Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

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Sabrina's Scrapbook #1

Sabrina in 'The Loving Couch'

A case of mistaken female identity

Here is the programme, found in 2024

Sabrina in The Loving Couch programme 1965

Sabrina in The Loving Couch programme 1965

Stan Seiden in association with Jack Yonchar presents Virginia Mayo & Sabrina (England's Favourite Playgirl) in

The Loving Couch

A farce comedy by Ray Allen

with Renie Riano, Gene Shane, Terry Phillips

Directed by Ray Montgomery

The entire action takes place in Gil Corday s apartment in New York City.

CAST OF CHARACTERS (In order of oppearance)



Sabrina in The Loving Couch programme 1965

VIRGNIA MAYO — Considered one of the all time greats in show business, she has starred in more than thirty top motion pictures, opposite more stars than there are in heaven. A native of St. Louis, she is married to actor Michael O'Shea,. is a mother of a lovely 12 year daughter and is a very proud memober of the D.A.R.

[Daughters Of The American Revolution]

SABRINA - fondly known as "England’s favorite Playgirl" this young lady is already the toast of two continents, having achieved success in motion pictures, TV, legitimate theatre and nite clubs on the four continents. She is as well known in Johannesburg, S. Africa as in Pocatello, Idaho. In addition to these fetes, she is probably one Of England’s finest designers of lady's [sic] formal clothes.

Sabrina in The Loving Couch programme 1965

Also visit

The Sabrina Play index page

Play 1 - Pajama Tops - (25 Dec 1965 - 11 Jan 1966 in Baltimore, and 15-30 Jan in St Louis)

Play 2 - The Loving Couch - at least April 11 to July 6, 1966 in various locations

Play 3 - Rattle of a Simple Man - August 1966


Sabrina- Washington University 1966

Sabrina, star of "The Loving Couch," being presented at the American Theatre, visited the Washington University campus to lend her support to the World University Service drive to raise funds for Guruvayurappan College in India.

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

[Refers to the 'Couch' arriving "After 6 smash months in Hollywood" - but where and when?]

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

[Sabrina's hand-written notes on the back of the following article, recording the towns where she played. ]

'LOVING COUCH' at The American Theatre

Ninth and St Charles. St Louis MISSOURI

Two week engagement - 11 April - 23 April.
Performances Mondays-Thursdays at 8:30pm, and Fridays and Saturdays at 7pm and 9:45pm

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Lovely British import Sabrina will appear April 11-23 at our town's American Theatre in the newest comedy farce sensation "Loving Couch" which recently enjoyed a record breaking run in Hollywood.

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

At the Theater

A Robustious Romp

"The Loving Couch" by Ray Allen, presented by Stan Seiden in association with Jack Yonchar. With Virginia Mayo, Sabrina, Renie Riano, Gene Shane and Terry Phillips. Directed by Ray Montgomery. Costumes by Marge Mann of Hollywood.

It takes a scene or two to get the story line in focus and the laughs generating, but "The Loving Couch" is a likeable romp even though it does, on more than one occasion, make even the most blase blush.

The farce is played out by a five-member cast. The roster includes veteran movie queen Virginia Mayo as a 50-year-old Fifth Avenue dress shop proprietor in mother conflict; Terry Philips as her son fighting first frustration and then satisfaction. Gene Shane with the magnificent leer befits the action. And long time friend Renie Riano pulls the whole thing together with her wonderful portrayal of an evangelist.

And then there is England's first and everybody's favorite, Sabrina of the 42-oh-oh figure.
She fortunately comes on slow. As a strait-laced lassie horrified by cuss words and even the thought, heavens to barley corn, of drink. In the transformation her costuming runs from clothing almost old fashioned for Sunday school to as near au naturel one can get outside Las Vegas.

The good lines are good when the cast gets to them. Like the red-robed evangelist in full drama with eyes and arms cast skyward giving the impression of an all ruby robin in flight. One word describes — "Batman."

However, there seems to be falter in the romp when the audience is called upon to confirm psycholanalysis [sic] without the benefit of a souch [?] of its own.

"The Couch" is pure adult fun and fare. Perhaps it won't shock. But it does draw some oohs and aaahs that reflect a sexy emotional impact of sorts. The players frolic in the living room in a way not generally seen or discussed at home.. But then this is a new world and an old couch.
-- Stanley Venoit

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes


Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes



AMERICA'S newest farce comedy sensation, "The Loving Couch," is coming to the American Theatre in St. Louis direct from its record breaking run in Hollywood enroute to Broadway. The show's two week engagement in St. Louis will open on Monday night, April 11th, and run through Saturday night, April 23rd.

"The Loving Couch" stars Virginia Mayo, most popular of Hollywood stars, known for her score of motion pictures. Co-starring with Miss Mayo, fondly known as "England's Favorite Playgirl," is Sabrina, who was last seen in St. Louis in the perennial comedy "Pajama Tops."

Dealing with a case of lovely mistaken female identity, the script of Ray Allen has been designed to keep the audience laughing and to make for a never-to-be-forgotten fun evening in the theatre. "The Loving Couch" has been described by the press as "More fun than a barrel full of monkeys"... L.A. Herald, and "Designed for laughing and succeeds."... Seattle Times.

The American box office is now open for mail orders. Performances for this strictly limited engagement will be held Monday thru Thursdays at 8:30p.m. and two performances on Friday and Saturdays at 7:00 and 9:45 p.m.

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes


At the Hartman Theatre (Columbus, Ohio )

April 25 - April 30, 1966

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

[The following snippet appeared on the same scrapbook page as 'Hartman theatre' (Ohio) - but whether it was published near the same time is hard to say: one can't assume that things that appeared on page 1 of scrapbook happened before stuff on page 30 - Ed.]

