Sammy Davis, Jr. and his Nikon SP

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by Karl K, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Karl K

    Karl K Member

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    Last month, I saw this 8x10 photo framed and behind glass hanging in a fast food restaurant in Las Vegas. It was in an awkward spot, so I had difficulty photographing it without having a lot of visible reflections.



    I think it's a Nikon SP with a 35mm f/1.8 Nikkor that Sammy Davis, Jr. is using. He's photographing Eddie Fisher and his new (slightly used, but still in fine condition) bride, Elizabeth Taylor.



    Sammy, Jerry Lewis, Roddy McDowall, and Dennis Hopper were pretty good actors/photographers from that era.
     

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  2. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    One wonders if there was much barrel distortion on her barrels.... Also this was before she choked on a chicken and had an emergency tracheostomy so you can see her neck.
    David
     
  3. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    Maybe I'm mis-seeing this, but it looks like he's holding a cigarette between his shutter finger and middle finger even as he takes the shot. When you're cool, you're cool.
     
  4. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Yep the masters could smoke and shoot and change flash bulbs, and load plates in their sleep.
     
  5. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Yes. I remember when Sammy, Frank, and the other 'Rat Pack' members were interested in photography. It seems they all bought Nikons and did their thing. Then they went on to other interests. It was a boost to photography though. When famous people do something, the general public gets interested.
    Too bad we don't see more of this today.
     
  6. CGW

    CGW Member

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  7. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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    Sammy also used a Rolleiflex quite a bit. He was no slouch as a photographer, and had unique access to some of the biggest celebrities of the day in unguarded moments. Burt Boyar did a wonderful book a few years ago featuring many of his photographs.
     
  8. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Thats the thing. Of course their photos are going to be very interesting, considering the access they have and the friends they keep.
     
  9. BobD

    BobD Member

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    Ring-a-ding-ding
     
  10. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    I remember seeing shots of The Beatles using Pentax Spotmatics on their 1964 tour of the U.S. I wonder if sales jumped after that.
     
  11. dehk

    dehk Member

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    Interesting share!
     
  12. Mackinaw

    Mackinaw Member

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    I guess he was quite the equipment freak. He used Nikon, Canon and Rollei. I found this passage in a review of one of his photo books:

    "He recalls Sammy’s obsession with the latest and best equipment. “Of course once I had a little education, Sammy once said, ‘I needed a new Nikon this and a Canon that, both with eighteen lenses and sixty-two filters. In terms of addiction, I think there is nothing more powerful than men’s toys. This may sound a little paranoid but I am positive that somewhere in Germany, in Japan, there are men awake in the middle of the night thinking, ‘Now Sammy Davis has an extra $50,000, let’s think of something he doesn’t have that we can sell him, the ultimate, the definitive… he’ll jump to be the first one to have it and we’ll get that $50,000.’ I am positive of that.’”

    Article here:

    http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/a...is-jr-black-and-white-on-the-silver-screen-2/
     
  13. Karl K

    Karl K Member

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    Notice that Sammy kept both eyes open as he shot.
    His left eye, of course, was blind.
    And he did have a cigarette neatly perched between his fingers as he pressed the shutter button.
    I wonder who took this photograph?
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
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  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I did not know he was into photography, only knew this photographic endeavour of him:

     
  16. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    Sammy lost his left eye in a car accident in 1954.
    Was this photo taken before or after the accident?
     
  17. darkroommike

    darkroommike Subscriber

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    Sammy had a major case of GAS and the funds to support it, he was also one of the fastest "Quick Draw" shooters in Hollywood.
     
  18. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Is that were that term "photo shoot out" comes from?
     
  19. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Fisher and Taylor married in 1959.
     
  20. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Member

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    As I recall, the "turning knob" (*) on his steering wheel hit him in the eye as he collided with a car that pulled out in front of him unexpectedly.

    As for the cigarette, obviously that's fill-flash.


    (*) these were decorative knobs, usually glass or plastic, that let you turn the steering wheel just by holding the knob and winding the wheel around. American cars for many years had steering ratios set so you'd have to turn the steering wheel around several times for simple turns. That has since stopped, I think, as I've never owned an American car.
     
  21. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Yes, but the proper name is Knicker-Knob or in some places it was called Suicide Knob. They are now outlawed in many places. I had one on my bike when I was a kid. I traded my jackknife for it from a kid at school. Yes, can you believe we had jackknives in school? Mine was glass with a good looking, scantly clothed blond imbedded in it. She looked like the ones you used to see in the filling stations pinned on the walls. I had it for about three weeks until my ma got a real close look at it. I had to take it off and give it to my dad. He's been gone for over 27 yrs now and I still haven't found where he hid it.
    Oh, and after the movie National Velvet I was in love with Liz. God, what young fellow wouldn't be?
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  22. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    he came a long way from when he
    was billed as "silent sam the dancing midget"
    as part of the the will mastin trio.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Those "turning knobs" made it possible for people with a missing or incapacitated arm to drive, and remained available for that purpose.
     
  24. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    Matt,
    Yes, there was a farmer just down the road from our place that lost his arm in a grain auger and he had a Knicker-Knob on his old Massey-Ferguson. He could wheel that old tractor just as good as any man with two arms. We had one on our old Farmall F-20, but that was just to give you enough leverage to turn the wheel 'cause it was one tough bugger to steer and turn. Back around 1932 when it was built power steering meant how strong your arms were. Just as a note: Two other camera buffs were Art Linkletter (who was a Kodak Stereo kind of guy) and Red Skelton. I think Red also collected cameras. I remember seeing a shot of Red holding the famous Fotron camera. I think Red also had an M-series Leica as a main camera.
     
  25. mrosenlof

    mrosenlof Member

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    Not just arms. In the late 70s and early 80s, at least, hand controls for a car for someone with incapacitated legs, steer with left hand on the knob, right hand was for throttle and break. I'm not sure what hand controls are like these days.
     
  26. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Subscriber

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    You don't need any controls these days. The fricken car will drive you around all by itself!