"We were introduced to Sammy in 1953. We were deep, deep friends until his death. He became an every day part of our lives. We did everything together. We traveled, ate, worked and looked after one another. We sat through a thousand performances and we shared a devout love for movie and other entertainment trivia. We took Marilyn to see him at the Copa. After being on for over two hours, his performed his closing number “Birth of the Blues”, to thunderous applause. Marilyn taps my shoulder, smiles and said, “When Sammy works, he becomes Cary Grant in front of your very eyes.”
Whenever we went to one of his shows, Milton always took a camera. He would put it on the table and shoot. No fuss, no one knew, no one noticed, because the paying customers were watching Sammy.
In the early '60s Sammy and Mai Britt, one of the first public interracial couples, were married and made a life for themselves. Not that they were publicly flamboyant and seen at El Morocco every night. Even walking on Madison Avenue someone would say something nasty in passing, hence they would need bodyguards at all times.
Sammy learned a new number called “Bo Jangles”. He wanted special dramatic lighting, so of course he called Milton. Milton again thought of a silhouette against a black background with just a pinspot following him everywhere he went on stage. At the end, as he had always done so successfully, the spotlight became smaller and smaller until the last note came out of Sam’s mouth. The right hand is up, fingers snapping in time to the music, blackout, BAM! It was first tried in Vegas at the old Sands hotel."
Excerpted from But That's Another Story by Amy & Joshua Greene. Published by powerHouse Books.