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Transcript of interview with Bobby Morris by Cork Proctor, September 7, 2004







This interview conducted by Cork Proctor and is part of the Arnold Shaw Collection at UNLV University Libraries Special Collections. It has been added to the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project with Mr. Morris?s permission. In this conversation, Morris reflects upon his career, how he got started as a musician, and the wide range of influential artists he has worked with over the years, as a drummer, musical director and talent manager. Stories include playing with Louis Prima, live and on his albums; serving as Elvis? musical director; filling in for Frank Sinatra?s drummer; entertaining Howard Hughes; and playing at President John F. Kennedy?s inauguration.

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Bobby Morris oral history interview, 2004 September 07. OH-02636. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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AN INTERVIEW WITH BOBBY MORRIS An Oral History Conducted by Cork Proctor Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ?Southern Nevada Jewish Community Digital Heritage Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV ? University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Barbara Tabach, Claytee D. White Editors and Project Assistants: Maggie Lopes iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader?s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE When he was ten years old, Bobby Morris (born Boruch Moishe Stempelman) immigrated from Wilno, Poland to Brooklyn, New York in 1937. His passion for drumming was ignited soon after, and he began shining shoes to pay for drumming lessons from Henry Adler. At the age of thirteen, he Morris got his first gig playing at the Musicians Union in the Catskill Mountains during the summer. He soon develops a career playing jazz around town with different artists while simultaneously studying at the Manhattan School of Music. In 1950, Morris moved to Las Vegas to play in the orchestra at the Last Frontier Hotel and Casino, working with artists like Liberace and Ronald ?Ronnie? Reagan. Over the next several years, he had an exciting and distinguished career as a jazz musician, playing in lounges, on studio albums and even at a presidential inauguration, with artists like Louis Prima and Keely Smith, Judy Garland, Eddie Fisher, and eventually with Elvis Presley as his musical director. In addition, Morris started his own agency ? the Bobby Morris Agency ? and managed acts like Robert Goulet and Keely Smith. This interview conducted by Cork Proctor and is part of the Arnold Shaw Collection at UNLV University Libraries Special Collections. It has been added to the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project with Mr. Morris?s permission. In this conversation, Morris reflects upon his career, how he got started as a musician, and the wide range of influential artists he has worked with over the years, as a drummer, musical director and talent manager. Stories include playing with Louis Prima, live and on his albums; serving as Elvis? musical director; filling in for Frank Sinatra?s drummer; entertaining Howard Hughes; and playing at President John F. Kennedy?s inauguration. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Bobby Morris September 7, 2004 by Cork Proctor in Las Vegas, Nevada Preface?????????????????????????????????..?..iv Mentions first Las Vegas gigs, at Last Frontier, Sahara, after hours at Black Magic; playing timbales, congas and bongos in New York City before moving to Las Vegas. Talks about getting recruited by Sam Butera to join Louis Prima?s band; playing his shuffle style for him; recording albums with him; playing shows around the country, including The Ed Sullivan Show???.1-7 Continues talking about working with Louis Prima; the demise of Louis Prima and Keely Smith as personal and musical duo; challenges to working with Louis Prima. Discusses going to work for Keely Smith as solo act. Shares memories of Buddy Rich; touring with him, and George Kawaguchi, in Japan. Joins Bobby Darwin?s show; leads to playing short gig with Sinatra?8-21 Reflects upon introduction to music as a child in New York City; shining shoes to pay for lessons with Henry Adler; joining union, Local 802. Remembers first paid gig in Catskill Mountains. More about working with Louis Prima. Talks about working for the relief band when in between gigs in Las Vegas. Shares story of playing with Danny Thomas. Discusses serving as entertainment director for Harvey?s in Lake