That Old Black Magic: Louis Prima, Keely Smith, and the Golden Age of Las Vegas

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Chicago Review Press, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 224 pages
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Both a love story and a tribute to the entertainment mecca, this exploration shines a spotlight on one of the hottest acts in Las Vegas in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The illuminating depiction showcases the unlikely duo--a grizzled, veteran trumpeter and vocalist molded by Louis Armstrong and a meek singer in the church choir--who went on to invent "The Wildest." Bringing together broad comedy and finger-snapping, foot-stomping music that included early forays into rock and roll, Prima and Smith's act became wildly popular and attracted all kinds of star-studded attention. In addition to chronicling their relationships with Ed Sullivan, Frank Sinatra, Robert Mitchum, and other well-known entertainers of the day--and their performance of "That Old Black Magic" at President John F. Kennedy's inauguration--the narrative also examines the couple's ongoing influence in the entertainment world. Running concurrent with their personal tale is their role in transforming Las Vegas from a small resort town in the desert to a booming city where the biggest stars were paid tons of money to become even bigger stars on stage and television.

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THAT OLD BLACK MAGIC: Louis Prima, Keely Smith, and the Golden Age of Las Vegas

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Lazy, hackneyed biography of the lounge act to end them all.Former New York Times contributing reporter Clavin (Sir Walter: Walter Hagen and the Invention of Professional Golf, 2005, etc.) provides a ... Read full review


Act I Jump Jive Wail
Act II That Old Black Magic
Act III I Wish You Love
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About the author (2010)

Tom Clavin was born in the Bronx, New York. He is a bestselling author and has worked as a newspaper and web site editor, magazine writer, TV and radio commentator, and a reporter for The New York Times. Two of his books have been New York Times best sellers, The Heart of Everything That Is and Halsey's Typhoon. Other books that have received popular and critical acclaim include The DiMaggios, Last Men Out, Gil Hodges, Roger Maris, The Last Stand of Fox Company, and his most recent book, Reckless: The Racehorse Who Became a Marine Corps Hero.Two of his books were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

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