'The Loving Couch," is on its way to New York after a record-breaking run in Hollywood. It stars Virginia Mayo, popular Hollywood star who has been in a score of motion pictures and is the favorite of a large fan club. Co-starring with her is Sabrina, fondly known as "England's Favorite... [article ends]

[Odd - there is no scrapbook mention of either New York nor Hollywood. The first evidence is at The American Theatre, Pittsburgh. - Ed]

Music And Theater

Sassy Plot, Witty Talk, Bright Stars Make 'Couch' Fun


My good deed for the day comes in the form of a bit of advice I think many of you will want to heed. Specifically, I suggest you lather yourself into a slightly ornery mood, grab a good half-price seat and romp over to the Hartman between now and Saturday to see a slick, saucy casserole called "The Loving Couch," which stars Virginia Mayo and Sabrina.

IF YOU'RE NOT too critical (nor too pious) you have an evening of genuine fun ahead of you — seasoned with a sassy plot and witty dialogue and garnished with a quintet of very bright performances.

To envision the vehicle as a cheap, second-rate comedy is an injustice, both to the play and to yourselves. For my money, it's easily the equal of half a dozen or more comedies currently running in the Big City.

THE GAME IS schizophrenia and it hits the Hartman stage with epidemic proportions. Present are a mother and her son, her son's buddy, her son's fiance and the fiance's mother. That, for the mathematically sharp, should total five.

Miss Mayo plays the first mother, an appropriately jaded, suitably sophisticated fashion designer who wants sonny boy to have naught but the finest in everything. Terry Phillips is the son, whose strong suit is a confusion wrought by an intended with two distinct identities.

SABRINA IS the fiancé, a syrupy young thing, whose rank is virgin 1/c [sic] and whose destiny it seems to retire after 20 years without ever having received a promotion. She claims to have a sister — and this'n [sic] when she finally makes an appearance, is a stream-lined swinger whose, morals lay somewhere on the far side of loose. Sister's idea of a good time is reveling to Ravel. To her, a bolero is a battle cry, the starting whistle that opens olympian games.

The crucial discovery turns out to be unveiling of the fact that the two sisters – Ruth the goody-gumdrop and Cynthia the speedy – are in fact one in the same. To poor sonny boy, this discovery has an effect akin to finding out daddy is a girl.

GENE SHANE plays sonny's fast-talking, wolfish buddy, who, in addition to being no help at all in times of strife, also has eyes for sonny's mama (Miss Mayo). Oldtimer Renie Riano, whose face you'll recognize from dozens of things and places, plays Sabrina's evangelistic mother, to whom spirits has a double meaning.

The cast is truly splendid, Miss Mayo is as lovely as ever, and proves moreover to be a thoroughly charming actress with a knack for shades and hues of comedy. Gene Shane is superb as the buddy. He handles comic nuances to absolute perfection, scoring heavily each and every time he steps onstage.

TERRY PHILLIPS is quite good as the son, carrying his confusion and frustration with maximum effect. Miss Riano, as if there would be any doubt for openers, is a gas as the wiggy fanatic screaming damnation at the drop of a sin.

I save Sabrina for last only because she's a sheer — both as tea-time Tillie and her nymphy other self. First she ought to be illegal because of her natural appeal. In any beauty contest she'd be way out in front. More importantly however she's also an actress of considerable talent, a fact no-one in the audience Monday evening will attempt to dispute.

THAT ABOUT sums it up. Opening nighters loved the whole affair. You will too, providing you throw pretense to the winds and make a present of an evening to yourself. Go – have fun. I had an absolute ball.

GENE GETS A HUG FROM SABRINA i n "Loving Couch" at Hartman

Gene Shane In Comedy

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Gene Shane, well known to television audiences for his numerous appearances on "The Munsters," "Naked City," "Combat" and "General Hospital," is seen in the stage comedy, "The Loving Couch," at the Hartman Theatre this week, with Virginia Mayo and Sabrina in the star roles.

Shane has also played numerous off-Broadway roles and has starred in one film to date, 'The Gold Life," for Embassy Films. He is now signed with MGM and this film studio plans some important parts for him in their fall production schedule.

During the limited engagement of "The Loving Couch," performances will be presented evenings only with two shows on Friday and Saturday — 7 and 9:45 p.m. Curtain for the other evenings is 8:30.

Virginia Mayo, Sabrina

'The Couch' Stars Soften The Rain


Virginia Mayo (left) and Sabrina relax in the coffee shop of the Deshler-Cole Hotel where they checked in for the week-long production of "The Loving Couch" at the Hartman Theatre.

Citizen-Journal Staff Writer

Rain was pouring over the Deshler-Cole Hotel [Columbus, Ohio] Sunday evening. It was pouring in the hotel's coffee shop too — pure femininity.

The change in weather occurred shortly after movie queen Virginia Mayo and glamour girl Sabrina checked in for a week's stay.

THEY'RE HERE to star in the farce comedy hit "The Loving Couch" at the Hartman Theatre. And starting Monday at 8 p.m., femininity will prevail.

"Loving Couch,' based on the film classic "Jack London" is here direct from a successful six-
month run in Hollywood and a two-week stop in St. Louis.

MISS MAYO IS making her debut in legitimate theater in the Stan Seiden-Jack Yonchar production. And Sabrina (maybe that's her first name, her last or both— it's your chioce) is fresh from making films and television serials in her native England.

As they chatted over hot chocolate, being careful not to stain their Sunday best (which was ultra-modest to say the least), their charm . . . well, it was charming.

MISS MAYO HAS the leading role portraying Miriam Corday, owner of a booming hat shop in New York.

Sabrina plays Sabrina, a name she acquired in her television series. Sabrina is a mixed-up girl friend of Miriam's and who ultimately becomes envolved [sic] with Miriam's son.

NORFOLK, Virginia

Centre Theatre

Theater review

'Couch' offers fun, Sabrina

NORFOLK — "The Loving Couch," a lightweight comedy with a top-heavy female, opened Monday to run for six performances through Saturday at the Center Theatre .

Ray Allen's play is little more than a hodge-podge of some popular psychological concepts: the silver cord, multiple- personality and the Freudian slip are all mentioned.

Through this foggy little world of psychology two pairs of lovers grope their way to happiness—at least to some kind of temporary sexual adjustment. Mercifully, no one — not even the author — seems to take the psychological junk seriously.

In fact the playwright has much more interesting raw material with which to work.

Sabrina, described as England's favorite playgirl, romps across the stage in two uninhibited scenes displaying fully the fullness of her charms.