Tahoe; success as booking agent..?22-30 Recounts experience of playing for Howard Hughes. Mentions Stan Levy; Dick Foster; working with entertainment directors Mo Lewis, Herbie Victors, Bill DeAngelis; Jack Entratter. Discusses booking agency business. Mentions playing for Eddie Fisher; playing on The Ed Sullivan Show, and one show where parents were in audience?.??????????..31-37 Reflects on playing in the Latin Quarter, for people like Peter Lawford, John F. Kennedy; playing at President Kennedy?s inauguration. Discusses how became Elvis Presley?s musical director at the International Hotel and Casino, and, at length, about serving in that role. Stories also include Sammy Shore, Art Vasquez, Sonny West, Colonel Parker????????..38-49 vi Shares stories involving Mafia, including one about Chick Keeney and Buddy Rich; another with Eddie Fisher and Sam Giancana in Mexico; receiving gift from Tony Accardo?s son Jerry. More stories involving friend Jackie Gayle, at Hugh Hefner?s house; Ben Slutsky; Liberace. Talks about how Garwood Van recruited him to Las Vegas and their first gigs, including with Ted Fio Rito??????????????????????????????????...50-56 Talks about early work in New York City, working with lots of name jazz players; getting job with Sammy Kaye. Tells story about becoming involved in representing a man falsely representing himself as Elvis Presley Jr. Talks about representing Elvis impersonator Johnny Harra; Joe Julian. Discuss interviewer Cork Proctor?s career. Mentions more about relationship with Buddy Rich; Jim McDonald; Georgie Carr. Comments on Abracadabra show, working to bring show to Las Vegas??????????????????????????..57-69 Mentions current gigs with jazz group; booking Louis Prima in Reno at the Resorts International; beef between Sam Butera and Frank Sinatra. More about John F. Kennedy, Elvis????70-77 Index........................................................................................................................................78-80 vii 1 Here we are with Bobby Morris in his building on East Sahara. Today is Tuesday and it's voting day in Vegas. It's Cork Proctor about to interview Elvis' conductor, Elvis' drummer, Elvis' everything and a guy with a hell of a background and also a hell of a drummer. We're going to cut up some stories over the last forty-five years. When I first met Bobby, I think he was at the Sahara with Louis and I was the lifeguard. Does that ring a bell, 1955? Nineteen fifty-five. Was Harvey on the gig then? Did you replace Harvey or he replaced you? He replaced me, and then I replaced him again. I left to go with the Jodimars. Right. Joey, Dick and Marshall. That's right. I was there for about five or six years with Louis and Keely, and then the Jodimars offered me the job because it paid more money. So I left. Then the Jodimars broke up because they were all chiefs and no Indians. Did you work Harold's Club with them? I worked Harold's Club. That's probably where we met. [Pause in recording] We're talking about the Jodimars and Harold's Club. I remember that stripper. I had a wonderful time with her. Her name was Elenita Patia. Do you remember her? She was going with Marshall Page. Several things have crossed my mind on the way over here to interview you. Among them was that your reputation came far before we met. Andy Thomas used to tell me you were probably one of the best timbale and Latin players in New York City in the late forties, 2 early fifties, which is high marks. Yes. I used to play timbales and congas and bongos at the Latin Casino in New York. I would see them with (Freaky Campos). In fact, (Tito Cante) would come in, and there was Chia Pozo and Chano Pozo and we would have a session, all rhythm; I would play timbales and everybody would take off like a certain...until then they got tired. Then it would be my turn; I would take off and they would play kind of for me. I came to Las Vegas, and Ted Fio Rito was looking for a drummer and I didn't have a card. [It was] October 2, 1950. I came with Garwood Van. You must have been eight, nine years old at least. That's right. I was eleven. Yeah, right. I came with Garwood Van at the Last Frontier. We played for all the shows. It was a show and it was an eighteen-week engagement. Ted Fio Rito, at the end of eighteen weeks, was looking for a drummer, but I needed to have a card. He auditioned every drummer and they were unacceptable. But being that I did play Latin, they had me audition in front of the union board. They would come down to make sure that I wouldn't take somebody else's gig. He hired me and I stayed on with them for a couple of years and did all these shows at that time?Sophie Tucker, Ted Lewis, Harry Richman, Liberace and Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was doing a stand-up with song and dance. Then I stayed on in Las Vegas and started doing jazz things at the Black Magic. Paradise and Tropicana. At Paradise and Tropicana. Everybody from all the big bands would come in. Tommy Dorsey was in town at the time, and Benny Goodman and Count Basie, and Harry James was always at the Flamingo. Stan Kenton would come in. Cy Coleman Trio would come in and play with us. I had a group at the Sahara called Jack Prince and the Paupers. 