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Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

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Sabrina - England's Treasure Chest!

Inside Story, Vol 11 Num 4, July 1964

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SABRINA – ENGLAND’S TREASURE CHEST

By MOYA PITT

In the tough alleys of the East End of London Sabrina developed from a 95 pound kid to an anatomical world wonder!

Sabrina

There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
That with moist curb sways the Smooth Severn stream,
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure.

—Milton

Sabrina's (cough) bust

Sabrina admits she's short on talent but tops in the upper deck division which keeps her hopping from continent to continent as highly [sic] paid night club star.

IN British mythology Sabrina is goddess of the river Severn and granddaughter of Brutus, King of ancient Britain.
Britain's present day Sabrina, has indeed been described as a nymph, but never been thought of as gentle. As for the other descriptions, well, we had better not make any comparisons. She's had a busy life in the past eight years since she has been exposed to public view, has Sabrina, and it's been far from mythological.
Also no myth is her frontal facade, which out-reaches such monumentally expansive proportions as Jayne Mansfield's bosom, and her country woman's, Diana Dor's porte cochere. And neither of these two ladies are pikers when it comes to filling a bra.

Sabrina's endowment is so generous that there is no bra manufactured for her to fill. Her under cover support has to be custom made and in the days when she couldn't afford the made-to-order foundations, her dear old mum used to run them up on a rented Singer, That was when she was Norma Sykes and living in Blackpool and before she put her extraordinary proportions to commercial use.

Can't Sing or Dance

There is no secret about Sabrina. "I can't dance. I can't sing. And I can't act," she will admit with honest candor. But film-makers, TV producers and night club owners are very happy to hire her. In turn, their audiences—at least the male portions-are happy to stare at the Queen of the Big Top, as one journalist described her, and pay good money for the privilege.
Sabrina's act, both on and offstage is playing the dumb blonde which in its takes supreme acting because Sabrina is just as dumb in her way as Einstein was in his. Which we all know was fairly bright.
She has a canny way of being constantly in the press. Naturally her unusual frontal fortress makes her the delight of photographers and the joy of all England's papers with the positive exception of the Times.
Sabrina has made the dumb blonde pay off better than Marie Wilson and Lorelei Lee combined. She has a great poker face and delivers her side splitting pronouncements absolutely deadpan and with wide-eyed innocence. She is so convincing about being dumb that people discuss her lack of brains in detail and in front of her.

Sabrina admits she's short on talent but tops in the upper deck division which keeps her hopping from continent to continent as highly paid night club star.
"They actually think I'm so dumb I don't know what they're talking about," she told an interviewer.
Little Sabrina is so mentally deficient that a few years ago she could only afford tinned pork and beans once a day. Now the menu is quail or filet, as many times a day as she wants, washed down with pink champagne.
"Not too much champagne, though," Sabrina cautions. "This is a tough world and the only way to get through it is to stay sober.
Sabrina never has to concern herself with a restaurant check. There are attractive escorts from all over the world who vie with each other to take her to smart restaurants like Les Ambassadeurs and Caprice.

Never Worries About Check

Steve Cochran and Johnny Ray, the crooner, are two Americans who consider it a privilege to share a table with her.
"Johnny Ray can hug harder than any man I know, Sabrina confided to a friend. "He's hugged me so hard I've had to scream for him to stop.”

Sabrina and Johnnie Ray
(Picture is from another source)

This description of Ray's ruggedness may raise a surprised eyebrow among Johnnie's friends in New York and Hollywood where he is not thought of as a violent pursuer of the girls.
While dining with Sabrina Johnnie once told her: "Being across the table from you, the view is much better than the view in that restaurant in the Eiffel Tower."
Ray realized that Sabrina's acting range went all the way from a simper to a pout. Early on in her career he gave her some sound advice.

"I've got a theory about how movie stars are made," he explained to Sabrina. "Take Marilyn Monroe. Have you ever noticed how carefully her pictures are always posed? I'd like to do the same thing with you, Sabrina," he told her.

