sammy davis jrsammy davis jr

PR Stunt part2, cum aduci un actor in atentia presei: Sammy Davis Jr

am mai scris ca citesc biografia unuia dintre cei mai mari publicisti de la Hollywood, Jay Bernstein – Starmaker: Life as a Hollywood Publicist with Farrah, The Rat Pack, & 600 More Stars Who Fired Me, si ca aceasta carte e plina de povestiri care arata mecanismele din interiorul Hollywoodului. despre un PR Stunt pentru lansarea/pozitionarea lui Tom Jones am scris aici.

acum o poveste despre Sammy Davis JR si despre cum ceea ce considera PR/Publicistul succes s-ar putea sa fie ingrozitor de enervant pt artist… din cauza unui mic detaliu.

doar cine n-a lucrat cu artisti, n-a intalnit situatii ca aceasta de mai jos:)

ca sa aveti putin background pentru ceea ce veti citi, Sammy Davis Jr – cantaret si dansator, ajunge sa fie actor ca parte a succesului lui la public. doar ca nu reuseste mare lucru cu primul film, iar publicistul lui este chemat de Sammy la filmarile urmatoarei pelicule sa gaseasca o solutie pentru a-l promova si a-i creste cota in lumea filmului.

*

I read the script.

Sammy would be playing an ex-prizefighter turned shoeshine boy. When I came across a scene in which three thugs physically beat him in an alley, my mind started clicking. Within minutes I had in idea. I called Sammy.

“Are you using a double in your fight scene?”“Hell no, man! I’m doing my own stunt!”

I called the studio and got the crew list; then I called Bob Conrad to see if he knew any of the stuntmen working the picture. Half of Bob’s friends were stuntmen. I read him the list.

“I know them all,”he said. I explained to him the scene. “Can you set up a meeting for me with the stuntman who gives Sammy’s character the coup de grace in the alley?”

He did, and I met with the stuntman. We talked about the scene. Then I popped my question: “How much would it cost me for you to accidentally hit Sammy in his bad eye at the climax of the scene?”

He thought I was kidding; I assured him I wasn’t. He shrugged. “Three hundred bucks.” I only had three hundred to my name. “How about two-fifty?” We settled on it; the deal was done.

My press connections were excellent, but I owed UPI a favor. I called the bureau chief. “Sammy Davis, Jr., is doing a dramatic episode for The Dick Powell Show.” The service had been running the news releases I was filing, so he was aware of the episode and Sammy’s role in it. “If you can send someone over to photograph the actual shooting of the fight scene, I’ll give you an exclusive.”

Another deal was done; this one for free. Ernie Schworck was the UPI photographer. I made sure he got some shots of Sammy while the scene was being set up. Then I held him at ringside to make sure he didn’t leave.

Right before the take, the stuntman gave me a subtle thumbs-up signal. The actors were on their marks, the crew was ready, and the director yelled, “Action!”Fight scenes are choreographed and well-rehearsed. This one went accordingly, until my stuntman gave Sammy a right punch that sent him to the floor.

“Shit! Cut!” Sammy groaned; his face was bleeding from a small cut under his blind eye.

“Jesus, Sammy,” said the stuntman. “I’m sorry!”

“It’s nothing, it’s nothing,”muttered Sammy heroically.

As a crowd gathered, I whispered innocently to Ernie Schworck, “That was dramatic. Did you get anything?”

Ernie was already leaving; he had something. The story went out within an hour, with a photograph taken almost at the instant Sammy was hit. If it didn’t go through the solar system, it went around the world more than once. It was a PR man’s dream.

It was on every wire, churning around the globe like whipped cream in the making: “Davis in Fight Accident!”

I drove through Laurel Canyon whistling under my breath. When I got to the office I had a message directing me to report to Warren Cowan immediately. I dashed to his office expecting high praise. Warren sat glumly behind his desk.

“I just had a call from Aaron Spelling,” he said. “They know what you did with Sammy Davis, Jr.”

Spelling was Dick Powell’s top man, just on the verge of entering the Hollywood jungle as an independent producer. “What I did?” I asked, feigning naïveté. “Yes, and I know, too,”said Warren. I stood like a statue wondering exactly what he knew. Had the stuntman confessed? I doubted it; he would have lost his union card. But something had gone awry. The question was: What?

“Rogers & Cowan is barred from Four Star as long as you are employed here,” continued Warren. Four Star Productions was the parent company of Dick Powell’s mini-empire. It was big-time, so I understood the implication of Warren’s words. “That’s it?” I said.

“I’m getting fired over an accident that happened on the set?”

“I think you know it’s more than that, Jay,”said Warren.

I had just pulled off the biggest publicity stunt of my young career, and I was getting canned for it. Something was wrong. What did Warren know that I didn’t? In those days the motion-picture television industry was far removed from what it is today.

It was as segregated as the races, which is part of the irony of the story, since Sammy’s role was an incipient effort at leveling the playing field for black actors. But in the early sixties television and movies were separate—as well as unfriendly—entities. Movie people thought television people were trying to destroy their industry, and television people resented the backseat role in which movie people tried to place them. When I left Warren’s office, however, I thought somehow word had leaked out about my role with the stuntman. That wasn’t it at all.

One of the wire stories sent around the world said Sammy had been hit during a stunt while making a movie. The key word was movie, as on the silver screen. Because I was Sammy’s publicist, I was accused of defaming the television industry. Dick Powell, Aaron Spelling and other television bigwigs thought I was purposely putting their fledgling industry down. That’s what Warren meant when he said it was more than Sammy being accidentally punched in the face: “I think you know it’s more than that, Jay.”It was a television industry ego trip, and I hadn’t even written the goddamned copy!

When the story came out the next day in the newspapers and trades, it had a different take, as it would later in the weeklies. The stories varied, but they had the same essential information: “Sammy Davis, Jr., failed to duck a stuntman’s blow during a fight scene while filming an upcoming episode for television’s The Dick Powell Show.”

Television’s The Dick Powell Show.

Warren called me. “Come back to work, Jay. The dailies have saved you.”

I stayed in my office all day waiting for the call, namely the gracious thank-you from Sammy for my wonderful services rendered. He’d asked me to get him some worldwide publicity, and I had performed. The call came at five o’clock. I felt like lighting a victory cigar, but instead I propped my feet on my desk and picked up the phone.

A feeling of pride in accomplishment swept my body; my voice literally sang, “Helloooo, Sammy!”

“We’ve got to get that son of a bitch!”he cried.

My heart sank. Did he know the stuntman had punched him on purpose?

“What son of a bitch?”I asked.

“The one that wrote that fucking caption!”

“What caption?”

“The one that said ‘Sammy Davis, Jr., failed to duck a blow.’Do you know how that makes me look? Do you know how fucking embarrassing that is? Like I can’t handle myself in a fight! I want you to get that mother!”

And he hung up.

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