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Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

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My Night Out with Sabrina

Photoplay, September 1958

by Peter Tipthorp

It was just after midnight and Sabrina and I were weaving our way through the back-streets of Soho in her aircraft- carrier sized car hunting for a suitable night spot to go gay*.
We reached a road junction and I told her to turn right and she turned left.
She said if I expected her to go the correct way I was to give her at least five minutes' warning. It was no good springing complicated directions on her at the last minute like that. I apologised and she said not to worry. She could quite easily turn the old cab, she said, even if the road was a bit narrow.

After narrowly missing a stationary car - One of these days I'll hit one that's moving ...
chasing a couple along the pavement - I put my foot on the accelerator instead of the brake...
and skimming past a bunch of milk-bottles - Well, fancy leaving them on the doorstep...
she managed to turn the car, and I opened my eyes.

Now where's this damn night-club?

" Now where's this damn night-club? Or do you want to drive around these wretched streets all night? " she asked. Fifteen minutes later we arrived.

Sabrina in fur with her car
Click to enlarge

" Thank goodness, " Sabrina gasped as we pulled up. " I could do with a drink. " I said she wasn't the only one.

It was an elegant place. Crowded. Smoky. Bright. And as we slipped behind a table there was a pause in the chatter and eyes turned in our direction. I felt thankful I had asked Sabrina to wear what she calls her "disguise dress." It only reveals five inches of cleavage.

Nevertheless she was instantly recognised, proving that the public eye gets around a bit more than it is given credit for.

I don't like octopus

" Don’t you get tired of people staring at you? " I whispered.
" Does a comic tire of laughs? " she replied.
The waiters pounced.
" I'll leave it all to you, " she smiled. " I like anything so long as it isn't octopus and I can have it with creamed potatoes. I don't like octopus because once when I had it I swear it twitched on my plate. "
I ordered chicken and a bottle of wine. " Only one bottle? " said Sabrina. " Are we going to have bottle each or am I going to have to call you mean? "
Two bottles it was.

A girl appeared. She was wearing a magnificent Spanish dress and she proceeded to entertain with a flamenco dance.
Sabrina watched her slender body twisting and twirling.

" What a country Spain is, " she said. " The people there have so much feeling. They are so warm. "

" Do you know any Spaniards? " I asked.
" I most certainly do. I once had a Spanish boy friend. He was living in this country. He took me to the cinema every week. But I got tired of him. He would never give the film a chance. No sooner had we hit the back row than he wanted to romance. I like to give the picture at least five minutes to see if it's going to be good. "

I love a good cry

" Do you go to the pictures often? "
" Not now. But I used to. I like sad pictures and I always go to see them if I can. I love a good cry. I'm a type who's inclined to bottle up feelings. I try not to show any emotion.

People think I'm cold and frigid

This makes people think I'm cold and frigid. Nothing could be further from the truth. I would never hurt anyone intentionally. Of course, that's the trouble with the world today. " " What? " I asked.
" People trying to hurt each other, of course. Everywhere I go I see it. Sometimes it isn't done openly. People are clever - they know when and where to strike. "

" I suppose, " I said, " that in your business you see a lot of hurt feelings? "

I put my mink straight back on and walked out

" I do. I went to a personal appearance once and when I arrived I was told that Diana Dors was coming, but couldn't make it.
'So,' I said, ' you got me?'
'Yes,' said the man who arranged it. 'We couldn't think of anyone else.'
I tell you, I put my mink straight back on and walked out. It wasn't taking over from Diana that I minded, it was the way I was told. That was a typical example of someone going out of their way to hurt a person. And for no reason at all! "

The chicken and the two bottles of wine arrived and Sabrina tucked in as only she knows how. She was relaxed now.