Johnnie borrowed a camera and went to work. Sabrina happily assumed poses a la Monroe's famous calendar photo.
"I didn't know whether he was a good photographer or not," Sabrina later said. "If he wanted to try it to help me, it was all right with me."
What happened to the photos, only Johnnie Ray knows. They have never seen the light of day in a paper or magazine and Sabrina claims she never has seen them.
But Johnnie's photos must have made her remember some others she had posed for, before she became Sabrina. And remembering, she had a fine idea for one of her most successful publicity stunts.

While Sabrina still had vague hopes of some sort of career in the theatre, she was reading the help wanted ads, hoping to find some sort of job that would open the door for her. NO EXPERIENCE NEEDED caught her eye. Reading further, the ad was for photographer's models.

In those days Sabrina felt a bit odd about posing nude, but then there's a first time for everything and the photographer was completely business-like. She posed for two hours and earned fifteen shillings or two dollars and ten cents in American money.
Aside from the thousands of dollars worth of publicity that these photos eventually brought her, they also actually started her in show business as well. The well known British glamor photographer, Alex Sterling, saw them and had her model for him. Sterling's work was seen in a London magazine and in no time Nancy Sykes — for that was still her name [actually, it was still Norma! Ed] — was besiged [sic] with offers from agents.

"Most of them were the same type," Sabrina remembers. "Trust me and you'll be a star tomorrow. Come up to my flat and we'll discuss your future.

One of her theatrical agents, Bill Watts, promised her nothing and Sabrina's intuitive savvy told her this was the one for her to play ball with. She signed a five year contract with him and got her a part in her first TV show. She carried the ball from there.
She had just one line in the show, but it was the line she delivered before she was on camera that made her into Sabrina, the national pastime. She was sitting backstage before air time, when she was spotted by three newspapermen who were looking for a story.
"Hello, there," one of them said to Sabrina. "What do you do in the show?"
Sabrina shrugged, while the newsmen's eyes popped in admiration. "I really don't know. I'm just a dumb blonde."

The next day the London papers were covered with Sabrina's pictures and the first of the dumb blonde stories began. Even the egghead London Observer called her "An hour glass blown by a master."
At the height of her popularity, Sabrina found that her nude photos were printed on playing cards, among other popular art forms. The market was flooded with undraped Sabrina's, much the same way that Marilyn Monroe's calendar turned up everywhere.
Sabrina did not keep quiet about any of it. She told her newspaper chums that she was going to wreck the office of the playing card distributor. When she systematically preceded [sic] to wreck the joint there were photographers on hand to record the event.

Sabrina decided to complain to Scotland Yard. When she was sobbing that she was only a kid of 16 who didn't want to return home a failure, reporters took down her every word and she was thoroughly photographed—with due emphasis on the frontal assets — with Detective Superintendent Steve Gander [Glander – Ed] listening sympathtically [sic].

Casting an official eye over the evidence Superintendent Gander consoled her: "I will not rest until I have the full collection on my desk. I am treating it as a matter of priority." His crack detectives were all summoned to help with the photo roundup. While Scotland Yard probed the case of the Stacked Deck, Sabrina got reams of publicity, a music hall concert and a tour of Australia.

In Australia Sabrina introduced a new gimmick in her night club act. She would invite a young man from the audience to join her onstage while she crooned love songs to him. The point was to pick a shy chap who would be embarrassed by the sight of her nearly-naked bosom heaving with passion as she sang Persuade Me.
One night she made the mistake of picking a gent who needed no persuading. He was a 19-year-old hairdresser named Michael. (Like Sabrina, he didn't believe in last names, either.)

Sabrina was wearing a skin tight red dress with the usual double exposure. She started singing and Michael started feeling. He pulled her to him and gave her a passionate kiss full on the lips in full view of the spell bound audience.
Trying to break out of the embrace, Sabrina broke out of her gown instead. She fell to the floor then fled to the wings hiding her exposed bosom as best she could with her hands.
Michael returned to his seat with a smug smile as the audience went wild with applause. Michael certainly won that round if not the full fight.
Next day Michael's boss, who also had a mind for publicity, brought Michael to Sabrina's dressing room to apologize. The hair burner refused contending that Sabrina had asked for every thing he was happy to give her.
"Well you asked for this," Sabrina screamed, and wound up a roundhouse right that curled the hairdresser into a cold wave that lasted an hour.

