The Great Louis Armstrong at his 70th birthday party.

Louis Armstrong's 70th B'day     

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The Great Louis Armstrong at his 70th birthday party.

 

Born August 4, 1901

 
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Sarah Vaughn and I attended Louis 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.

I 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.

When we 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,,,,,,,,,

 
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