I could write a book about it if I could write

" Tell me about your trip to America, " I said.
" I could write a book about it if I could write, " she said. " I met some wonderful people. One fellow, who claimed to be a very rich and powerful business executive in New York, said he thought it would be a good idea to blow up the Statue of Liberty and have a statue of me in its place. He said it would attract tourists. I think he was a Rotarian. "

He's in love with himself: Like me.

" Did you go out with your old buddy Steve Cochrane? "
" Yes. And it convinced me even more that we're unsuited. He's so vain, is Steve. A real big-head. He's in love with himself: Like me. "
" Where did he take you? The museums? Art galleries?
" Are you kidding? He's very romantic. We went to a boxing match! I haven't got a clue who was fighting. It was quite an experience. There were hundreds of stars there and television cameras. I was asked to do an interview inside the ring. "

A little folly does no harm

" It must have been quite something, " I said.
" It was. I was wearing a very tight dress - you know the sort of thing. Snug. But I also had a coat on and I didn't intend to take it off. I told the interviewer that under no circumstances would I remove it, I looked fine with it on and on it was going to stay. But he asked me to take it off, so I did. A little folly does no harm. "
" What happened? " I asked. " Was there a riot? "
" You can say that again! " chirped Sabrina. " You should have heard the noise. There were screams and whistles and bellows - it was just like home. One woman, who had a ringside seat got into quite a huff about the fuss. I could understand her feelings. Her figure! If it hadn't been for her nose you wouldn't have known which way she was facing. "

Sabrina informed me that not everyone she met in America showed her respect. She was shopping one day in New York-living it up like a real tourist-and she stopped a man to ask him the quickest way to the underground. " Drop dead, " he replied and went hastily on his way.
" I realised afterwards I should have asked for the subway, " she explained.

A cod-like grin

We were interrupted by a gentleman from the band, a small fellow with a beard and a face that wore a cod-like grin.
" Let us play for you, " he husked. " It will give us pleasure. What will it be? Anything you say. Please? "
" Play my signature tune, " said Sabrina sweetly. " It's called Nice work if you can get it***" The fellow coughed and returned to his band. The music began.
" That fellow, " said Sabrina thoughtfully, " Is typical of my boy-friends. They're all the same. They can't do enough for me. It's, ‘Yes, Sabrina' this and 'Yes, Sabrina' that. How can I respect a fellow who agrees with me all the time and hasn't got a mind of his own?

That Prince Christian...

" I reckon that's why I haven't found a man I'd like to marry. I can't love a man I don't respect. That Prince Christian**, for instance. He rang me up every day. Every day! I got ear-ache listening to him. "

We talked and drank and she told me she has several film offers she intends to take up when her West End show ends later in the year.
Suddenly it was 3.30 a.m. We left the night-club. The streets were cold and empty. The giant car stood alone.

Sabrina and her S41 car

Sabrina stopped on the pavement and gazed at it.

I'm learning fast

"Isn't it something? " she said. " I suppose I'm quite rich, really. The amazing thing is I have got this far without any talent. Let's face it - I haven't even got much personality. But I'm learning fast. "

We slipped into the car. Then she adjusted her mink stole and we drove into the night.

NOTES

* It's not known whether they managed to "go gay" or not. :-)

** Prince Christian - Danish Royal Family - (For Americans, that's in Denmark - way north of California!). Full title: Christian Oskar of Hanover (Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg) 1919-1981. Married 1963 (this gave him 5 years to get over Sabrina at the time of this article), to Mireille Dutry (divorced 1976). . About 39 years old in 1958. Sabrina was about 22.

***Nice work if you can get it - by the Gershwins. Recorded by Sinatra et al. Trying to find a copy by Sabrina. Let me know if you happen to have one! The best I can manage is this.

You know... if it wasn't for Sabrina, I wouldn't know nearly as much about the history of the Danish royal family. Ed.

Hear Sabrina talk about her royal connections - including the Princes Phillip and Charles.

Page Created: April 23, 2003

Last Changed: Sunday, April 10, 2016 12:58 PM

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