Once again, holiday greetings to each and every one of you as we celebrate Hanukkah and the coming of Christmas. It’s a wonderful time of year when we can spend time with friends and family and remember those who are no longer with us but who always will be cherished. And with that in mind, I’m going to devote this column to two of the greatest performers we were ever blessed to have, Frank Sinatra and my friend, Sammy Davis, Jr.
Fortunately I knew them both very well and spent many memorable evenings in their company. Both were born in December – Sammy on Dec. 8 and Frank on Dec. 12, and if Sammy were alive today he would have been 90 and Frank 100.
They may be gone, but they never will be forgotten for their contributions in making the world a better musical place -- Frank as the greatest singer we’ve ever had, and Sammy as the world’s greatest all-around entertainer.
And just in time for Frank’s birthday, two very special shows for you this weekend. On Saturday, Dec. 12, an hour devoted to Frank that includes some of his early radio shows when he hosted “The Lucky Strike Hit Parade,” which you can hear on WXPN (88.5 FM at the shore or XPN.org worldwide). And you will hear some of that material and more on my show “The Geator, Frank and Friends,” Sunday from noon to 2 p.m. on Atlantic City’s WOND 1400 News Talk Radio (WONDRadio.com). Hope you can set aside time to tune in and celebrate what these two gentlemen gave us.
And before we get to your questions, I want to mention once again that if you are looking for a holiday gift for the music lovers in your life, check out our two newest CD collections, Lost Treasures of Doo Wop and Live on the Radio with the Super Mixes. And for a very special musical gift, perhaps to yourself, tickets to our upcoming “Salute to Streetcorner Harmony” at the Kimmel Center on Jan. 23. For more info on the show and the CDs, go to our website at Geator.net. But now, let’s ask the Geator.
I saw Sammy Davis with Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra in Philadelphia when I was stationed there. Great show but Sammy was the greatest. A songmaster, great dancer, super timing on his jokes, and he even gave a quick draw demonstration. He was the best performer who never intentionally showed up the other two. He went out of his way to try to compliment their performances. -- Daniel D'Alesio, Neptune Beach, Fla.
You have mentioned one of the most important things that made Sammy great and set him apart from so many other entertainers, namely his lack of ego. He was never felt he had to compete. He was always secure in his own talent and always remained in awe of other people in show business.
I have a question about your movie Cycad that you made with Sammy Davis Jr. What does the title mean? All I could find out when searching is that cycad is a type of plant. --- Denise, Egg Harbor Township
It’s a plant that’s been around for millions of years, and the main character in the movie, the kid who committed suicide, was obsessed with cycads and grew them, thinking that if he committed suicide, he would live forever.
Recently on your WOND Sinatra show I heard you play a song I had never heard of before with the lyrics, "Don't cry, Joe, let her go, let her go, let her go." – Liz Walley, Longport
Great song, which Frank first recorded for Columbia in 1949 with the Hugo Winterhalter Orchestra and again in 1961 for Reprise with a new arrangement by Billy May. Sammy also recorded it later on in the '60s. It was a very popular song written by Joe Marsala as a tribute to all the GIs who had returned from World War II only to find their sweethearts had run away with other men.
Got a question for the Geator? Send it to email@example.com. Please include your name and location and watch this column for the answer. For complete info on Jerry’s appearances go to Geator.net. And remember, keep on rocking, 'cause you only rock once!