Sammy Davis: Singing, Dancing, Shooting

In the late 1950s and through the 1960s, Sammy Davis, Jr., appeared in numerous film and television westerns. In part, that may be because of his fast-draw and gun-spinning skills. I came across this clip recently of Davis singing a song called “Bang Bang” (sample lyrics: I love The fun of reaching for a gun / and going bang bang. / I come alive. / Each time a forty -five./ Begins to bang bang.)

The lyrics for the whole song suggest the gangster genre more so than the western, but the set of the performance, a sort of saloon/casino, suggests a combination of western and gangster films.The clip comes from the 1964 film Robin and the Seven Hoods, and the primary reference point is 1930s Chicago, but there are a lot of western elements visible in the number.

Davis’s guns are not the classic western six-shooters, but his fast draw and spinning (which he does while tap-dancing!) are certainly evocative of the western.

Whatever we call this performance, it’s high energy and highly entertaining.

See also Sammy Davis: Fast Draw Demonstration


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