Davis’s personally-owned straw ‘Boater’ hat with a blue band, made by A. E. Olney and Co. Ltd., of Luton, and imprinted on the lining in gold lettering, “Made expressly for Maurice Chevalier,” and signed and inscribed on the lining in black felt tip, “For Sammy—Merci, Maurice, Paris.” Moderate brushing to signature and illegible date, otherwise fine condition. The ‘boater’ hat was a Chevalier trademark, as he always wore one on stage with his tuxedo. Chevalier was known to do a spot-on impression of Davis at times. The men were great friends, with Chevalier gifting Sammy this hat in 1960, an event documented in the book Sammy Davis, Jr.: Me and My Shadow by Arthur Silber, Jr. (Samart Enterprises, September 1, 2003). Sammy later utilized the wardrobe piece in his act. Though the image we have of Sammy in this hat is actually from 1981, he likely wore the hat much earlier at a time when he was still doing his impressions. It has been said that the legendary entertainer quit performing them when Red Skelton teased him that his impression act only consisted of deceased people. Provenance: Hat was originally given to family friend Al Carter by Davis’s wife Altovise after his death in 1990. Carter was an entertainer and part of an opening act for Davis under the name Carter & Channel. RR Auction COA.
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