Winners » April 2006 Casino Wins » April 28, 2006.

Evonne W. Told Her Story - 'You sure do have a bony butt!'.

Evonne W FL "During the early months of 1951 when I was only 17 years old, my older girlfriend called to tell me a new vaudeville act was appearing at one of Spokane, WA.'s private clubs and asked me if I'd like to go. We were both singers back then and always interested in new talent that we could pick up some good tips from. She was of age so she had the memberships that would get us in and I looked older so never had any problems gaining entrance to these clubs. I answered positively and since we had no cars we donned our finery and took the city bus downtown. The Cougar Club was above the Washington Street Meat Market so we had to climb a flight of stairs which lead to a blank door where she rang the tiny buzzer and the little slit opened and we heard a male voice ask to see her membership card. She displayed it and the door was opened to a fairly small, nicely furnished night club."

"Since she knew the owner we asked for a table front and center bordering the small dance floor. It was a tiny round table with just two chairs. The room was dimly lit in night club fashion, but the slot machines bordering two walls also illuminated the room. The raised stage was small but all stages in the clubs were that way back then. Mixed drinks were 65 cents and they were served in a large glass that if sipped could last the whole evening. We anxiously waited for the show to begin and heard a drum roll, the curtains opened and three gentlemen appeared all fired up to do their act. My mouth dropped open in an unlady like fashion as I watched and listened in amazement while the three sang, danced and performed. I could not believe what we were witnessing so I leaned to my girl friend and whispered "Can we have them join our table during the intermission? We need to talk with them." She signaled the owner and he said he would pass the word to the group. We just could not believe the voices, deliverance of a song, the wild dancing and humorous jokes these three sent out to the packed house."

"Intermission arrived and sure enough they appeared at our small table. Two of the gentleman managed to scrounge a couple of chairs leaving the smallest with no place to sit. So being quick witted, I scooted my chair back, patted my lap and said "Come on....sit here." So he, indeed, sat on my lap much to the crowd's amusement. We all laughed and began chatting. We told them we could not believe they hadn't been 'discovered' yet for they were absolutely superb!! They thanked us & asked if we had a particular song we'd like to hear etc. After about 10 minutes I said to my lap partner "You sure do have a bony butt!" The laughter brought the house down and they stood up to return for their last half of the show."

"Their performance stayed with me for many years. Some time later an Autobiography book was written titled "Yes, I Can" by Sammy Davis Jr. and he mentioned in his book having to climb the stairs to the Cougar Club and enter through the kitchen for he, his father and uncle were not allowed through the front door because they were black. As a child I was raised not to see colors of various peoples skin for we lived in an area founded by the Indians. Many, many years later we were passing through Las Vegas, NV. and there on the Marquee in huge letters was "Sammy Davis Jr.". I told my husband we just had to get tickets to see his show. "

"Through some connections we managed to do just that. While waiting for the show to begin I asked the waiter if he could get a message backstage to Sammy's dressing room for me. He told me to write it on a napkin and he would do what he could. Several minutes later he returned and said "Follow me" please. He picked up our drinks and lead us to a front row table in front of the stage. I could not believe this kindness extended to us. Drum roll, bright lights came on, heavy velvet curtains opened as Sammy stepped out on the stage in full song. Older, fuller voice and still filled with all that energy. Tears came to my eyes when I realized all his earlier struggles were finally discovered and he made the 'big time'. He sang a few sets & much to my surprise all of a sudden I had a spot light shinning on me as I heard Sammy say "Would you please escort that lady to the stage?" I did the normal thing...pointed to myself and said "me?" as everyone laughed. He gave me a big hug and explained to the audience that it was loyal encouraging fans that make a star. He said "This lady is truly a link to my past. A waiter handed me a napkin while I was in my dressing room that said 'The bony butt lady is in the audience....break a leg.' "

"He explained the incident with perfect recall and brought the house down. He thanked me again for believing in him and my loyal support and asked what song I'd like to hear. Without hesitation I answered "For Once in My Life". I returned to my table quite shaken and bathed myself in that beautiful rendition only Sammy knew how to give. And THAT is my Five minute claim to fame...appearing on a Las Vegas stage with Sammy Davis Jr."

Source: Fortune Lounge

Tags: Evonne W, Vegas Story, Sammy Davis.

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