Michael wasn't the first hairdresser to receive a bust in the mouth from the blonde. Sabrina forgot that she was a lady once before when she was aggravated by a New York hairdresser named Raven de Rouchard.
Raven had been hired to keep her platinum tresses bleached and curly and to care for her wigs for the two week theatre engagement Sabrina had contracted for. She had agreed to pay him $50 a day for his trouble.
At the end of ten days he presented his bill and was told by Sabrina that she couldn't pay him just then.

"I'm taking my act to the Boulevard in Queens (a night club just out of Manhattan) where I'll be making big money. If you come along with me I'll pay you all the money I owe, plus $50 a day while we're there plus a bonus," she promised.
Raven agreed and stayed with Sabrina another two months, still without seeing any of the green stuff. When he submitted a new bill she gave him a check for his labor and expenses, totalling more than $2,500. The check promptly bounced and Raven was bounced out of his apartment for non-payment of rent.
Raven wrote his troubles to Sabrina who was by then playing in a Florida night club. She wrote back how sorry she was and enclosed another check which also bounced.
But Raven had been smart enough to hang onto the only falsies Sabrina ever wore — her wigs. When she came back to New York on her way to London, Sabrina phoned him and asked him to hand them over. Raven agreed to meet her in the lobby of a New York hotel, with wigs if she would also come with cash.

On the dot of eight Sabrina wiggled her way into the lobby, spectacular in a pair of pink stretch pants and a tight white sweater. Raven hid the wigs in a hat box but he refused to give them to her until she paid at least part of what she owed him.
Sabrina reached for the box but Raven was faster. He sidestepped and she went plunging into the lobby wall. Then the fight began. Sabrina clawed Raven's coat off his back. She punched him and tried to rip off his trousers. Raven was saved by two hotel employees who grabbed Sabrina and tossed her out of the hotel.Looking into her past it's easy to see how Sabrina got her tough right hand and her big bust. As a child, the daughter of poor factory workers, she wasn't even pretty. At the age when girls begin to discover boys and vice versa, Sabrina was stricken with polio. She spent two years in a hospital where doctors feared she might be crippled for life. They prescribed a series of rugged exercises to develop her muscles as well as hours of daily swimming, this developed more than her muscles and her trusty right hand.

Any young girl wanting a similar chest expansion can follow Sabrina's exercises and develop from a 95-pound weakling into an anatomical wonder. Aside from the out-size pectoral muscles, Sabrina had also developed powerful arms and legs.
Because she had lost touch with her schoolmates Sabrina didn't want to return to classes after her long illness. So she set out for London. Between walks to and from the kitchen she kept in training by serving rights to the fellows who couldn't believe their eyes and kept trying to find out if her measurements were for real.
After she clobbered so many of the customers that business began to fall off, Sabrina was out of a job. And that's when she answered the photographer's ad and from that landed in TV.

"Sabrina is certainly one of the most extraordinary things that has ever happened in show business," Arthur Askey, the British comic has said.
Askey highlighted Sabrina's enormous frontage. The camera explored her endowments from neck to navel. And what was not exposed to the naked eye was so tightly swathed that it was even more exciting than had it been available to the eye.
Sabrina set off a sex revolution on the sober, proper BBC. Next time Sabrina appeared the male audience had doubled. And it continues to reach geometric proportions wherever she and her bosom get paid to display themselves. And often it's without saying anything but a dumb remark.
"Sometimes, Sabrina explains," I think I act dumb not because I have nothing to say that's smart but because I feel better not saying what I'm thinking."

Which isn't what anyone could call dumb.

Page Created: 31 August 2007

Last Changed: Tuesday, January 12, 2016 1:31 PM

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