, the same as it was in 1962 in the clip I posted earlier in the thread.

However, quite why you were disputing this fact, I'm not sure. The caption of the pic YOU posted of SD singing Hound Dog states quite clearly that Davis was mimicking Elvis and that Elvis was "roaring with laughter at the brilliant imitation".

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 6:01 am

I spent a lot of time around Sammy while he and Jerry Lewis were rehearsing for their Vegas act. They both wanted to see ONE MORE TIME and I was able to locate a 35mm print and arranged a screening at the theater in Bally's.

Sammy was kind, gentle, soft-spoken. And on-stage or in rehearsals he was pure magic. As you've said, he was on fire and at the top of his game. Jerry was devastated when he passed. They were brothers.

You could not have met a nicer man.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 12:03 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:This topic establishes Elvis in attendance at the Moulin Rouge in Feruary 1958, watching Sammy Davis, Jr. perform a homage to the young singer. That is new...


That is simply not true. It may have been new to you and some people on this mb but as both, Greystoke and Poormadpeter pointed out, Sammy Davis Jr himself revealed this fact years ago. There really is nothing new about it.
Last edited by memfisking on Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:07 pm

Doc, I appreciate your efforts and time, but lately it seems like your trying just a tad too hard with all these "Nancy Drew" mystery topics that a lot of fans , not just Elvis, but fans of music and Sammy's, seem to have known for a long time.

Re: Sammy Does Elvis In '58 --> It's No Mystery!

Thu Apr 18, 2013 7:59 pm

greystoke wrote:Sammy, himself, spoke of Elvis sitting ringside when he performed at the Moulin Rouge in 1958. They had spent time together beforehand, first meeting on the set of Loving You in early 1957 -- and in the days after the aforementioned show at the Mou, when Elvis and Sammy discussed the prospect of co-starring in The Defiant Ones. Sammy's Mr. Hyde impersonation also had Elvis in hysterics, something Presley had seen in private and suggested that Sammy put in his act. Davis, Jr. also mentioned impersonating Elvis at this time and of his disappointment in not being afforded the opportunity to co-star with Elvis in The Defiant Ones.


Thank you so much for sharing this information and contributing to the topic. It's unfortunate we do not have an audio or film recording of Davis' performance in February 1958, or even photos of Sammy and Elvis together after the show.