In the last scene of the first act she takes off her blouse to have an overly idealistic young ex-dog-about-New York-town inspect her bruised shoulder. It is a popping good scene.

Twenty-six hours later, the first scene of the second and final act, the young dog played by Terry Phillips appears in the bottom half of a pair of pajamas while Sabrina does an excellent job filling out the top half of the same garment.

The thin yarn around which these two scenes are built concerns a chic, successful and very youthful mother, played by Virginia Mayo, who attempts to break up the romance of her son, Phillips, with a mousey, frigid, creature played by Sabrina.

The mousey creature is really a multiple personality, one learns after the two very slow scenes- that lead up to the two scenes around which the play is built.

Two more scenes are required to unwind the ball of yarn; and they would have been dull had it not been for the appearance of Renie Riano as the hypocritical religious faker and mother of the girl with the multiple-personality and great, great, charrns — Sabrina.

Anyway, the boy gets the girl, after her mother is put on a plane and sent back to some hick town in Pennsylvania.

As frosting, the chic mother of the boy makes some kind of Freudian slip that unknits all of her complexes and enables her to end up on the couch with the young man who has been pursuing her since the days when he was a roommate with her son in prep school.

The young man who wins his prep school roommate's mother is played by Gene Shane, and he does an excellent job.

Generally the acting is about as good as that seen regularly in the dinner theaters in Tidewater, although some of the lines simply could not be heard from seats near the front and at the extreme left side of the theater.

The casting for this piece must have been very difficult. Sabrina, who was most effective in her change of character, appeared to be older and more mature than the 19-year-old-virgin as which she was described.

Miss Mayo seemed much too young to be the mother of her stage son, but this was possibly necessary to make her romance with her son's friend acceptable.

All in all, "The Loving Couch" is not a very good play, but it does not pretend to be one. It is Sabrina who will fill the house about as full as the tops of the pajamas she wears.





"The Loving: Couch", a fun-filled comedy starring Virginia Mayo and England's favorite Playgirl, Sabrina, continues at the Penn Theater Auditorium thru Saturday, May 21 [1966] .

A spicy comedy, best appreciated by an adult audience, the story deals with a beauteous young girl possessing a split personality and when she "changes" the results are surprising to put it mildly.

Virginia Mayo is making her first touring, legitimate appearance after having starred in 37 motion pictures.

Performances of "The Loving Couch" will be presented Monday through Thursday evening at 8:30 P.M. and two performances on Friday and Saturday at 7:00 and 9:45 P.M.

A controversial Costume – More or Less

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Pittsburgh, May 16 (UPI) — British actress Sabrina and American star Virginia Mayo, co-stars of the play, 'The Loving Couch," disagree about clothes — or the lack of them.
Sabrina appears in panties and bra.
"No one in her right mind would wear such a ridiculous foundation," said Miss Mayo, whose movie popularity was helped by her curvaceous figure.
"Well, listen to that," said Sabrina when informed of Miss Mayo's pique. "She's been getting by on her legs for years. After all, men like the other parts of the body. Besides, it (more clothes) would kill the meaning of the show."
She said producer Stan Seiden wants her costume even flimsier."

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Caption: SABRINA – Puts all in her work.


Mayo Nays Sabrina's 'Dressing'


Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Sabrina, the tall and luscious attraction in "The Loving Couch" here, is currently involved in a difference of opinion with co-star Virginia Mayo about the propriety of her dress — or undress — in the play.

At one point in the farce comedy, scheduled to run at the Penn Theater , Downtown, through the week, Sabrina appears in a bra, but not an ordinary bra. It's quite a revealing bra, and with a 42-inch upstairs measurement, she has quite a bit to reveal.

"No one in her right mind would wear such a ridiculous foundation," said Miss Mayo, who gained more than a little popularity as a result of her curvy assets. "It is almost embarassing to the rest of the cast," she continued. "The audience might whoop and holler while she's on but I think it's tasteless."

Sabrina, not one to run from a fight, countered with: "She (Miss Mayo) did all right in pictures with her fancy legs. Well, there are other parts of the body that men admire."

Producer Stan Seiden, who flew in from the West Coast the other day, takes Sabrina's side in the dispute, calling it "a check on the right side of the ledger. She has the added ingredient of pulchritude, why not use it?"

Seiden said that when Sabrina was originally brought over from England to work for him a couple of years back she was hired as a sexpot.

"But she has developed into a fine actress," he added. Seiden plans to take the show to New York with Sabrina in the cast, he said.

Youthful Sabrina — for some reason she won't divulge her age, but a reliable source says it's 23* — is the English lovely that became a star there without a talent to speak of.

When she stopped by here with promoter Lenny Litman for an interview, she related how polio kept her in the hospital much of the time between ages 11 and 15, resulting in six operations on her legs. As occupational therapy she learned how to design jewelry.

Later, against the wishes of her parents, she traveled to London to accelerate her jewelry designing ambitions and to have plastic surgery done on her legs.

At a cocktail party, she was "discovered" by a photographer, who sold a cover and center-spread series of photos of Sabrina to Picture Post , which is, says Sabrina, the British equivalent of Life Magazine here.

A British agent saw the photos and arranged for a BBC television series audition for Sabrina. She appeared briefly with the series star, and her fame was launched. From there it was wide exposure for Sabrina on various media, but the question kept popping up, "What do you do?"

She did nothing, really, but not for long. She developed a night club act that included singing and dancing, and nurtured what she calls a "natural flair for comedy."

Now her list of credits is long, including four years of TV in England, 20 movies** and some legitimate theater there, and more movies and theater here.

[* in 1966, Sabby would have been three days away from turning 30 – Ed.]
[** either creative embellishment, or there are films we have not found yet!]

MUESTRA VESTIMENTA. — La actriz britanica Sabrina muestra en Pittsburgh, Pensylvania, tal como aparece en la comedia "The Loving Couch". La co-estrella Virginia Mayo quiere que Sabrina vista algo más reservado en escenario. Sabrina, por su parte, dijo que el productor del espectáculo piensa que ella debe usar algo más relevante.

