Friends & Family
One of the most
exciting projects I ever worked on was as a freelance photographer for American
agencies on a film called 'One More Time', starring Sammy Davis Jnr., Peter
Lawford and directed by Jerry Lewis.
alongside the late stills photographer George Whittier, a superb photographer
of some of the top films in the world and a thoroughly nice man who became a
great friend and a pleasure to know.
making the film so exciting was that it was almost a laugh a minute; with two
of the world's greatest clowns what else could it be? From day one for the
entire ten weeks of filming there was a veritable non stop cascade of laughter
and by the end I was exhausted, needless to say Sammy went on to do 'Talk of
the Town' in London!
Davis sat at a dining table in a baronial hall and was scripted to drink a
glass of red wine and then speak a line. This he did, but Jerry Lewis shouted
"Cut" and apologised to Sammy that the lighting wasn't quite right could he do
it again. Sammy's glass, a large glass, was refilled and "Action" called. Sammy
drank the wine and said the line. Again Jerry shouted "Cut" and once again
apologised to Sammy that the sound man had not got it quite right, could they
do it again. Sammy obliged, the glass refilled and "Action" repeated, and
repeated, each time a different excuse and sometimes the rapidly becoming tipsy
Sammy's. Ten takes, ten glasses of wine. By now the entire crew were in danger
of choking on laughter and tears were running down their faces, including mine
as we realised that Jerry Lewis was simply winding Sammy up.
Sammy paused to
look around at all the tear filled faces and simply roared with laughter as he
realised that the joke was on him and I got one of my favourite
Seated at the
same table Sammy was in a reflective mood and by pure luck I glanced in his
direction and saw him wreathed in the smoke from his cigarette, without
hesitation I turned and shot without even focussing and caught the picture of
the entire production. After seeing the picture Sammy asked for the negative to
use on a new album. Unfortunately, the album never materialised because Sammy
Davis Jnr., died some time later.
I was very
sorry, not because the album didn't materialise, but because the world had lost
an irreplaceably talented human being.