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The Curious Incident of

Sabrina's 1956 Birkenhead

Sabrina - Stripped half-naked by a crowd of 4000!

At some point in 1956, a crowd-related dress-rending incident occurred. Whether it was in February, May or October is yet to be sorted, and whether it was a hardware store, tailor shop or cinema is still open to debate: but Sabrina was distraught by it...

15 October 1956 - Daily Mirror


SABRINA, television and stage "dumb blonde" was ill in bed with "shock" yesterday after a stampede of fans when her necklitne plunged — by accident.
She was coming out of a Birkenhead cinema after a personal appearance, when someone stepped on the train of her evening gown.
Both shoulder straps broke. A shrieking crowd of fans surged forward...

Her manager, Mr. David Scott-Atkinson said last night: "Sabrina pulled her mink stole round her though nearly all her charms were exposed.
"Worst of all, she slipped and hit her head on the car."
And Sabrina (her real name is Norma Sykes) said In her Liverpool hotel: "I feel awful. I want to go home to Mummy."
Later she left to see her mother in Blackpool.


BulletFebruary 1956? When she showed up to ceremonially open a Sheffield hardware store, four thousand people turned out to see her, resulting in a massive traffic jam. It turned into a near-riot when her dress strap broke.

According to a different story (QT, May 61), "she was attending a premier in Birkenhead and wearing a black velvet evening dress that fit her like a second skin. The crowd pressed close to admire the terrain and some lout stepped on the star's train. There was a warning sound of tearing fabric, followed by a sight for sore male eyes. Sabrina had been wearing nothing under the dress from the waist up, and her braless bosom sprang almost into full view. The heroine swooned at that point, and so did several sturdy lads among the onlookers. The bobbies had to be summoned to keep order."


Bullet13 May 1956? In another report from UP (found in the Beaver Valley Times, 14 May 1956), it was said,

"SHEFFIELD: Sabrina spent a terrifying hour Friday [11 May 1956] when a mob of youths tried to strip her at a store opening ceremony. A crowd of 4000 stamped and shouted as the blonde Sabrina, her 39-24-36 figure poured almost into a form-fitting dress, arrived to open a tailor shop.

Dozens of youths rushed her, knowing down women and children and clawing at her clothing. A generous portion of the dress was ripped away and Sabrina was bruised and scratched. Two persons fainted in the crush before police arrived to escort the cause of it all away.'It was the most terrifying hour of my life,' she said."

BulletOr was it 13 October 1956 - from the caption on the back of a Paul Popper photo found online...


Sabrina, Britain's TV Star, lost the top half of her skin-tight black velvet dress when she was mobbed by a shouting jostling crowd outside a cinema.
She had presented a motor scooter to a competition winner at a Birkenhead cinema on Saturday. As she left the crowd closed in on her.

She grabbed at the train of her dress which had a built-in bra, but someone stood on it. Someone else pushed her; there was a loud rip - and her figure was exposed to the waist. Sabrina screamed and fainted. Then came a rush.

Teddy Boys and women were pushed by the crowd behind and trampled on her.
There was a near riot as police and friends fought through the crowd to cover the over exposed Sabrina.

Yesterday she spent the day in bed suffering from shock. When she woke yesterday she said, "I just feel like going home to mother."

Sabrina in Shock!

Photo shows: A thoroughly scared Sabrina resting in bed yesterday at her Liverpool hotel.
"I just feel like going home to mother". 15 Oct 1956


Sir! 1957 reported...

Four thousand stampeded and shouted as the big-bosomed blonde arrived to open a tailor shop at Sheffield, England. Dozens of young men rushed her, knocking down women and children. Sabrina's form-fitting dress was torn and she was bruised and scratched.

Then at Birkenhead she took to her bed to recover from the shock of having too much of herself revealed in public. Sabrina was leaving a theatre when a crowd closed in. Someone stood on the train of her black velvet evening gown, skin-tight naturally. Someone else pushed her.

There was a ripping sound and for a moment Sabrina stood nude to the waist. Then she screamed and fainted. Police broke up a near riot. And well they might. Merrie old England hasn't seen anything like it since Anita Ekberg lost her dress in a London hotel - another sight to gladden the stout British male heart.


The Other Crowd Incident

27 February 1957 - Daily MirrorSabrina 1957 crowd

Mary went to see Sabrina - and fainted

LITTLE Mary Ryan gets a comforting hug from Sabrina (above) yesterday.
Mary, 11, was among a 5,000 crowd who went to see Sabrlna open a new department of a Wigan, Lanes store. But the surging crowd was too much for Mary. She fainted.
At LIVERPOOL where Sabrina opened a sweater department at a shop, crowds of teenagers mobbed her.
Some of them shouted that they did not believe the most vital or her 41-19-36 vital statistics.
The 3,000 crowd surged round Sabrina as she left the shop in Bold-street, sweeping aside a police cordon,
Sabrlna was pushed against a plate glass window and back into the shop. Seconds later, one of the crowd was pushed against ihe same window — and it shattered.
After trying to escape by another entrance — and failing — Sabrina walked to her car through an avenue of policemen.

It's funny how the crowd reduced from 5,000 to 3,000 within a couple of paragraphs! - Mark

See this version set in September 1956 Sheffield where it was a clothing store, and it ended with Sabrina in court again!

Was it February, May or October? At a cinema or a clothing/tailor shop? Or did a mob try to strip her in February, May and October at two different locations in Birkenhead. Answers on the back of an postcard to mark at please.

Page Created: 9 October 2011

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