Google Translate says:

Clothing samples. -- The British actress Sabrina shows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as it appears in the comedy "The Loving Couch." The co-star Virginia Mayo wants Sabrina hearing something more reserved stage. Sabrina, meanwhile, said the producer of the show thinks she should wear something more relevant.

Babelfish says:

IT SHOWS CLOTHES. - The British actress Sabrina shows in Pittsburgh, Pensylvania, as he appears in the comedy " The Loving Couch". Co-it stars Virginia May wants that seen Sabrina more something reserved in scene. Sabrina, on the other hand, said that the producer of the spectacle thinks that she must use something more excellent.

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes


Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

[Sabrina's hand-written note in the scrapbook ]

"The so called notorious costume that Virginia objected to. The only problem with this story is that it was a PR man's fantasy and not based on any truth or facts. Virginia and I had a lovely friendship and we would eat every night after the show."



Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Sabrina in the Loving Couch 1966

Theater In Review

Shubert Fills House With Spicy Farce

The Shubert Theater ends its current season with a full house this week because there's a farce there designed strictly for laughs.

Ray Allen's broad comedy, 'The Loving Couch' brings to New Haven the lovely screen veteran, Virginia Mayo, playing the doting mother to a commercial artist; and the British actress Sabrina, playing two roles well tailored to her accomplishments. Playing opposite her as the artist is Terry Phillips, with significant supporting roles going to Gene Shane as the artist's best friend and Renie Riano as a comic evangelist.

This type of production needs very little plot. The action stems mainly from the reaction of a man to his best girl, a strait-laced little prude played by Sabrina, and his bewilderment in discovering she is actually quite the opposite nature.

Miss Mayo as the over-protective mother, beautiful and successful in her exclusive dress-shop, reveals a good comedy sense, as does Miss Riano, who has built a long career on her capacity to make folks laugh.

Under the direction of Ray Montgomery, the cast scurries through the two acts flinging laugh-lines to the audience every minute or two. Marge Mann of Hollywood has designed some high-fashion costumes for Miss Mayo and Sabrina, helping further to embellish the production.

Florence Johnson


Shubert Raises Curtain Tonight On 'Loving Couch'

'The Loving Couch," a farce comedy dealing with a beautiful young blonde with a split personality opens a one week engagement tonight at the Shubert with Virginia Mayo and Sabrina in the starring roles.

Featured members of the cast are Renie Riano, Gene Shane, and Terry Phillips.
The author of "The Loving Couch" Ray Allen, seems to have come up with an unusual type of woman for his play — a virtuous siren, played by Sabrina, the English bombshell.

[Sabrina note: Norfolk Virginia]

END OF USA - onto Canada



Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Sabrina note: "Arriving in Toronto without green card. Was in Toronto to play at the Royal Alexandra"

Somewhere in New York there's a wallet with a lot of money and a little green card.
Sabrina knows that a telephone call to the hotel would not produce the little green card "because it is among so many other things that a bell-boy would never find it."

The glamorous star of England's television and films arrived in Toronto last night without the green card, which permits her to work in the United States.

But on her way to Toronto she suddenly realized that she had left it behind. Tonight she returns to New York to pick it up. Then she comes back to Toronto to open in the Loving Couch on Monday at the Royal Alexandra .

"Can you believe it?" she asked. "Can you believe that I would leave such a valuable little old card in my hotel room? I can, because I've been told. Actually I'm not officially in Toronto at all. I won't be until I get this all-important card."

If she doesn't return to the United States within 24 hours, it may put her future travels there in a precarious position. After Toronto the show continues across America.

"There's talk of it going on Broadway," she said, "but I have to return to England for several television shows so this is not definite. I'm not definite either. I'm still supposed to be in the United States."

Toronto, she said, seemed so English on her first brief moments here and she hoped she would find this more so during the two week run of the show.

"But how is the weather in June?" she asked. "Is it always like this?"
Sabrina, whose real name is Norma Ann Sykes, will find out for himself [!! sic] next week.

[This reminds me of when Eccles in the Goon Show says: " Who cares about him? "]

Sabrina forgets her alien card


The waiter at the Royal York Hotel who served Sabrina after her arrival yesterday remembered her the way most everyone else does.

"Ya, she was just here. She's the blonde, isn't she, with the … ?" He held up his hands to illustrate the English actress' boasted 41-inch bosom. "She went back up to her room."

Sabrina's on her first trip to Toronto to play in The Loving Couch, which opens on Monday at the Royal Alexandra Theatre.

It'll be a short trip — she goes back to New York today and returns Saturday.
"I forgot this card, my alien card," she explained, dressed in a short-length, high-neckline, long-sleeved white dress, and sipping a vodka gimlet. "I need it to get back into the States, so I'm only here for 24 hours. I think the paper they gave me said I was 'paroled in Canada'."

She speaks in an almost flat Canadian tone, with traces of an English accent.
"I was born in Blackpool but I went to London when I was 16. I had polio when I was a child and I needed some plastic surgery on my legs." It wasn't needed below the hemline.

She got her first big break in London on a BBC television show, then made a few films, most notably Blue Murder at St. Trinian's with Alastair Sim and Terry-Thomas, and has since toured the world with a single night-club act.

All this took about 10 years. "I'm 26 or 25, who cares?" she said.

She's been touring U.S. cities with Virginia Mayo in The Loving Couch for three months. Her contract expires at the end of this month.

"I like doing plays. It's easier than the night-club act. But you don't get as much travelling, and I like to travel.

"When I was in South Africa I wanted to drop off and see Nairobi. I'm very curious. I just wanted to stay for a day. We got there — to this hotel — in the middle of the night and it was deserted. The next day they asked me when I was going to do my night-club act, I stayed a month.

"Say, couldn't you make my age 25 or 24, something nice like that?"

[The last line of the article was folded up by Sabrina so it was not visible until it was removed from the scrapbook! - ed]


Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Says Sabrina after passport mixup:

REALLY! How could they overlook ME!

By ANGUS DALRYMPLE Star staff writer

The generously-endowed Sabrina - 41½-18-36 — flew into Toronto last night and was told by a wide-eyed Customs man: "You're not officially here."

