Harry Belafonte
One of the greatest!
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Saturday, May 29, 2010
Harry Belafonte:
I Met Harry Belafonte in Miami Beach in 1954. One night Frank Linale, the band leader and manager of the Vagabonds, invited Lord Buckley to join us at the Eden Roc Hotel on Miami Breach. I can see Lord Buckley now, marching through the lobby of the Eden Roc Hotel in his black bow tie and tails. I say marching because he carried himself like a major in the British Army; chest and chin high, white hair and mustache, and striding like a man with a mission.

When he spotted us, he approached us, and with a deep bow, said in his chesty voice, "Good evening, Prince Frank of Linale. How Are you this glorious evening? And Lady Bunny, you look elegant, my dear." Frank introduced us. Lord Buckley said, "How do you do? I have heard, Prince Frank and Lady Bunny speak of you many times. Henceforth I dub you, Prince Sam, of the royal court of Lord Buckley." We shook hands and became friends.We entered an elevator and rose to the penthouse to visit, Harry Belafonte, who was performing that night in the main show room of the Eden Roc Hotel.

In the late 40's Frank was the arranger and conductor for, Martha Raye at her Five O' Clock Club on Miami Beach. Harry Belafonte was one of the acts that appeared there. In those days any black people had to leave Miami Beach when they weren’t performing. Another one of those stupid racial laws. Now, a few years later, he had the Penthouse suite in the Eden Roc Hotel. One of Harrys managers let us into the suite. Harry appeared and we were introduced. Again, Lord Buckley gave a sweeping bow and said, "Sir Harry of Belafonte, I am honored."

Harry had been working on some new music and wanted Frank to hear it; we were all treated to a personal performance of his new song. We chatted for a while, then when it was nearing show time, we left Harry, and went down to our table in the main room.

Both Frank Linale, and Lord Buckley, knew the Maitre d’ and the captains. We were shown to our table, where it became a circus between the waiters, Lord Buckley, and some of the people in the audience, who knew him. The house lights dimmed and the show began. At one point in the show, Harry introduced Frank and Lord Buckley, who of course did his gracious bow. This was my introduction to Lord Buckley, which was the beginning of an interesting and most novel association.

That was the only time I was with Harry Belafonte. I remember the time when Bunny and I were having dinner in a restaurant in New York City. They were playing one of Harry's records on the juke box. I said to Bunny, "He is fantastic! I am going to meet him one day. He sounds great." Little did I know, I would meet him in his penthouse room at the Eden Roc Hotel on Miami beach.

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