3 I remember him. He was huge. Yes, he was big. He was a singer with Harry James. I put a group together?(Dee Locito) on bass, (Ruby Egen) on piano, (Jimmy Cook) on tenor, and myself. It was a wonderful little group. Great players. Everything was [voicing musical beat] just a swing. As we're there indefinitely, Louis Prima came in with Keely Smith, but he came in with a group. They were playing these big band arrangements, broken down from the big band charts. What year is this, Bobby? This is 1953. He came in with that. Sam Butera and "Little Red" were not on the band yet. But he had Phil something on drums. They finally carried him off because he was a stone head. The saxophone player was playing violin and saxophone. It did okay. But it didn't swing. Nothing happened well enough for them to call them back. I believe Stan Irwin was the entertainment director then. Yes, he was. Milton Prell was the owner. Louis and Keely were great, but nothing was happening. He came back a second time and I was still there. He came back with Sam Butera on tenor, "Little Red" on trombone, Willie McCumber on piano, Dick Johnson on drums, and Amato Rodriquez on bass. Of course, it was much better, but there was still something lacking. So Sam started coming down to the Black Magic to sit in and he started romancing me to come on with the band. He says, "Hey, Louis Prima wants to talk to you." I said, "What for?" He says, "Well, about coming..." I said, "I'm happy. Hey, listen, I'm making a hundred and fifty dollars a week. I'm happy doing what I'm doing." And I'm enjoying playing and everybody is like 4 the jazz gig in town. So he said, "Well, please come down and talk to him. What have you got to lose?" I came down and met with Louis Prima in his home, and he kind of hypnotized me. When he talks, it puts you in a trance. He said, "Kid, listen, we're going to be called the comedy hour/comedy act of Frank Sinatra." Ed Sullivan. The Ed Sullivan Shows, the Dean Martin, Dinah Shore every two weeks. He asked, "How much are you making now?" He says, "I'll give you two hundred." It was a lot of money, fifty dollars more because the scale in town was a hundred and ten dollars. So I took it. But I said, "I have an idea and I'd like to"?, I had worked with Willie McCumber in New York in the Catskill Mountains. I was with Latin then; he was with a show band. He was a trumpet player then, but he became an excellent piano player. Amato Rodriguez was a big bass player, but still nothing was happening in the rhythm section and they wanted to make a change with Dick Johnson. Dick Johnson was a sweet guy, but...What can I say? They wanted me to come on and it was fifty dollars a week more. I didn't want to replace him, but they were going to replace him. I went with Willie and Amato and said, "I've got this idea." Before then, the shuffle thing was on the closed high, had those two handles [making beat]. It was okay, but it was kind of like Henry Busse type of shuffle. I said, "I have an idea and I'd like to try something." I told Billy, "[Making beat].? "Figure in [making beat]. You?re going to continue forward." I said, "I'll do a shuffle with my left hand, but when it goes to two hands, I'll do it with one hand and I'll do time with the right hand." So we started the shuffle thing by ourselves as a rhythm section and we played that for Louis Prima and he went crazy. 