Sammy Davis, Jr.: Me and My Shadow by Arthur Silber, Jr. is the story of Sammy and Arthur’s exceptionally close relationship from the late 1940s till the mid-1970s. While their bond was never completely severed, those 25 years when Arthur and Sammy forged their brotherhood like friendship Sammy went from a part of the Will Mastin Trio to international superstar beloved by millions who a tremendous impact braking down color barriers well before the famed 1960 Civil Rights Movement.
It is not an exaggeration to say that no one knew Sammy Davis, Jr. better than Arthur; it was bond of brotherhood based on a genuine friendship; a bond of brotherhood forged in the those years when Sammy was in transition and finding his own show biz and public personality; it was a bond of brotherhood in the shared struggle of equal rights and fair treatment; it was a bond of brotherhood that would find strength in the massive societal changes of the 1960s and beyond.
E.B. GO Vision conducted an intense and detailed interview of Arthur Silber, Jr. that is seen here in two-parts. Silber still considers this one of the best interviews he has done and E.B. also designed and built his book website, created and populated his Sammy Davis, Jr. You Tube Channel and edited a number of his radio show appearances into podcasts.
Sammy the Civil Rights Pioneer in 1950s Sammy grew up on the boards of vaudeville all over the country, never settling down to attend school formally and experiencing racism in various parts of the country as a child and young man. Then a stint in the U.S. after the war did little to ease the tension he felt. After Arthur and Sammy became close, in the early 1950s, and Sammy began to get attention as a top-notch talent, he had to fight for his opportunities as a black man with doors closing in his face. The owner of the famous Copacabana Club in New York was a notorious racist and Sammy would go and stand in the back to watch Frank Sinatra perform, something which didn’t sit well with the owner and he expressed those feelings to Sinatra.
Not only should Sammy have been freely admitted into the club, but he should have been a headliner there and Sinatra knew it and took action. In no uncertain terms he told the owner to book Sammy or to never expect him to play the club ever again, enough said and Sammy was booked and proceeded to break all the house records and bring in large black crowds from Harlem to see the show. When Sammy played Vegas he couldn’t stay in the hotel or gamble in the casino. Sammy grew weary of this and decided, on his own, to rock the boat of the mob owned hotels and waltzed into the casino and started dealing blackjack. The calls went out and the powers that be decided to relent on this issue and Sammy had made history.
Sammy, American Entertainment Icon:
There are many stories, really legends, about Sammy that simply aren’t true and Arthur Silber know the real stories. He knowledge of everything Sammy makes him the perfect consultant to anyone wanting to make a movie about the life of a man whose life spanned tumultuous decades in world and American history. Sammy’s talent was all-encompassing, he did it all and did with style; dancing, singing, acting, comedy, theater, musician and more. The world needs to be reminded of his greatness and appreciate a man who hit the heights and saw the depths; a man who felt loved and yet scorned and unappreciated; a man who was fantastically talented and flawed like all of us; Sammy Davis, Jr. was a man who just “wanted to be treated fairly.”