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Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

The '66' Sabrina Souvenir Book

(1955)

Sabrina
Sabrina

Who is Sabrina - what is she? This might well be a suitable sub-heading for any article on the girl who became one of England's best-known TV stars without having spoken one line of dialogue. She is living proof that "silence is golden," and opinion is that physical attributes such as hers make speech quite superfluous anyway.

Sabrina is hardly the sort of person who could go unnoticed for very long

When Sabrina - then Norma Ann Sykes - came to London from her native Blackpool [she came to London from Blackpool, but she was native to Stockport - Ed.] in 1954, she could have had little idea of how far she was going to travel in so short a time. Sabrina, however, is hardly the sort of person who could go unnoticed for very long, and she soon became much in demand as a photographic model, her blonde charm often being seen decorating the pages of the better known men's magazines.

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It was at one of these modelling sessions that a photographer suggested she contacted theatrical agent Bill Watts, who has a reputation for promoting teen-age talent, and this advice was duly taken by Sabrina. Mr Watts, who obviously knows a good thing when he sees one, took one look at the lass from Blackpool and forthwith placed her name on his books.
About this time TV producer Bill Ward was looking for a girl for the "Beauty Spot" feature in Arthur Askey's TV series Before Your Very Eyes, and when Sabrina's photograph was sent in by her agent, along with 23 others, he decided his search was over. The rest is history.
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[Gotta say this is one of the least flattering shots of She Of the Blessed Bosom.
She bears a spooky resemblance to a serial killer - Mark.]
There was no possible doubt as to whether TV audiences liked Sabrina - the answer was in the hundreds of fan-letters, including an average of fifty marriage proposals - received by her every week, and she soon found that answering her mail could easily become a full time job.
[In December 2016, I found the original version of the above photo, with its al fresco background intact.]
Sabrina
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"On the left, Sabrina as she appears in her first film, Stock Car. Right, a stage appearance at the Chiswick Empire."
Sabrina, however, was determined not to remain just another dumb blonde. She applied herself with her usual north-country vigour to singing lessons during the day, elocution lessons during the evening, with lessons in deportment fitted somewhere in between.
A sixteen-week variety tour followed her TV series, and this had her topping the bill after only four hours rehearsal! This tour was a big disappointment to Sabrina, however, for she soon discovered that all she was required to do was to drape herself decoratively against the side of the stage while cross-talk comedians wove their gags around her.

A squeaky, Cockney voice had been dubbed in

After this Sabrina decided to concentrate on films and television, and is at the moment filming in Ramsbottom Rides Again with old friend Arthur Askey. This will not be Sabrina's first film, for a small part was specially written-in for her in Stock Car, although this again was a big disappointment to her.
Anxious to show the public that she had a voice, and knew how to use it, imagine Sabrina's feelings when she found that in the finished film a squeaky, Cockney voice had been "dubbed in" in place of her own soft, Lancashire tones. Let's hope that Ramsbottom Rides Again, which will mark Jack Hylton's first venture into film-making will prove to be a little more gratifying to her.
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'Just another wistful woman'
Sabrina in the sun
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RELAXATION - Or, a well-filled deckchair

The girl who has launched a thousand shops

Sabrina
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EARLY DAYS
Those were the days, not as long ago as that
It might well be said of Sabrina that she is the girl who has launched a thousand shops. Her personal appearances have been many - ranging from presenting prizes at a Garden Fete to opening a furniture store in Leeds. On the latter occasion there were so many people eager to catch a glimpse of the girl with the figure that sets men gasping and girls reaching for the exercise chart, that mounted police had to be called out to control the crowds.
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- when Sabrina was a photographers' and fashion model.
The law had to step in again at Newcastle when, while opening a self-service store, Sabrina threw photographs of herself at the crowd - and started a minor riot! For these appearances Sabrina can command anything up to £100 [£2410 in 2017] and as one company director said, she's worth every penny of it.
Sabrina
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modelling pretty hats and cute sweaters
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'Just as she was about to utter her first word on TV, Arthur Askey cut in on Sabrina - and from then on she said nothing at all until the end of the series. She remained wholly and silently bewitching.'

