and I attended
Armstrong's 70th Birthday celebration in Los Angeles. We were backstage when I got this shot of
Louis and his birthday cake.
This was the second time
meeting the great Louis Armstrong. The first time was at the
Deauville Hotel. Dizzy Gillespie
had given me some photos to give to Louis. Diz knew I would be
seeing him because I had the photography concession at the
Hotel, so it was easy to get backstage to see him.
hadn't seen his show yet, so I didn't know a friend of mine was
his keyboard player. It was Joe Mooney (he was blind) who I knew
from the Vagabond Club in Miami. Joe was a great musician.
I have some funny stories about him and the Vagabonds, that I am
entering in to my book. Joe was also working in the lounge at
the Rooney Plaza Hotel. I had the night club concession there
and had camera girls working for me. I also brought Miss
Universe 1961 to the club to meet Joe.
At that time, I had a dog
named Duchess. Duchess and I had done a lot of traveling
together: Mexico City, New York, Hollywood, to name a few. When
I made my rounds of my camera girls, Duchess would accompany me.
In all of my travels I never used a leash on Duchess, unless we
needed one to get into certain places.
reached the Rooney Plaza, Duchess would, wait for the green
light, then dash across Collins Avenue, pass the door man and go
into the lower lobby. She would stand by the door into the
lounge until one of the waitresses opened the door for her, and
she would go inside the club and sit under the piano. Joe said
he always knew when I was coming to the lounge because he could
feel her tail wagging. The waitresses would bring her a small
bowl of water.
The night I delivered the photos
from Diz to Louis, Duchess waited for me in the darkroom.
The night backstage was a
memorial night. Sass,,,,,,,,,