5 It started off with "I'm Just a Gigolo," nice and slow everything, to ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding to "When Your Smiling" and "The Sheik of Araby," up tempo, and "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You," and whatever have you. You had the chops to play it. It was hard and I had to work at it. I had to practice and work at it to do it because I created the first shuffle and now I had to play it at whatever tempo he wanted. I couldn't back out. It became very exciting and we recorded. We went to Los Angeles to do the Capitol album, "The Wildest!" From "The Wildest!" there's tunes now being used in many movies, like all the Robert De Niro movies, Mr. Saturday Night with Billy Crystal, Analyze This, Analyze That. The Elf just came on and they had a soundtrack with Sharon Stone. Just numerous. I get a residual check about every month. It's hard to believe he's been dead twenty-six years, isn't it? Yes, very much. Anyhow, it created a sound. It created a feel. It created an excitement that I don't think anything has come up since then? "Busa Nova" would be the exception. ?to create that kind of an excitement where you have everybody in the audience clapping either on one and three or two and four; it didn't matter. They just went crazy because it just kept building and building. Louis Prima, not being the best technical trumpet player in the world, was a tremendous rhythm player. [Making beat] I was just swing between Louis and Sam and "Little Red," and now we have the rhythm thing going. You got to play. We had the rhythm thing going. By the way, I picked up a cymbal in Sam Butera brother's backyard in New Orleans; it was hidden in sand and had been there maybe for fifteen years. His 6 brother, ?Little Joe,? said, "I've got the right cymbal for you." When I got the cymbal out, you would hit it and [making noise], all kinds of overtones. I took about fifty sizzles on it and that cymbal became very famous. Every drummer from Shelly Manne and Jack Sterling with Wes Brown and Shelly Manne. It had the right definition now with [making noise] getting the sound. Of course, Louis liked that bass drum thing. The bottom end, between the bass drum and the high hat and the snare drum, was always great. Yes. Is that lick called the Flam Tap? What is that called? I know there's a term for it. I think you and I talked about it once?On the shuffle. The shuffle would start at eight-sixteenths notes. [Making beat] Against time [making beat]. However, the two and four must come together at the exact same time to get that [making beat], to get that feel. In rhythm, in time, in monotony there is swing of when you don't vary from the time. A lot of drummers would do a lot of fills. They're busy. Every time they get busy doing something it takes way from the time. So we had the time thing going on all the recordings and everywhere we went, as you know, Cork, because you're one of the historians, one of the classics, and certainly you were here at that particular time and saw it happen. I saw a lot of great stuff. Yes. From that point on, it took off and we started traveling and doing all the shows that he said. And Louis wouldn't fly? He would not fly, so he'd have to drive. There was one town we got him to fly to, but we got him 7 stoned; we got him drunk. It was in San Francisco. Then when he woke up and he realized?it was coast to coast and we stopped in Chicago?he was on the plane, he got off and he hired a cab to drive him to Las Vegas. That's funny. Yes. It was amazing. Then we went and did the Moulin Rouge in Hollywood, the Copacabana in New York, and we started doing The Ed Sullivan Shows. Ed Sullivan became one of the biggest fans. He was there every night at the Copacabana and he had us do more time than anybody. I was amazed; I didn't realize how many shows I did until somebody came to the Showboat when I had that New Orleans jazz band there. They said, "If you'll let us record 'Closer Walk,' I'll give you something that you'll be very happy with." I said, "You don't have to give me anything; just go ahead and record it." But after?he did record it?he brought this tape and it was done before they had VHS tape. He brought the tape over and on it was eight Ed Sullivan Shows. Kinescope. Kinescope. They took it off kinescope and they put it on VHS later on. It was eight Ed Sullivan Shows and it was wonderful. I'll give you a tape; you will really enjoy it because it just captures all the excitement on television. I didn't realize the impact we were getting until I came back to Las Vegas and every lounge group in the world was playing...copied off the album. Yes. I was working with Kaye Stevens and she said, "I like that sound of Bobby Morris." I said, "Okay, I can do that." I never did it as well as you did, but I was adequate, and then the guys that replaced me. But I think the power came from doing it night after night after night because we used to walk in and go, "He must warm up for two hours before he goes to work." Because you can't walk up there cold and start playing those tempos. Your arms 8 would fall off. No, you can?t. I did about an hour. But later, when Louis Prima and Keely Smith broke up?because we worked at the place in New Jersey, The Latin Casino. It sat twenty-two hundred