A home girl at heart

Still a home girl at heart, one of the first things Sabrina did on finding herself in the star-income-bracket was to negotiate for a house for herself and her mother and father. Being plunged headlong into the hectic whirl of show business has made her doubly appreciative of the comforts and amenities of home-life.
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'Someone ca-alls! Could be Steve Cochrane [sic], seen here dating Sabrina.'
Sabrina
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PUP'S LUCK
A pup can be a lucky dog -

That's plain to you and me,
Well, look what happens when he meets
Sabrina by the sea!

Since her meteoric rise to fame Sabrina has also acquired a new car, a mink stole and a costume jewellery factory [see below]. Designing costume jewellery has long been a hobby of Sabrina's, and one of the less discussed activities of this much discussed young lady is her frequent trips to a home for disabled girls, where she instructs the inmates in the art of designing and making jewellery.

Herself a victim of polio for four years, Sabrina knows only too well how time can hang heavily on the hands of those confined to bed and wheel-chair.


From the Daily Mirror, 1955Sabrina fashion ad

STARS IN HER EYES?

Sabrina
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Dreaming, perhaps, of what the future has in store for her. It should be plenty!

Miss Sykes has certainly arrived

Sabrina has indeed travelled a long way since those early days - from pictures in men's magazines to a picture in the Royal Academy. Her portrait, painted by the famous cartoonist and artist, W.M. Hutson (Hut) is a possible for this year's Academy.

31 Dec 2012 - Hut's grandson, Jonathan, sent a great photo of Hut and Sabrina and the portrait!

W.M. Hutson and Sabrina

Miss Sykes has certainly arrived.

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Last year the Designers Ball in London's Royal Festival Hall chose her as their Guest of Honour - they couldn't design anything like this.

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BEACHCOMBER'S LAMENT
I lost my heart the other day
But not to Di or Gina,
I lost it on the pebbled beach
The day I found Sabrina."

[ No. "Di" is not Lady Diana Spencer. Wrong generation! It probably refers to Diana Dors- Ed.]

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'Sabrina's hobby is making original and inexpensive costume jewellery'
Sabrina
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Sabrina poses for W.M. Hutson

Sabrina makes jewellery

Found in 2014, a sister picture of the jewellery shot above

Romance for Sabrina? As you can imagine, there is certainly no shortage of eligible yound men all ready and waiting to escort her around town. One of her most frequent companions is American star Steve Cochran, though she will always find time to see old friend and top recording star Guy Mitchell when he is in town.

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One of Sabrina's first public appearances was at Collins Music Hall, when she sold programmes at a charity show. Below, there she is on the left of the SPICK beauty line, introduced from the stage by JACK TRAIN.

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(Which looks a lot
like this...)

Sabrina

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" With comedian Arthur Askey, who first introduced Sabrina to televiewers in his programme Before Your Very Eyes. This shot was taken during rehearsals. roles seem to be temporarily reversed, for Sabrina looks as if she's about to launch an ocean of words, while Arthur is very plainly saying - "I ain't sayin' nothin'."
What lies ahead for Sabrina is, at the moment, anybody's guess. Films, TV, more variety bookings? One thing is certain, Sabrina will not be content to rest on her reputation as it stands at the moment. She has just expressed her dissatisfaction which the part the BBC wanted her to play in a new TV series - everyone knows the outcome of that! [possibly Home, James. Read up about it here] - and she is all set to prove herself as a personality and not just a "heavenly body."

[This photo was found elsewhere with a date of 19 April 1955]

Sabrina 19 April 1955
Sabrina

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Sabrina at the Fashion Designers' Ball held at the Royal Festival Hall November' [1955]
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IN THE FASHION
'Sabrina in a gay mood at the Fashion Designers' Ball held at the Royal Festival Hall last November' [1955]

Sabrina looking seductive


Not from the same mag, but of the same vintage - Sabrina in her off-the-shoulder top.
Full-sized, sadly


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