The dumb blonde of British films and TV—here to appear in "The Loving Couch" next Monday at the Royal Alex —had mislaid her passport. She was ordered to fly back to New York within 24 hours and fetch it.

Sabrina — real name Norma Ann Sykes — flounced into the Royal York Hotel and fumed: "This is my first trip to Canada and the first time I've not been officially recognized. I'd heard Toronto was straight-laced, but this is ridiculous. How can any man say I'm not here?"

Then she demanded to know why Nathan Cohen hadn't been at the airport to meet her. "Is he the drama critic of this town or isn't he? I know exactly what he's going to say about this play. I can see it now.

"He'll write: 'This play is like Sabrina—it has a split personality. It doesn't know whether to be a farce or a tragi-comedy. It leaves much to the imagination— as does Sabrina. She brilliantly portrays twin roles— the good-natured minister's daughter, Ruth, and Cynthia, a sexy bombshell. Appearing with Sabrina is her co-star Miss Virginia Mayo. I fear I must most heartily disapprove of the whole evening.'

"That's what Nathan Cohen will say I've no doubt," said Sabrina, first actress ever to write a review in advance, "but he's going to be wrong. I think Toronto the straight-laced is going to laugh its head off."

The Blackpool-born girl who sprang to fame 10 years ago when she appeared in a series of TV shows without uttering a single word then slammed Miss Mayo. "The feud between us that blew up in Pittsburgh still hasn't been settled," Sabrina said.

"Virginia plays it straight —she's too, too dramatic— but I play for laughs. She hates the way I'm scantily clad in the play's big scene. She'd like me to cover up.

"Know something?" Sabrina asked. "I'm not as dumb as I look. I couldn't care less if I walked out of show business tomorrow. I can always go back to making costume jewelry, which I was doing when they discovered me. They thought I was dumb too. They told me all I had to do was stand in front of the TV camera and breathe. I did. Now I'm known over the length and breadth of Britain."

The old country's chestiest export added: "But I wouldn't mind making it as an actress because I know I can do it. For 10 years, little me — Norma Sykes — has been playing Sabrina. Now, Sabrina's playing two parts in one play.

"If only the public will accept I'm not dumb—who knows?—in another 10 years I might be playing Queen Macbeth!"

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Royal Alex Theatre

THE Loving Couch, a fast-moving comedy starring Hollywood's Virginia Mayo and England's favorite bombshell, Sabrina, will play a two week engagement at the Royal Alexandra Theatre, commencing Monday, June 6 through Saturday, June 18.

Described as "a comedy romp" and "more fun than a barrel of monkeys" by the press around the country, the show comes here from six record breaking months in Hollywood.
A spicy play, best appreciated by an adult audience, the story deals with a beauteous young girl possessing a split personality. When she "changes", the results are surprising, to put it mildly.
Sabrina was a top personality in her native England before her catapult into world fame and stardom a few years ago. She made a startling entry into showbusiness when she was chosen to appear on the BBC television, Before Your Very Eyes . Film offers came to her shortly thereafter, and one of her most notable film comedies, was the English comedy hit Blue Murder at St. Trinian's , playing opposite Alistair Sim and Terry Thomas.
Sabrina then entered into the legitimate theatre in Britain, where she settled down at London's famed Prince of Wales Theatre in its longest running stage hit on record, Plaisirs de Paris , which ran over two years.


Caption - Sabrina, a "household word" in England, has appeared in television, movies and night clubs around the world as well as on the stage. In Toronto she stars in "The Loving Couch" at the Royal Alexandra


"The Loving Couch", a fun-filled comedy starring Virginia Mayo and England's favorite Playgirl, Sabrina, will play a two week engagement at the Royal Alexandra Theatre , June 6 to June 18. Evenings Monday to Thursday at 8.30 p.m. Two shows Friday and Saturday, 7.00 and 9.45 p.m.

The show comes here from six record breaking months in Hollywood . A spicy comedy, best appreciated by an adult audience, the story deals with a beauteous girl possessing a split personality and when she "changes" the results are surprising to put it mildly.

Adding laughs to the production is veteran comedienne, Renie Riano, now marking her 63rd year in show business.

Virginia Mayo, who portrays the comedy's leading role, has starred in 37 major films, playing opposite such distinguished names as Danny Kaye, Gregory Peck, James Cagney, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, the late Errol Flynn and many others.

She first appeared with Red Skelton at the St. Louis Municipal Opera Company in a show called "Gentleman Afraid." Vaudeville followed. She starred in her own act on the famed RKO Circuit and was an instantaneous hit at the Palace and Music Hall Theatres in New York. She was later picked by the late Billy Rose to headline his lavish revues at the Diamond Horseshoe on Broadway. Samuel Goldwyn saw her at the Horseshoe and signed her for films under his banner. She then became one of the famed Goldwyn Girls and the new glamour queen of Hollywood.

Before this statuesque gloriously-endowed beauty "took the world bystorm," Sabrina had become a household word in England. She made a startling entry into show business when she was chosen to appear on the BBC television show, "Before Your Very Eyes." She made such an impact upon the viewers that she became a fulltime regular on this top rated series. She rose almost instantly to stardom portraying the "dumb blonde" of British TV.

Film offers came to her rapidly shortly thereafter and she appeared or starred in numerous British film comedies. Most notable was the English hit "Blue Murder at St. Trinian's" playing opposite Alastair Sim and Terry Thomas.

Sabrina then entered into the legitimate theatre in Britain, where she settled down at London's famed Prince of Wales Theatre in its longest running stage hit on record, "Plaisirs de Paris," which ran over two years.

Following this she appeared in her own musical revue in London's most fashionable supper club and offers for her talents started to arrive from overseas. She did an extensive theatre tour of Australia where she became an instantaneous hit, then she catapulted into fame almost immediately in the United States following her guest appearances on many top rated network TV programs including The Steve Allen show . Night Club appearances in New York's finest clubs followed.

The British beauty then toured internationally in numerous revues and shows to such faraway places as Caracas, Curacao, Antilles, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Spain, South Africa, Rhodesia, Kenya, Egypt, Lebanon and even Cyprus .

She reached her highest goal when she presented a Royal Command performance before Queen Elizabeth* which followed with appearances before European Royalty.