people and there was twenty-two hundred people every night. Here is a story I think that you're going to enjoy. This was the beginning of the breakup of Louis Prima and Keely Smith. Louis and Keely had a chemistry going second to none. It was one of those that happens once every ten or twenty years. We're working the Latin Casino. There was a line of girls, too, that would open the show, kind of like the Muriel Landers dancers years ago at the Flamingo. Barry Ashton, bigger hats. After the show?there was (John Navy) and I think (Luciano) and myself?we drive to the motel where we're staying. Every night we're staying there and we're just talking about everything. Here comes Louis Prima with a girl, and sitting in the corner in the dark, he's making out with this girl and we're watching. Nobody's going to say anything. Right. Nobody's going to say anything. You need the gig. Right. Right after he pulled up and he's making out with the girl, here pulls up Keely Smith in a Corvette. She jumps out of the car and she starts pulling on the girl's hair and pulling her head. She's pissed off. The girl said, "What are you mad at me for? Blame it on him." Whatever. She didn't show up the next night at the Latin Casino and we had to finish the engagement without her. That was the end of Keely Smith; she left. I remained with Louis. I had come back. I left the first time?I was there maybe four or 9 five years?I left the first time and went with the group called The Jodimars because they were paying me a hundred and fifty dollars a week more than what I was making with Louis. And Louis was silly to let you go. At that time, I was making three hundred and fifty, which was a lot of money. They offered me a partnership, five hundred, and they were going to Harold's Club and the Sands. Lake Tahoe. So I left and Harvey Lang and (Cliff Ride)? there was a couple of drummers that came on and both were good. Then something happened. They had the car wreck with the guitar player Bobby Robertson. Harvey clipped a car. In about '58? Is that when you came back? Right. Something happened and I'm back in town and I get a call from Sam. I left The Jodimars because it wasn't happening and I was embarrassed, frankly. Well, it was beneath your standard of playing. I was embarrassed because it just wasn't happening entertainment-wise and music-wise. I left and the group broke up because everybody wanted to be a leader. I came back to Las Vegas and got a call from Sam. "Hey, Bobby, would you like to come back?" I said, "Would I like to come back? Sure." I came back and stayed a few more years. It was a lot of fun playing with the group. Was Louis tough to work for? The reason I'm asking you that is not to dredge up old bad memories, but I think there was a rumor going around that you and Louis didn't talk for about three months. He was pissed off about something and you guys had a beef. Right. But he liked your playing so much, he didn't fire you. Thank you for bringing that up. Let me tell you what happened. We did a thing up at Lake Tahoe, 10 "The Wild Show," and it was a movie. Were you at the Calneva? No. We were at Harrah's. We did a movie on the thing. We were all playing and all kind of people are around by the lake and all that, excitement and a lot of fun. To put it in the movie, we had to go to Universal Studios in Hollywood. There was like Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds, a whole bunch of people who were signed to Universal at the time. He gave us all earphones to listen to and on it, like this [making beat]. It was click, click, click, click, one, three, one, three, click, click. Everybody's conception of that click was different. So who's he going to blame it on? The easiest one to blame it on is the drummer because that's the one he could understand. Of course. I got very disturbed and we had some words and we didn't talk for about two months. Every time we were at the Sahara, he would pass by. I had the big single and his big belly would pass me by, not talking to me. Then finally he started talking to me. Then we went into Hollywood to do a recording of "5 Months, 2 Weeks, 2 Days," which is, by the way, going to be in a movie, a Christmas movie that's coming out. In the recording, he wanted me to play brushes. So I played brushes [making beat]. Right in between the brushes he wanted me to drop the brushes and pick up the sticks in one beat. In one beat. At that tempo. At that tempo. I'm playing [making beat] and I'm supposed to drop the brushes and pick up the sticks in one beat. He comes over and starts yelling to me. I said, "Listen. Get Shelly Manne, Alvin Stoller, get