We’ve had phone calls and emails galore since printing a photograph of brothers Gerald and David Bryan posing with Sabrina.
Gerald,(pictured below) of Crossland Road, Marton, had asked if it was the “real” Sabrina (as claimed by his brother) or, as he suspected, merely a cut out model.
Callers confirmed this was a model of Sabrina, stage name of well-endowed Blackpool waitress Norma Sykes, who was discovered and launched on TV as a sex symbol by comedian Arthur Askey back in the 1950s.
Among those who got in touch was Peter Davies, aged 80, of Saville Road, South Shore, who rang to say that Sabrina, or Norma, as he remembered her, had been a neighbour when she lived in his street.
Peter says: “I knew Norma’s family when they were at 1 Saville Road in 1954, and she certainly did very well after being discovered. There will still be people in Blackpool old enough to remember her.
“The photograph taken in the Winter Gardens shown in Memory Lane was definitely a cut out and not the real Sabrina. She had a very good figure and I had instructions from my late wife Rosaline that if Norma was leaning over the gate I should walk on the other side of the street on the inside of my wife,” laughed Peter, adding: “I am sure many other men were given similar warnings because their wives were jealous.”
He says: “Norma was quite a character, everybody liked her and she deserved her success. I was so pleased at the time to hear that she had taken her first steps into showbusiness.”
Showbusiness historian Barry Band, who is working on his latest book, The Story of the Empire, the Hippodrome and the ABC, has a programme from the Hippodrome summer show, 1956 Season Super Revue, which was produced by Tom Arnold and Jack Taylor.
Sabrina was introduced to the audience in a sketch called Compact With Glamour, the programme informing readers that “creme puff compacts kindly supplied by Max Factor”.
Barry says: “Sabrina also took part in a sketch called Good Neighbours, with Tessie O’Shea, Nat Jackley and Sonny Willis. Sabrina and Sonny played newlyweds.”
Barry adds: “Arthur Askey is credited with discovering Sabrina when he was appearing at the Grand Theatre during a previous season and she was working in a cafe.”