Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sammy & Company : The Rat Packer's 1970s Daytime Talk Show

So many entertainers had variety and talk shows in the 1970s, many people don't know that Sammy Davis Jr. had a weekday syndicated program in the same vein as Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and Dinah Shore.

The video won't embed but here's a link to an interview from Sammy & Company with another legendary singer, Minnie Ripperton.

Filmed from Vegas and Harrah's Lake Tahoe with orchestra leader George Rose, Sammy & Company never caught on and was gone after two seasons (1975-1977) but what a groovy DVD release that could be. This was Sammy at his peak and there were a wealth of guest stars to provide fascinating television.

Chita Rivera, Richard Pryor, Lola Falana, Wayne Newton and dozens of other casino entertainers appeared. I don't recall but doubt that fellow Rat Packers Dean & Frank ever appeared. Perhaps this series was a bit too Vegas-style for middle America, too nighttime for the daylight.

It didn't air in the area I grew up in, maybe Sammy being black made some Southern stations hesitant to pick the show up. But for two years the television eye captured an immortal entertainer at his peak hosting a wealth of amazing guest stars, let's hope the tapes survived.