When Sonny Helmer was growing up in the frigid Minnesota winters, he played and dreamed of hot jazz. A Naval ROTC scholarship landed him in sunny California where things really began to take off.
In the StoryCorps Atlanta booth, the now 85-year-old told friend Norah MacLeod about some candid times from Hollywood Boulevard to Bourbon Street.
In a special web-extra. Sonny recalls a time where he was hired – and tricked – by the one and only Jackie Gleason in Miami.
You can also find Sonny's autobiography, "Everything Happens to Me!: The Almost Famous Sonny Helmer Story," here.