In a celebratory kickoff to its 13th Bar/Bat Mitzvah year, the LA Jewish Film Fest held its opening night with a premiere of “Sammy Davis Jr. I’ve Gotta Be Me,” at the Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills. In the Q&A panel, following the film, moderator Stan Taffel spoke with the legendary performer’s son, Manny Davis; and Laugh In director George Schlatter.
Manny Davis stated, “this is a documentary
on a story that needs to be told, especially at a time in America when we all need to be working together.” In 1990 Sammy Davis Jr. was honored in a special 60th anniversary tribute. George Schlatter profoundly commented : “Times have changed since
Here come da judge! He was not just a singer he was a genius. Never one like him before and never after – this evening itself is a beautiful tribute.” Two books/memoirs of Sammy Davis Jr. ; just the titles themselves sum up his attitude and persona : “Why Me,” and “Yes I Can.” Comedian/co-star Tom Dreesen chimed in on the nostalgic discussion: “I can’t tell u how moved I was to work with him! This man was born to be in show business… and he paid his dues… The Jackie Robinson of show business.”
Sammy Davis Jr, whether singing his signature “Mr. Bojangles,” or “I’ve Gotta Be Me,” was a true legend in his own right. This film carries on his legacy and it’s a story that must be told.