[*Actually, it was cancelled because of the Suez crisis - Ed.]

Oh, those naughty lines


The program notes said: "The Loving Couch, a fast-moving comedy ... a spicy play, best appreciated by an adult audience ... a comedy romp . . . more fun than a barrel of monkeys."

There are some truths in the statements.

The Loving Couch, which opened at the Royal Alexandra last night for a two-week run , is a spicy play best appreciated by an adult audience.


It is a comedy romp of sorts, but I've never been quite sure of how funny monkeys can be when they're in a barrel. Just what are they doing in a barrel?

But The Loving Couch is certainly not fast-moving. When the play, written by Ray Allen, turns from the gags and a serious note enters from left or right, it falls with a dull thud into a summer doldrum.

Th£ main interest in this light-hearted bit of froth is Sabrina, an exciting blonde from England who plays two parts. As the timid little girl her vocal lines, do not, come through. As the sex-filled seductress ALL the lines come through beautifully.

She plays the contrasting parts with a good style of variety, but is at her best when she is parading around the stage with only a few clothes and some speeches that leave little to anyone's imagination.

She is not always believable as the sweet young innocent.


Virginia Mayo, who has appeared in 37 movies, is much too young-looking to portray the mother of the boy who wants to marry the aforementioned sweet young innocent. But she plunges into the rote with relish if not always with the strength that is needed. But just where is the strength in this role? Her voice is over-emphatic at times but her movements, except for one annoying habit of standing with one foot in front of the other, are satisfactory to the unfolding of the play.

On the other side of the sex barrier is Gene Shane as the ever-present friend. He injects some splendid life into the part and is a happy partner in the goings-on. It may be wise to keep an eye on this young man.

Not far behind him is Terry Phillips as the son. It is probably the leading role and he enters into it with enthusiasm, eagerness and certainty. He emerges with something of a personal triumph.

The direction of Ray Montgomery was suitable to the atmosphere, as was the set; although it could have been more elaborate and served with more imaginative lighting.

A large audience punctuated most of the naughty lines with laughter and then sat patiently for another one to come.

They didn't have long to wait.

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

Happy at the party following their opening night of 'The Loving Couch' at the Royal Alex last night are the principals, from left, Gene Shane, Virginia Mayo, Terry Phillips and Sabrina. Poised and still beautiful, Miss Mayo anchors the farce, while Sabrina competently handles her two roles. It's a sexy romp and, [end of caption]


Season July 5-6


Co-Stars Arrive

'The Loving Couch' Opens At Playhouse This Evening

Hollywood movie queen Virginia Mayo, and British star Sabrina. arrived at the Fredericton Airport last night to co-star in their stage comedy, 'The Loving Couch", at the Playhouse tonight and tomorrow.

The two stars, tired after the day's travel which followed a Saturday night performance in Toronto , were greeted at the airport by Mayor and Mrs. William T. Walker; N.B. Travel Bureau director Robert A. Tweedie, and assorted autograph seekers.

On the same plane were their co-stars, Gene Shane and Terry Phillips, who between them have starred in five U.S. national network TV series.

The fifth member of the cast, 60-year show business veteran Renie Riano, refused to get on an airplane and insisted on driving from Toronto after the show closed there Saturday night, to Fredericton. Despite her age Miss Riano has driven her ancient automobile solo, all over the continent, since the show left on tour from Hollywood several months ago.


Miss Mayo's and Sabrina's welcome at the airport stole the spotlight from the summer theatre actors who arrived in Fredericton throughout the weekend to begin rehearsals tomorrow for the season which opens July 5 .

While Miss Mayo and Sabrina were being greeted at the airport, television personality Anna Cameron and ingenue Jodi Pape slipped into town unnoticed, by bus from Fredericton Junction.

Actor Howard Ryshpan was welcomed by one Frederictonian however—a woman who supplied him with a ride when his car had a blowout near the Jaycee Tourist Bureau on Woodstock Road.

At The [Fredericton] Playhouse Opening Night
Audience Delighted With Modern Comedy


The injunctions of Renie Riano as a weird religious cultist seem powerless to stop Sabrina from tackling Terry Phillips on "The Loving Couch", a comedy co-starring Virginia Mayo which opened last night at the [Fredericton] Playhouse. (Gleaner Staff Photo)

A "Jung and Freudian" comedy, The Loving Couch, had a highly successful opening at the Playhouse last night. It's for grown-ups only, as the capacity audience delightedly discovered.

The play is rife with Oedipal sex as well as a fascinating (wow!) split-personality.
At first only Dave (Gene Shane) admits that he should be frequenting a psychiatrist's couch. His problem is that he is in love with his best friend's mother. The best friend, Gil, (Terry Phillips) is actually in love with Mother, too. However, he is making an attempt to transfer to a more worthwhile object — the luscious Ruth.

The women are just as confused as the men. As mother, the very attractive Virginia Mayo enjoys both tyrannizing and tantalizing. Ruth, the stunning Sabrina, vascillates between being a prim virgin and a bawdy playmate.

By the play's end both Gil and Mother realize that they, too, need some couch time, although they reject the professional psychiatrist as an answer. Their resulting solutions are psychologically unrealistic but happy.


Despite the modern psychology of the plot all the classic situations of a good sex farce are in 'The Loving Couch'. And the audience enjoyed them as much as ever. Only the last scene failed to keep the audience in constant laughter. In attempting to tie up all the loose ends this too-lengthy scene had disconcerting changes of mood that overshadowed the wit.

Perhaps 'The Loving Couch' succeeded in spite of its plot because of the actors' skill. Each one made the most of his part. (It seems very unfair to have to include the women under that pronoun "his" when they were so excitingly female.

Virginia Mayo was greeted with applause on her first entrance. The rest of her appearances warranted this instant appreciation. Miss Mayo always dominated the stage, both physically and dramatically.

Sabrina displayed her assets amply. Her high, breathless voice was difficult to understand at times, but probably the audience was only giving partial attention to it anyway. She did project the split personality of Ruth vividly.


Renie Riano as the preacher, Blessed Martha, was a good comic character. The audience particularly loved her switches from piety to worldliness.