anybody you want. Let them come and play brushes and drop it and pick up sticks in one beat." He said that I kicked over the drums, but I didn't. But what I did do is I said, "Listen, let me play it with sticks very softly [making beat] on the closed high hat, then open up a 11 little bit." We did one take and it was perfect. And that pissed him off because you knew more than he did. That pissed him off and for the next two months he didn't talk to me again, maybe three months. So he didn't talk to me and he would pass by. It was a little disturbing, him not talking to me. But I said, "It's better this way." The second part of the rumor was that Louis, because of his voracious appetite, did a lot of farts up there, and purposefully he directed at lot them towards you. Somebody said that he would back up and just crank one out. They said Bobby is sitting back there and his eyes are running because Louis has had peppers and salami. That's right. But listen to this. When he finally started talking to me, it was a night that it was absolutely? Perfect night. ?everything happens. Sammy Davis and Frank Sinatra, everybody was in the audience. The band was smoking. Smoking. He introduces everybody. This time, before for months he'd go, "And Bobby Morris on drums." Then he introduced me. He said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I want you to meet the most improved drummer in America." What a funny thing to say. That went on. That ended, as I said; we were at Harrah's. I gave notice because Keely was offering me at least twice or maybe two and a half times as much to go with her for a couple of years and she had every job lined up that we did with Louis and Keely. Did you know they were making fifty thousand dollars a week at the DI? It's in the book I'm going to loan you. 12 One of the reasons that...I was going to leave. Going to go back to The Jodimars. No. We were at the Sahara. Now they're going into the DI. He said, "Well, I'm going to give you all two and a half times what you're making. We were making three hundred and fifty a week. So two and a half times is eight hundred and seventy-five dollars a week. It was like seven nights a week and we had to dance with the girls and I did a drum solo. The elevator would leave with the shadows on the screen. And we're dancing. Donn Arden did the choreography. I saw it. It was a rickshaw. Somebody rolled in a rickshaw. That's right. We broke all the records, Judy Garland's record, everybody that was at the Desert Inn in the main showroom. At the end of the week?I was making three fifty, right??I get a check. How much do you think it was? Four fifty. Four hundred. Oh, Louis. Four hundred. He was the cheapest person on earth. He doesn't come across good in the book, either. No. He was not a nice person. Tough guy. [Pause in recording] That night. Said, "Goodbye, Louis." Including me. He told Sam to scrabble and "Little Red." Everybody was leaving. He lied to you. 13 Right. He called me in. He knew he could take and replace the others. [End Tape 1, Side A] This is the B side with Bobby Morris. It's still Tuesday, Election Day, and we're having a great time telling some old stories. Bobby, of course, is a consummate drummer, entertainment director, close, personal friend of Elvis. We're winding up here with the end of Louis. So your total time with Louis from years to years one more time. I started about '53. I was with him about five years, till about '58. Then I left for maybe a year and a half, and he had a couple of drummers that came on. Then I went back in about '59, and stayed for a couple more years until about '61 or '62. I was at Harrah's in Lake Tahoe and I got a call from Keely Smith. I told you that they had broken up. Yes. Keely offered me unheard of money at the time; I guess it was something like twelve hundred a week, which was terrific. She was making it and she wasn't afraid to spend it. That's right. Plus she knew you were going to show up every night, sober and play the shit out of her charts. That's why she was paying you well. Right. I proceeded in giving my notice to Sam and Louis, but I made the mistake by telling them that I was leaving and going with Keely, which was not very smart. But I tried to be truthful with them. I said, "Listen, this job isn't going to be for a few months yet, but I'll stay with you until we do Las Vegas and until you get a new drummer and help you out. They fired me that night. 