Tom Dreesen, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

tom-dreesenFrank  Sinatra’s longest running opening act was a fine comedian named Tom Dreesen, who preceded Frank on stage for the last fourteen years that Frank performed.  But before he was with Frank, Tom opened for Frank’s pal Sammy Davis Jr.

As a young comedian, Tom had a lot of material about being a White guy growing up in a Black neighborhood south of Chicago.  He knew Sammy would love the jokes, so he became determined to get on a TV show Sammy had, called Sammy and Company.  But Tom wasn’t having much luck until one day when Bill Cosby cancelled and they needed somebody fast.  Tom got on at the last minute, and sure enough, Sammy loved him. 

After the show, Sammy surprised Tom, saying “You’re a funny man.  You’re coming with me”.  Tom said “Coming with you?  Coming with you where?”  Sammy said “I’m playing some theaters in the East in a couple of months and you are going to be my opening act”.   So Tom got a lot more than just the TV talk show  booking he had wanted.  He says going on the road with Sammy was the break that catapulted him into the big leagues, where the biggest stars traveled, eventually leading to a job with one of the biggest stars of all.  

From Monty Aidem and

Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 1:29 AM  Leave a Comment  
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