Thursday, February 11, 2021

Sammy Davis Jr Open End Disc Jockey Interview

(Reprise, 1961) 
What is better than an open ended interview record, those bizarre artifacts featuring a celebrity giving answers to questions following a section of silence, in which a script-following radio DJ sets 'em up for the star to knock 'em down? There have been joke ones (Bob and Doug) or half-joking ones (RuPaul) but finding a real life Open End disc is a magical treat. I did not receive the script so my first cold listen involved me improvising and anticipating as I hemmed and hawed my way through general questions while fantasizing about sitting across from Samala (some of them even almost made sense). My game was made more fun by the oddly extra long silences to accommodate the seemingly complex canned questions. And every listen was especially fun because of Mr. Davis' eloquent and dignified answers. Sure, his replies were somewhat flat, and he seemed less engaged than he would be with Carson (or Larry King, or Dick Cavett, or Alex Haley in Playboy), but that makes sense, why would he treat me like Showbiz  royalty? Best yet, he is taken aback, perhaps slightly insulted, that I would deign to ask the question that was pre-scripted, perhaps by himself, about his leisure time (Sammy works more than the rest of the Rat Pack, never taking a vacay, but he does indulge his hobbies [golf, guns, gear (high end Hi Fi stuff], and getting pictures taken with his cameras) between sets and shots). This was made around 1961, it seems, as he's actively promoting his The Sammy Davis Jr All Star Spectacular all vocal impressions album and is reflecting on Oceans 11. He name drops not only Frankie (Sinatra can sing, which is why he can act, we learn), but also Dino, Charles de Gaulle, Bela Lugosi and Mario Lanza. the B-side is just a long series of tones, maybe so the radio engineer can calibrate the 7" to the DJ's levels, or maybe it's an open ended interview record for Martian DJs who dig Sammy. I mean, who doesn't? 

(Thanks to Victorville Film Archive for donating this record to Roctober's collection) 

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