14 Yes. Louis was very petty. Yes. They fired me that night and I didn't even get a two weeks' notice, after eight years. Was Sam doing the firing then or was Louis doing it? It was Louis. Sam was just one of the musicians. Louis created the name Sam Butera and the Witnesses, as he created Keely Smith, because he was a very smart businessman. There would be Louis Prima, then he would put Louis Prima and Keely Smith, and then it would be Louis Prima with Keely Smith and Sam Butera and the Witnesses. So now when he was going to go into the Desert Inn and he wanted fifty thousand a week, he said, "Well, you're not just getting Louis Prima. You're getting Louis Prima, Keely Smith, Sam Butera and the Witnesses." All our names were identified on the marquee. I've got a brochure I could share with you. We were going to get two and a half times as much and certainly we deserved it because they were making fifty thousand a week and we were working seven nights a week. Two shows? Eight and twelve? Two shows a night. They had dinner shows then, didn't they? Two shows a night, seven nights a week. Donn Arden taught us how to dance with the girls. We would come down and dance with the girls, too. Everyone was featured and all that. It was a great time. None of us knew that it was going to end. We all thought?and I speak for all the musicians and guys including Shecky and Herb Jeffries that I've interviewed. They all said the same thing?we couldn't believe it when it was over; what happened? It was wonderful times. It was tremendous times. I stayed on with Keely and we did a couple of years; we played all the ones that we did with [Louis]. Unfortunately, Keely was very good, but 15 the chemistry was not there because there was something missing? There was nobody to bounce off of. ?as there was missing when Keely left Louis. There was a tremendous hole. Keely tried to do the things by herself. We worked all the rooms, Copacabana. The Latin Quarter, the Latin Casino, everything. Every room. Moulin Rouge in Hollywood. Everything that we did with Louis. But we did like one time on everything. They were spoiled, too, because they were used to seeing the two of them. But, god, she's a good singer. I listen to the things she recorded with Frank Sinatra four years ago. She is tremendous. She just did an album with a studio band in Hollywood, and it was just wonderful. And Keely is seventy, sixty-eight, sixty-nine? Keely is in her seventies, maybe seventy-two, seventy-three. But Keely left and I stayed with her a couple of years and then that ended and she signed with Frank Sinatra's (local with trees). She called me up and they flew me to Hollywood to do an album called ?That Old Black Magic.? On the album was everything that we did with Louis and Keely, but she was doing it on her own with a Hollywood studio band. (Shirley Sharock, Al Casino, Bonnie Kessel, Jim Andragon, Frank Russell) All the best players in Hollywood were on this album. We opened up and here I am with a suitcase and I go into the studio, and Shelly Manne and Alvin Stoller are assigned to the studio on staff. They've got to do something because they're on the thing. And we're opening with (Rain is Smiling) [making beat], the whole thing. I keep hearing in back of me, "Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit." And I didn't know why, like if they were liking it or if they were pissed off or something. 16 Which is very distracting to have somebody sitting behind you. That's right. They're playing their cow bell, some stupid thing. A nonessential thing just so that they would get paid because they have to pay them anyhow. I got off after that medley and I said, "Shelly, what's wrong?" He says, "How the fuck do you do that and live? How can you do what you're doing and survive?" We used to all come down and watch you because you were a great role model. It's like going to watch Charlton Heston as an actor. We would sit there. I remember (Dick Revere) when he took my place with Kaye Stevens. He's still around. Yes, he's still around somewhere. He owns an International House of Pancakes or something. Yes, they were at the Latin Casino, and Dick was a good player. He was playing drums. Luckily he saw the end of the business coming before a lot of us did and he got out. He is a charming man. Yes. I saw him a couple of months ago. Anyway, we would go there and there were or four other guys in town. We would go down and watch. I would just say, "Man, that's incredible." The big thing is that for the unknowing it's impressive to play all that shit, but if you don't play all the right time behind it...Danny Barcelona one time I remember calling up Marty Napoleon and saying, "How can Louis Armstrong play with that drummer? That fucking time was everywhere, except [knocking on the table] and it's so weird." Marty said, "Yo