Both Gene Shane and Terry Phillips were thoroughly professional. Since the characters they portrayed were basically unrealistic and unsympathetic it is especially creditable that they managed to be believable and likeable. Their sense of comic timing was acute.

Last night's audience gave 'The Loving Couch' a warm welcome. Tonight's audience will undoubtedly send the cast on to Halifax glowing from its appreciative Fredericton reception.


[Sabrina note: "Norfolk Virginia Center Theatre and The Shubert Theatre New Haven"]

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

"ACTRESSES ARRIVE: Hollywood's Virginia Mayo , Mayor William T. Walker and British beauty Sabrina are the threesome shown at Fredericton Airport last night. The mayor was present to greet the two stars as they arrived here to perform in "The Loving Couch" at the Playhouse tonight and tomorrow (see also page 16)"

Comedy At Playhouse Delights Large Audience

By FRED BOYLE Staff Writer

FREDERICTON — A delightful evening of fun was enjoyed by more than 1,000 persons who attended the opening night performance of Ray Allen's farce comedy "The Loving Couch" at The Playhouse here last night.

The enthusiasm of the audience was reflected from the raising of the curtain until it was brought down at the end of the play by innumerable chuckles and frequent bursts of hearty laughter. It was an evening to remember.

The racy comedy has but five actors throughout its two acts in six scenes. Virginia Mayo, a well-known Hollywood screen star, made a personal appearance in the role of Miriam Corday, a successful business proprietor who is also the youthful-appearing mother of a 26-year-old son.

Sabrina, the highly-applauded English actress, made her first appearance before the Playhouse footlights last evening as Ruth Crecilius [sic], a hilarious role of a spirit-personality which requires considerable talent to interpret a frigid prude on the one hand and a nymphomaniac on the other.

The part of Martha Crecilus, mother of Ruth, is taken by Renie Riano, ''the duchess of American show business", who has had a career of 60 years in vaudeville, stage, screen and television. Terry Phillips is cast as Gil Corday, Miriam's son, and Gene Shane plays Dave Clark Gil's best friend who wishes to marry Miriam.

The audience showed that it thoroughly enjoyed the production with a tremendous ovation as the curtain fell.

Bernardi of New York City, Stanley Seiden of Hollywood produced the show and Ray Montgomery was its director. During the past 11 weeks, the production has appeared in St. Louis, Mo.; Columbus, Ohio.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Norfolk, Va.; Cincinnati, Ohio.; and Toronto.

Seats are still available for the final performance in Fredericton this evening. Tomorrow the players move on to Halifax where they will open a three-day stand Thursday.

Scenery for the Fredericton and Halifax performances is by Michael Eagan of Fredericton.

Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

New Brunswick, Canada

INTERMISSION: Hollywood's Virginia Mayo seems subdued between acts of last night's opening production of "The Loving Couch" at the Playhouse but platinum blonde Sabrina manages to flash as big a smile as any she produces on stage. Last night's show played to a near-capacity house. A few tickets are still available for tonight's performance. (Gleaner Staff Photo)

Sabrina – The Girl with Looks, Brains


NORFOLK-There are those who say you can't have everything. They can't be talking about Sabrina.

The well-endowed English actress is in Norfolk this week appearing in the stage play "Loving Couch" and one item on her agenda was the inescapable interview.

Sabrina's figure was certainly no surprise to the interviewer. What was surprising was an easy-going charm and personality which towered well her physical attributes. So what else does a girl need?

The 23-year-old Sabrina made a striking figure in her flannel jockey cap, skin-tight white slacks, high heeled boots, white crocheted pull-over blouse and zebra jacket.

Once the pleasantries were out of the way, Sabrina dug into her basket pocketbook for a can of what looked like malted milk tablets.

"The Food of Champions" said the lettering on the can. Sabrina poured out a handful and began munching them and said, "This is my breakfast (it was 1:30 p.m.). I didn't get to bed until 4 a.m. That is early for me."

It was evident from Sabrina's milky-white skin that moonlight was her cup of tea — not a midday sun.

"Daytime — ugh," Sabrina demonstrated. "Night time. That's when I get going."

In the comedy "The Loving Couch" Sabrina. plays the part of a 19-year-old girl with a split personality—prim and proper, to a real swinger.

In the latter character, one scene calls for Sabrina to remove her blouse to show boyfriend a shoulder injury.

Sabrina views the scene in good taste, but her opinion is not necessarily shared by Virginia Mayo, the other leading lady.

In a telephone interview week, Miss Mayo describe scene as a bit too revealing. But Sabrina says: "They come to see Sabrina. Let's face it. It's a normal thing for me to wear.

Sabrina then went on to extol the virtues of the undergarments she prefers over those she are worn by prudish thinking women.

"I made my name Sabrina on the figure. It's been good to me. I'm not selling myself as some great actress. This is a comedy. It's not like doing Othello."

Stan Seiden, the show's producer, felt Sabrina was selling self short, however, saying, 'She really surprised us. She's going great. She can really act."

Sabrina said Miss Mayo laps made the comment about the spicy scene because .looks at the play in a more serious vein.

"She sees it sad because there are people in the world this (schizophrenic) way," observed Sabrina.

Sabrina added that if scene was in poor taste, would be the first to object. She has strong views on nudity.

"I turned down a $6,000 offer from Playboy Magazine," she disclosed.

Sabrina won't tell her real name, but, unlike other women she readily gives her weight – 120 pounds. And this bothers She has a tendency to lose weight.

Sabrina stood up, pulled her blouse close around her waist and said, "I'm 411/2-17-36. 1 may not be a Sabrina next year."

Saints forbid.

"The Loving Couch" open the Center Theater Monday night and will play through Saturday.



Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes
Sabrina - Norma Ann Sykes

One of the prettiest shipments ever to step off an Air Canada flight at Halifax's International Airport was this duo—England's famed sex-kitten Sabrina and Hollywood celluloid queen Virginia Mayo, shown as they paused for photographs on the airport ramp yesterday afternoon.

They are appearing this week in a Halifax stage production of "The Loving Couch."

[Sabrina's note: Halifax, Canada. Queen Elizabeth auditorium]

41½ -18 - 35


By HUGH CONROD Staff Writer

Want the recipe for one of Britain's blonde bombshells?

Take a wiggle that would make sister Kate blush.

Toss in a 41½-inch bust line (don't miss that extra half inch, she says), include an 18-inch waist and a set of 35-inch hips, puckered lips, two beautiful eyes and a teasing laugh under a "not so dumb" set of bonde [sic] locks and you're well on the way.

Wrap up the package in a tight fitting set of slacks, a pair of go-go boots and a floppy sort of blouse and you've got IT.

IT is spelled SABRINA . . . and IT is exported from England. IT is also single.

Sabrina was just one of the eye-catching passengers to arrive at Halifax International Airport from Fredericton yesterday afternoon.

One of Hollywood's Queens was there, too—the inimitable Virginia Mayo, polished and professional, twirling an umbrella as if she was conducting some unseen cast. Tossing her auburn hair, posing with the casual aplomb of one who has done the same before a million cameras, turning her smile on and off like a car dimming its lights at night, Miss Mayo is every inch the professional actress.

Although her years are advancing (just how many is a bit of a secret) Virginia Mayo still retains the bounce of youth and sparkle of beauty that has long made her one of Hollywood's celluloid favorites.

Unlike Sabrina, Miss Mayo had made one previous visit to Halifax, touching down here while a passenger aboard a London-bound Air Canada flight several years ago.

The pretty duo are in Halifax for four days , as the co-stars in the stage production of "The Loving Couch," a comedy which is being presented June 22 to June 25 at Queen Elizabeth auditorium .

Both girls find road-productions such as this tiring but educational and interesting.

Loving Couch, Fast Moving Comedy For Adults Only

By RAY MacLEOD Staff Writer

A rollicking, risque rendition of "The Loving Couch." handled by a very excellent but very tired cast played the second evening of a four-night stand at the [Halifax] QEH auditorium last night .
Sporting the biggest array of "name" actors and actresses to hit Halifax for some time, it's a fast-moving adult comedy that shouldn't be missed by adult theatre goers. It should be missed by the younger set.

The audience, about two-thirds capacity, proved almost as interesting as the play last night. Obviously a large percentage of the people there were "name-watching," attracted particularly by the presence of Virginia Mayo in the role of Miriam Corday. The result, inevitably, was a noticeable lack of attention to the play as such, and perhaps less responsiveness than was due.


It was not a good night for the cast, but still they were excellent. One member (without knowing that I was writing this review) told me the whole cast had become worn out at the same time, and it was the worst night of their 10-week tour.

Although tiredness showed through, especially on the part of Miss Mayo and the leading male, Terry Phillips, in the role of Gil Corday, the performance was still of a very high calibre. There were a few places where muffed lines caused a bit of scrambling patch-ups by certain cast members, but they were barely discernible to an audience, most of whom were seeing the play for the first time.

To my mind, the production was held together by the performance of Gene Shane in the role of Dave Clark. No matter how tired he may have been. Mr. Shane projected vitality and virility with every appearance, fashioning a supporting role into the most dominant one of the play.


Local followers of the theatre may remember the older brother-younger brother relationship in "The Tunnel Of Love" put on by Neptune two years ago. The Shane-Phillips roles in "The Loving Couch" are very similar, and in the role of the wolfish man about town, Mr. Shane excels.

His striking good looks and effective stage presence make him the center of attention even when he was not the center of action. He was the spark of life in what could have been a straggling opening scene, and delivered the more effective bits of wit and humor throughout the performance.
Miss Mayo, in spite of the fact that her name had top billing and was obviously the big drawing card, was not the dynamic force around which the play moved.


The most tired member of the cast after their long tour, she seemed just a star delivering lines through much of the early part of the play, and almost had me convinced that she was in for a very bad evening until the second act when she took charge with a beautifully in-character performance in scene two and continued as a most charming and effective actress until the final curtain.

Like Miss Mayo, Terry Phillips got increasingly better as the performance wore on. Although cast in the role of a rather erratic character, he fashioned his part a bit too emotionally at times, almost, at times, bordering on over-acting. He rendered the part in an enjoyable manner, but it lacked depth. There is a very good chance, however, that this short-coming was due to the playwright and not the actor. The role of Gil Corday, while most entertaining, was fashioned from a well-used mold and does not lend much opportunity for a study of in-depth character.


Sabrina has by far the most diversified role of the evening, and one of the hardest to judge. On one hand, her portrayal of the rather prudish Ruth is almost too effective at the outset, but grows on you very quickly. As Cinthia, she rolliciks [sic] across the stage proving herself a very fine actress indeed.

In the last scene of act1, where she tries to seduce Gil Corday on the "loving couch" of the title, Sabrina is totally delightful, and not only because of her revealing attire. In this portion of her role, she turns in some of the best acting of the evening.

She also shines in the latter stages, however, as the flighty Ruth revealed. Her portrayal of confusion grasps the situation firmly and fairly thrusts it out at the audience. In handling a difficult twin role, Sabrina is to be commended for the concise unity of her interpretations of the parts.


Last on stage, but far from least in the cast is veteran character actress Renie Riano as The Blessed Martha Crecilius. Her hilarious cameo portrayal of a hypocritical religious zealot is a delightful frosting in the evening's cake; a choice role played by a choice actress.
It was one of those rare occasions when a minor character could completely take over the spotlight when on stage without detracting from the roles of the major characters.

The review couldn't end without some comment on the lighting, which was inadequate, and the set, which was shaky to the point of threatening. These both were of local origin, however, and while they complicated, they did not reflect adversely on the acting of a truly professional cast in a very funny play.

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And here's an upgraded version for your delight...

and in 2024 - colourised

…[Pajama?] Tops." Sabrina is near the top of the list of pulchritudinous stage stars. Dealing with a case of lovely mistaken female identity, the story rounds out as a delectable bedroom farce. The script, by Ray Allen, is designed to keep the audience in stitches. It has been described as "More fun than a barrel full of monkeys," — Los Angeles Herald and "Designed for laughing and succeeds — the Seattle Times.

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